Network and Computer Systems Administrators: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Although some employers require only a postsecondary certificate or an associates degree, most require a bachelors degree in a field related to computer or information science. There are degree programs that focus on computer network and system administration. However, because administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering usually is acceptable as well. Programs in these fields frequently include classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 6% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Network administrators can advance to become computer network architects. They can also advance to managerial jobs in information technology (IT) departments, such as computer and information systems managers.
Companies generally require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the products they use. Certification programs usually are offered directly from vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge and the use of best practices that are required of network and computer systems administrators. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.
Median pay: How much do Network and Computer Systems Administrators make?
$79,700 Annual Salary
$38.32 per hour

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organizations computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

What do Network and Computer Systems Administrators do?

Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:

  • Determine an organizations system needs and install network hardware and software
  • Make needed upgrades and repairs to networks and ensure that systems are operating correctly
  • Maintain network and computer system security
  • Evaluate and optimize network or system performance
  • Add users to a network, and assign and update security permissions on the network
  • Train users in the proper use of hardware and software
  • Interpret and solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system alerts them that a problem exists

Administrators manage an organizations servers and desktop and mobile equipment. They ensure that email and data storage networks work properly. They also make sure that employees workstations are working efficiently and stay connected to the central computer network. Some administrators manage telecommunication networks.

Administrators may help network architects design and analyze network models. They also participate in decisions about buying future hardware or software to upgrade their organizations network. Some administrators provide technical support to computer users, and they also may supervise computer support specialists who help solve users problems.

Careers for Network and Computer Systems Administrators

  • Computer systems administrators
  • Computer systems security administrators
  • LAN administrators
  • LAN systems administrators
  • Local area network administrators
  • Network administrators
  • Network coordinators
  • Network security administrators
  • Network support coordinators
  • Network support managers
  • Network systems administrators
  • Network systems coordinators
  • WAN administrators
  • WAN systems administrators
  • Wide area network administrators

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