Computer networking has revolutionized the way people work and connect, both at home and in the office. It has also generated demand for professionals who can create, maintain and secure these networks, sometimes on a very large scale. This is where network and computer systems administrators enter the picture. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these technology workers attend to the day-to-day operation of computer networks. They organize, install and support a number of systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), intranets and other computer-based communication systems. While specific duties can vary tremendously from one day to the next, the following tasks are common.
- Determining an organization's networking and computer needs
- Installing and updating all applicable network hardware and software
- Maintaining network and computer security
- Monitoring a network's or system's performance
- Training users how to properly use networking technology
These duties require keen analytical, communication and problem-solving skills. Other important characteristics — like in-depth knowledge about computers and their networks — can be honed through formal training.
Network administrator salary and career outlook
Location can have a notable impact on network and computer systems administrators' salaries. Another major factor that can influence salary is education and experience. As a general rule, the more you have of either, the more your earnings potential improves, and this is typically true for network and computer systems administrators as well. Investing in the right training is just one way you might develop your personal career prospects.
Wherever you live, the BLS notes that employers will need administrators with proper training in order to reinforce their networks and security. Network and computer systems administrator schools can provide that type of training. We recommend researching a number of programs — including those with online courses — to find one that suits both your goals and learning style.
Here's an idea of the salary and job growth numbers network administrators might expect in the coming years:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||366,250||$87,070||6.1%|
How to become a network and computer systems administrator
The BLS reports that while some network and computer systems administrators can enter the field with an associate degree or professional certification, most employers require at least a bachelor's degree in computer and information science or a related field. Network and computer systems administrator schools can provide the training necessary to earn any of these credentials. You may even be able to complete at least some of your network and computer systems administrator training online. This option may be particularly attractive to those already working in the field who want to advance their careers while maintaining full-time employment.
Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central,
Summary Report for Network and Computer Systems Administrators, O*Net OnLine,
Occupational Employment and Wages: Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2013,
Network and Computer Systems Administrators, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014,