What Do Network and Computer Systems Administrators Do?
As a network and computer systems administrator, you will be responsible for the ongoing operation, maintenance and support of an organization’s computer networking system. You will perform hardware and software installations, as well as regular testing, monitoring, troubleshooting and repair in order to maintain continuous availability of the network for its users. Other services you will provide may include network security, data recovery and data communications support. Network administrators may also be responsible for the management and supervision of computer and network support specialists.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Skills and Abilities
As a network and computer systems administrator, you must have a working knowledge of:
- Computer programming
- Computer hardware
- Electronics, including circuit boards and processors
- Systems and applications software
- Telecommunication systems Analyzing and identifying issues in complex networks demands solid critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. You must also possess strong reasoning and decision-making abilities in order to evaluate possible solutions and make appropriate decisions.
Providing support for network users requires good communication skills, including the ability to speak and understand English. To effectively manage and supervise employees, you will need a working knowledge of business and management principles, including an understanding of resource allocation and leadership techniques.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Duties
The primary responsibility of a network administrator is the operation and maintenance of a computer network and its associated systems. Your specific responsibilities will include the installation, testing and configuration of hardware and software systems necessary for network operation, as well as the ongoing monitoring, troubleshooting, analysis and repair of the various systems. Other duties will include:
- Planning and implementing security measures
- Performing data backup and recovery
- Providing training and technical support for network users
In order to ensure that the network continues to meet the needs of its users, you will be responsible for gathering information about current and future network use, as well as researching and implementing new systems and technologies to meet new requirements as they arise.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Tools and Technology
A variety of instruments are required to troubleshoot and maintain network systems, including network analyzers, cable verifiers, power meters and tool kits for computer repair. Many different software programs and applications are employed to perform the various tasks involved in managing a network, including:
- Network monitoring
- Network configuration management
- Node and address management
- Virtual private network management (VPN)
- Virus protection and network security
Network and computer systems administrators may also write or modify code and scripts in a variety of programming languages to maintain network functionality.
Education and Training for Network and Computer Systems Administrators
To obtain a job as a network administrator, you will need a bachelor’s degree in network and system administration, or a related field. Some employers may hire applicants with a 2-year degree or certificate, or with other relevant college coursework. Certification in network management software may be advantageous and may be required by some employers.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Salary
The median annual salary for network and computer systems administrators in the U.S. is $75,800. The difference between top and bottom earners is significant, with the highest 10% of earners averaging $120,000 per year and the lowest 10% making $46,200 annually. The highest paying jobs for network administrators can be found in the eastern United States, with Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia offering the top median salaries.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Jobs by Geography
Demand for network and computer systems administrators is increasing nationwide, with over 10,000 job openings anticipated annually for the next several years. California, Texas and New York employ the most network administrators, and the states with the highest projected job growth are Florida, Colorado and Louisiana.