Network Analyst: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for a network analyst. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary, and licensure to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What does a Network Analyst do?

Network analysts, or network administrators, are integral to many types of organizations and therefore can work in a variety of industries. These professionals work with computer networks, installing networks, and keeping them functioning on a day-to-day basis. A network analyst may work to assess a company's network needs and then install a network system to help a company run more efficiently. They may also maintain the system to make sure it is working correctly, maintain network security, collect data on the network and analyze to find problems with efficiency, troubleshoot and fix these problems. They may work with IT professionals and other types of non-IT employees. The table below gives a brief overview of the general requirements for this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science, information technology, network administration
Key Responsibilities Analyze and design network connections and structures, maintain data storage, troubleshoot and repair networks
Certification General and/or specialized certification is required by some employers
Job Growth (2014-24) 8% (for all network and computer systems administrators)*
Median Salary (2015) $77,810 (for networks and computer systems administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Network Analyst?

A network analyst, also referred to as a network administrator or network architect, designs, installs and maintains networks for businesses or organizations. You'd be responsible for analyzing and planning out local and wide area networks that connect a few computer systems to thousands of servers, nodes and hubs across the globe. You could also implement and maintain voice communications, data storage and video technologies across a network of systems.

As a network analyst, you'd be responsible for maintaining and updating current network technology to sustain company growth, provide disaster recovery redundancy and ensure data integrity across the network. Other job duties include troubleshooting and repairing faltering network connections and analyzing network traffic to determine how to boost capacity, efficiency and stability. You might also be responsible for safeguarding network and data security.

What Education Would I Need?

Some formal education and experience could qualify you for a network analyst position, though according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers prefer or require a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Some relevant majors for this type of work include computer science, information technology or network administration. These programs teach you the basics of network programming, maintenance, troubleshooting and administration. Some degree programs might also include courses related to organizational management and business administration.

What About Industry Certification?

Vendor and industry-standards credentials are sometimes as important as education. Some employers require you to have professional certification before they'll hire you as a network analyst or administrator. Depending on your area of expertise, you can choose to earn a general certification, such as CompTIA's Network+, or demonstrate specialization in a particular vendor's products or theories with designations like Microsoft's Certified Systems Engineer or Cisco's Certified Network Associate. A degree program might give you the fundamental knowledge to work toward certification; however, certifying organization and company websites often offer online training and simulated preparatory testing specific to a credential.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

According to the BLS, network and computer systems administrators in general held nearly 374,480 jobs in the U.S. in 2015, and employment was expected to grow an average of 8% between 2014-2024. The BLS reported that the main employers were computer design and service companies, though you can also find network analyst jobs with large and small corporations, schools, telecommunications companies and financial institutions. BLS salary data showed the median annual salary for network administrators in May of 2015 was $77,810. The company and state you work in, as well as the number and types of certifications you hold, play a large part in your potential earnings.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A computer and systems manager coordinates the systems and computer needs of an organization, and is a similar job to a network analyst. They also help to analyze an organization's computer and system needs, and design and carry out a plan to meet those needs. Computer and systems managers usually need a bachelor's degree and some professional experience. Information security analysts work to keep the systems and networks of a company secure. These professionals also can work in a variety of industries, and analyze and troubleshoot computer networks and systems. Information security analysts also typically need a bachelor's degree and a few years of experience.

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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