network administrator training
Network administrators manage networks & communications systems.

Network administrators install, support, and manage the networks and computer systems that keep information flowing. They implement and maintain network hardware and software, troubleshoot network problems, and ensure network security, availability & performance standards.

In challenging economic times, organizations retain and hire network administrators to optimize existing systems to reduce costs and boost productivity. In a robust economy, companies implement new networking and communications technologies to spark a competitive advantage, leading to increased demand for network administrators to install, secure, and optimize the new systems. This consistent demand, independent of economic conditions, has led many employment experts to dub network administrator a "recession-proof career." This has become somewhat less true as the proliferation of cloud computing solutions continues to increase network productivity, enabling companies to do more with less personnel, however network administrator remains a solid career path with strong compensation and plenty of options for upward mobility.

Now is an ideal time to begin or advance your network administration career. Universities, colleges and private computer schools offer a range of network administrator training and degree programs. Compare network administrator courses & degrees in the U.S. and online.

a.k.a. Systems Administrator | Network Analyst | Cisco Network Admin | Network Manager

Network Administration Degrees

Network Administrator Skills & Responsibilities

Typical daily activities and marketable skill sets for network administrators include the following. Network administrators:

  • Configure and maintain the organization's internal computer network.
  • Manage network security tools, e.g., firewall, anti-virus and intrusion detection systems.
  • Identify, troubleshoot, solve and document network connectivity and performance issues.
  • Install and support hard-line telephones and other networked telecommunication devices.
  • Monitor network performance and optimize the network for optimal speed and availability.
  • Install, configure and maintain network hardware, for example, Cisco routers and switches.
  • Deploy, configure and upgrade network software, such as, enterprise antivirus or diagnostics programs.
  • Implement and maintain emergency backup and restore systems for mission-critical network servers.
  • Network administrators regulate user access to sensitive files to protect against internal security breaches.
  • In smaller companies, network administrators are often responsible for end-user desktop support, and the
    maintenance of servers and other networked devices.

Network Administrator Salary

The median annual salary for network administrators in the U.S. is $85,000, according to the latest data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Network Administrator Salary $85,000


Average salaries for network administrators and related positions:

  • Computer Support Specialist: $56,000
  • Network Manager: $77,000
  • Cisco Network Administrator: $80,000
  • Network Designer: $81,000
  • Network Engineer: $86,000
  • Cisco Network Engineer: $88,000
  • Network Security Administrator: $89,000
  • Network Maintenance Specialist: $90,000
  • Network Architect: $105,000
  • Cisco Network Architect: $109,000
  • Cisco CCIE Network Engineer: $114,000

Top paying cities and metropolitan areas for network administrators:

  1. San Jose California Metro Area: $134,000
  2. Baltimore Maryland Metro Area: $117,000
  3. San Francisco CA Metro Area: $107,000
  4. NYC Metro Area (NY, NJ & PA): $106,000
  5. Washington DC Metro (DC, VA, MD & WV): $102,000
  6. Boston Massachusetts Metro (MA & NH): $102,000

The hourly wage for network administrators ranges from $25 to $70 per hour, depending on the individual's geographic location, known technologies, certifications held and practical field experience.

Deep dive comparison of network administrator salaries.

Sources: | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Network Administrator Education Requirements

Network administrators are often required to have an undergrad or graduate degree in computer science, network administration, systems engineering, or a related field of study. Upon completion of a formal education program, network administrators can further distinguish themselves and increase employment and advancement opportunities by earning networking certifications, such as CompTIA's Network+, Cisco's CCNA, and Microsoft certifications in Windows Server and Windows Client.

Fundamental skills and courses to look for in a network administration degree program include systems administration training, LAN & WAN installation & configuration, routing & switching, and network security training. A networking degree that includes certifications will help you graduate with a distinct competitive advantage. Effective communication skills are also key, as network administrators communicate complex ideas and solutions to both technical and non-technical employees. Computer networking is a rich and vast domain, so beyond the basics, choose a degree with the courses that spark your interest, or those featuring networking skills that are hot right now, e.g., virtualization or cloud computing.

Research and compare the top-rated network administration degrees online.

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Network Administrator Certifications

Desirable certifications for network administrators include the following:

Read this post from networking pro and trainer, Darril Gibson, for a detailed network administration certification path.

Network Administrator Jobs

Your network administration training, certifications, and experience may qualify you for a range of positions, including:

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Job Outlook

Employment of network administrators is expected to increase by 5% from 2020 to 2030, slower than the 8% average growth rate for all occupations. Network administration job growth will be tempered by the proliferation of cloud computing solutions, which increase network productivity, thus reducing the number of networking personnel needed to complete the same tasks. However, IT networks remain an integral part of the modern enterprise, and demand for network administrators with the right skill set will continue to grow as firms invest in better computer systems to boost performance, scalability and security. Network administration skills that will improve your job outlook include mobile device management, cyber security, cloud computing, and virtualization.

The rapid adoption of mobile and smart devices means more organizations will use the Internet to conduct business online, translating to an increased need for network administrators with mobile computing skills who can help businesses better connect employees, clients and customers. Network administration career growth will also be driven by the increasing need for qualified network security personnel as cyber attacks continue to grow in frequency, scope and sophistication.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook

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About the Author

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is the founder and Editor-in-chief of ITCareerFinder. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers, and hiring managers since 2005 has given him unique insight into the information technology job market and the skills and credentials IT pros need to succeed.