Network Administrator: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a network administrator. Learn about job duties, education, certification and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Networking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Network Administrator?

Network administrators are responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring computer networks, possibly including telecommunication networks. At the outset, they examine and determine an organization's needs. Then they help network architects design the network model and are instrumental in determining the steps that will be taken to update software and hardware.

The following chart provides an overview about becoming a network administrator.

Degree Required Post-secondary certificate, bachelor's degree is most often desired
Education Field of Study Computer science, computer information systems, computer engineering, electrical engineering or related field
Key Responsibilities Design, install and/or maintain computer network system; train users in proper use of hardware and software; troubleshoot and resolve network problems; ensure network security
Licensure or Certification Certification in specific software or systems may be desirable
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8%*
Median Salary (2015) $77,810*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Education Do I Need To Become a Network Administrator?

Although educational standards for networking and technology positions vary by company and profession, a bachelor's degree in a network-related major may provide more career opportunities for you. These 4-year programs typically expose you to all aspects of network administration, covering subjects such as routers, system security, hardware and software maintenance and operating systems. You may also study specialized information technology (IT) topics, including website development, database management and organizational behavior management.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a professional network administrator, you'll be responsible for local and wide area computer system networks, as well as wireless communications, Internet access and intranet networks. Network hardware and architecture play a vital role for an administrator, and you'll need to be familiar with compatibility issues with new technologies for network design and expansion projects. You'll need to constantly monitor traffic, access and security on the network and often provide 24-hour support.

Will I Need Certification In Addition To My Degree?

Many types of IT certification are available from hardware and software vendors, as well as industry standards organizations. Earning certification typically demonstrates specific proficiency in networking hardware or tasks, while a degree often prepares you for the profession through general knowledge, foundational skills and theory training. Some employers may require a specific credential for networking positions, though certification is usually optional. Cisco's Design Associate, Networking Technician or Certified Architect credentials establish entry- and advanced-level skills as a network administrator.

What Salary Could I Earn?

All industries employ network administrators, including schools, manufacturing, government and corporate entities. Owing to this variety of settings, a wide salary range exists for this position. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that network administrators earned a median salary of $77,810 per year in 2015.

What Are some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, computer science or electrical engineering, you may become a computer hardware engineer. These engineers are involved with research and development of computer components such as circuit boards, processors and memory devices. Another related career is a software developer. Software developers fall into two categories: applications software developers and systems software developers, and both need a bachelor's degree. They are the innovative minds that create systems and applications that fulfill specific tasks or systems that run and/or control devices and networks.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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