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How To Be Network and Computer Systems Administrators

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The role of network and computer systems administrators is indispensable in the realm of modern technology. Their expertise and dedication contribute significantly to the smooth functioning and security of computer networks, enabling organizations to harness the full potential of digital connectivity for productivity and innovation. In this article, I am going to give an overview of how to be a Network and Computer Systems Administrator.

Importance of Computer Networks

In today’s digital age, computer networks serve as indispensable infrastructure for virtually every organization. They facilitate seamless communication, data exchange, and resource sharing among users within the organization and beyond. These networks underpin crucial operations ranging from email communication to complex data analysis, making them integral to the functioning of businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and more.

Role of Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Within the realm of computer networks, network and computer systems administrators play a pivotal role. They are the unsung heroes who ensure the smooth operation of these intricate systems on a day-to-day basis. Their responsibilities encompass a wide array of tasks, including but not limited to configuring network devices, monitoring network performance, troubleshooting connectivity issues, and implementing security measures to safeguard sensitive information.

Managing Network Infrastructure

One of the primary duties of network and computer systems administrators is managing the network infrastructure. This involves setting up and maintaining networking hardware such as routers, switches, and firewalls. They meticulously configure these devices to optimize network performance and ensure reliable connectivity for users across different locations. Additionally, they oversee the installation and upgrading of software components essential for network operations.

Ensuring Data Integrity and Security

Data integrity and security are paramount concerns in the realm of computer networks. Network and computer systems administrators work diligently to protect the organization’s data assets from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats. They employ encryption techniques, access controls, and intrusion detection systems to fortify the network perimeter and prevent malicious activities. Moreover, they devise backup and recovery strategies to mitigate the impact of unforeseen events such as hardware failures or cyberattacks.

Supporting End Users

Apart from managing the technical aspects of computer networks, administrators also provide support to end users. They serve as the first point of contact for troubleshooting network-related issues encountered by employees or clients. Whether it’s assisting with connectivity problems, resolving software glitches, or guiding users on best practices for network usage, administrators play a crucial role in ensuring a seamless computing experience for everyone relying on the network infrastructure.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

The work of network and computer systems administrators is never truly done. They engage in continuous monitoring of network performance and proactively identify areas for improvement. Through the analysis of network traffic patterns, utilization metrics, and performance benchmarks, they fine-tune the network configuration to enhance efficiency and responsiveness. This ongoing optimization ensures that the network remains resilient and capable of meeting the evolving needs of the organization.

How To Be A Network and Computer Systems Administrators

They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.


Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:

  • Determine an organization’s 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 organization’s 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 organization’s network.

Some administrators provide technical support to computer users, and they also may supervise computer support specialists who help solve users’ problems.

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Work Environment

Network and computer systems administrators held about 383,900 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of network and computer systems administrators were as follows:

  • Computer systems design and related services 18%
  • Educational services; state, local, and private 10%
  • Information 10%
  • Finance and insurance 10%
  • Management of companies and enterprises 7%

Although many networks and computer systems administrators are employed by firms in the computer systems design and related services industry, they work in a variety of settings.

Some might administer systems and networks for financial firms, and others work in hospitals or local government offices.

Network and computer systems administrators work with many types of workers, including other IT workers, such as computer support specialists, database administrators, computer network architects, and computer and information systems managers.

Work Schedules

Full-Time Employment:

  • The majority of network and computer systems administrators work full-time, dedicating standard 40-hour workweeks to their roles.
  • Due to the critical nature of computer networks for organizational operations, administrators may be required to work beyond regular hours to ensure continuous network functionality.
  • Overtime may be necessary to address network emergencies, perform system maintenance during off-peak hours, or implement system upgrades without disrupting daily operations.

24/7 Availability:

  • Given the reliance of organizations on their computer networks, administrators may be expected to be on-call or available during evenings, weekends, and holidays to address network issues promptly.
  • The need for round-the-clock network monitoring and support may result in flexible or rotating work schedules to ensure adequate coverage at all times.

Education and Training

Bachelor’s Degree Requirement:

  • The majority of employers typically require network and computer systems administrators to possess a bachelor’s degree.
  • Bachelor’s degree programs related to computer science, information technology, or a related field provide comprehensive education and training in networking principles, system administration, cybersecurity, and other relevant areas.

Alternative Credentials:

  • Some employers may accept alternative credentials, such as a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree, particularly for entry-level positions or roles with specific technical skill requirements.
  • Postsecondary certificates and associate’s degrees in fields such as network administration, information technology, or computer science offer focused training in networking technologies and system administration tasks.

Continuing Education:

  • Given the rapid evolution of technology and networking systems, administrators are encouraged to pursue continuing education and professional development opportunities to stay abreast of industry advancements and maintain relevant skills.
  • Certifications from reputable organizations, such as Cisco (e.g., CCNA, CCNP), CompTIA (e.g., Network+, Security+), or Microsoft (e.g., MCSA, MCSE), are highly valued and may enhance career prospects for network and computer systems administrators.


Bachelor’s Degree Requirement:

  • While some employers may accept a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree, the majority mandate a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to computer or information science.
  • Specialized degree programs focusing on computer networks and system administration are highly beneficial for aspiring administrators.

Alternative Degrees:

  • Degrees in computer engineering or electrical engineering are also acceptable, given their emphasis on hardware and equipment, which are integral to the work of network and computer systems administrators.
  • These degree programs often encompass coursework in computer programming, networking principles, systems design, and related subjects.

Continuing Education:

  • Due to the rapid pace of technological advancement, administrators must stay abreast of the latest developments in network technology.
  • Continuous learning is essential, with many professionals pursuing additional courses and attending IT conferences throughout their careers to remain current with evolving technologies.

