What is a Network and Systems Administrator?
A network and systems administrator designs, installs, and provides support for the computer systems within an organization. The work a network and systems administrator does is important to the overall functioning of networks and systems in the information technology, commonly known as IT, industry.
The work and job responsibilities of a network and systems administrator may vary between company and employers, but they are generally responsible for properly functioning network segments, the Internet, LANs, which are local areas networks, and WANs, which are wide area networks. They are responsible for monitoring, analyzing, and solving issues within their networks and installing and maintaining network hardware and software.
They also have to monitor networks closely to ensure they are available and working effectively for users. Network and systems administrators also ensure that all components of systems such as drives, hardware, software all work properly together. Many are also responsible for maintaining security on networks and systems.
How to Become a Network and Systems Administrator
While educational, training, and certification requirements will vary between employers, those candidates with bachelor degrees in a computer-related field should have the best opportunities for a job in the field. Those with bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information science, or management information systems may have the best opportunities.
While many employers will require a bachelor degree in the field, an associate degree or certification and some experience in the field may be adequate. Some employers may prefer to hire experienced network and systems administrators, while others offer on the job training for new and inexperienced candidates that meet qualification requirements.
In addition, network and systems administrators must have exceptional problem-solving and decision making skills as well as be able to communicate well and work well as part of a team, as network and systems administrators often work in teams on large projects.
Network and Systems Administrator Career Outlook & Salary
Those individuals looking to pursue careers as network and systems administrators are in luck, as employment in the field is expected to grow much faster than the average profession over the next several years. Employment of network and systems administrators is expected to grow by 23% over the 2008 to 2018 period, adding more than 78,000 jobs, according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics.
Computer networks are vital in most businesses and the demand for trained and skilled employees to maintain these systems will contribute largely to the increase in jobs. Additionally, companies, businesses, and organizations that need to protect and secure their networks will also contribute to the growing need for skilled network and systems administrators.
The Bureau reports that the annual median salary for network and systems administrators was $66,310 in May 2008, the most recent information available. Of those, the middle 50% earned between $51,690 and $84,110, with the highest 10% earning more than $104,070.