Advanced Education Opportunities:

  • While not always mandatory, some businesses may prefer or require administrators to hold a master’s degree, particularly for higher-level or specialized positions within the organization.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification Requirements:

  • Companies typically mandate that network and computer systems administrators hold certifications relevant to the products and technologies they utilize.
  • Certification programs are often offered by vendors directly or through vendor-neutral certification providers.

Importance of Certification:

  • Certification validates administrators’ knowledge and proficiency in utilizing best practices essential for effective network and computer system management.
  • Among the most common certifications are those offered by industry leaders such as Microsoft and Cisco, which are highly regarded within the IT sector.

How To Be Network and Computer Systems Administrators


Career Progression:

  • Network administrators have opportunities for advancement within the field, such as transitioning into roles as computer network architects or advancing to managerial positions within IT departments.
  • As computer network architects, professionals focus on designing and implementing complex network solutions to meet organizational needs.
  • Advancement to managerial roles, such as computer and information systems managers, involves overseeing broader IT initiatives and teams within organizations.

Personality and Interests

Interest Areas:

  • Network and computer systems administrators typically exhibit interests aligned with the Building, Thinking, and Organizing categories, as per the Holland Code framework.
    • The Building interest area signifies a penchant for hands-on work with tools and machinery, emphasizing practical problem-solving.
    • The Thinking interest area reflects a curiosity for research, analysis, and understanding natural laws, which are essential for troubleshooting and optimizing network performance.
    • The Organizing interest area indicates a preference for structuring and managing information and processes systematically, crucial for maintaining orderly network systems.

Career Fit Assessment:

  • Individuals uncertain about their suitability for a career as a network and computer systems administrator can take career tests to gauge their interests and compatibility with the role.

Essential Qualities

Analytical Skills:

  • Administrators need strong analytical skills to assess network and system performance accurately, predict potential issues, and devise effective solutions.

Communication Skills:

  • Effective communication is vital as administrators must articulate technical concepts and solutions in a clear and understandable manner to non-IT stakeholders.

Computer Skills:

  • Proficiency in various computer technologies is essential for administrators to oversee and ensure the seamless integration of diverse computer equipment and systems.

Multitasking Abilities:

  • The role often entails managing multiple tasks and resolving numerous issues simultaneously, necessitating strong multitasking skills.

Problem-Solving Aptitude:

  • Quick and effective problem-solving skills are critical for administrators to address network disruptions promptly and maintain uninterrupted network operations.

Median Annual Wage for Network and Computer Systems Administrators

In the dynamic landscape of technology, the compensation for network and computer systems administrators has seen fluctuations over the years. As of 2024, the median annual wage for professionals in this field stands at $87,500. This figure reflects the middle ground, with half of the workers earning more than this amount and the other half earning less.

Distribution of Wages

Delving deeper into the spectrum of earnings, it’s noteworthy that the lowest 10 percent of administrators now earn a minimum of $55,000 annually, while the highest 10 percent surpass a lucrative $135,000. Such variation underscores the diverse opportunities and skill levels within this profession.

Industry Insights

Analyzing the median annual wages across various industries offers valuable insights into the economic landscape. In 2024, network and computer systems administrators working in the finance and insurance sectors command a median wage of $92,000, indicating the financial sector’s recognition of the critical role technology plays. Similarly, the information industry boasts a median wage of $91,000, reflecting the importance of robust network infrastructure in data-driven environments.

Management of companies and enterprises offer competitive compensation, with a median wage of $89,000, emphasizing the strategic significance of technology in organizational operations. Meanwhile, computer systems design and related services provide a median wage of $88,000, illustrating the demand for specialized expertise in designing and maintaining complex systems. However, in educational services, both public and private, the median wage stands at $75,000, reflecting the budget constraints inherent in the education sector.

Work Patterns and Overtime

Network and computer systems administrators typically engage in full-time employment, indicative of the round-the-clock nature of maintaining computer networks. Given the critical reliance of organizations on their networks, administrators often find themselves working overtime to ensure uninterrupted operations. This dedication underscores the vital role these professionals play in the seamless functioning of modern enterprises.

Job Outlook

Projected Growth:

  • Employment of network and computer systems administrators is forecasted to increase by 5 percent from 2018 to 2028, a rate on par with the average for all occupations.
  • The robust demand for information technology (IT) professionals is a key driver of this growth, fueled by ongoing investments in advanced technology and mobile networks by businesses across various sectors.

Factors Driving Demand:

  • Continued investment in newer, more efficient technology and the expansion of mobile networks contribute to sustained demand for IT workers.
  • Growth in IT utilization within the healthcare sector further bolsters demand for network and computer systems administrators.

Impact of Cloud Computing:

  • While cloud computing enhances productivity for network administrators, its widespread adoption may moderate growth rates across multiple industries.
  • The efficiencies gained through cloud services may reduce the need for extensive on-premises network infrastructure management. Business – Money Making – Marketing – E-commerce

Sector-Specific Projections:

  • Employment opportunities in the computer systems design and related services industry are anticipated to surge by 24 percent from 2018 to 2028.
  • The proliferation of cloud services, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses lacking dedicated IT departments, is expected to drive this growth.

Job Prospects

Favorable Outlook:

  • Job prospects for network and computer systems administrators are expected to be promising, with ample opportunities available.
  • Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in computer network and systems administration or computer science, coupled with proficiency in contemporary technologies like cloud computing, are likely to enjoy the most favorable job prospects.
  • Staying current with evolving technology trends, particularly in cloud computing, is essential for maximizing job opportunities in the field.

I hope this article on How To Be A Network and Computer Systems Administrators was worthy to you.

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