Computer network systems are very important when it comes to organizational operations. In addition to providing an effective method of protecting sensitive data such as proprietary information, trade secrets, and employee and customer personal information, computer networks help protect against unauthorized access attempts and give employees and business partners safe and secure communication.
Individuals who wish to utilize their expertise, critical thinking abilities, and problem-solving skills to contribute to maintaining computer networks may find a fulfilling career as a network and computer systems administrator.
In this article, we are going to discuss everything about the network and computer systems administrator career. As well as you will come to know their average salary, what they do, their responsibilities, and more.
What does a network and computer systems administrator do?
A network and computer systems administrator oversees an organization’s computer networks. They ensure the networks have the right hardware and software, keeping them updated and secure. They also check how the networks work, fix problems or errors, and teach staff how to use different computer systems.
Organizations may have different computer networks, so a network and computer systems administrator may have different daily tasks. Some of the common tasks they may do are:
- Keep the IT systems running smoothly, such as email, applications, hardware, software, and network security tools
- Protect the data on the network by using security protocols, such as SSL, SFTP, and VPNs
- Find and fix any weaknesses in the network and make suggestions to improve it
- Do regular network audits
- Solve any issues with the network, such as LAN, WAN, and other network segments
- Train staff on how to use software and hardware
- Work with network architects to build and maintain servers and make the network faster
- Help decide what hardware and software to buy
- Plan and do hardware and software upgrades
Where do network and computer systems administrators work?
A network and computer systems administrator typically operates within an office environment, although occasionally, they have the flexibility to work remotely. Their working hours are generally on time. There may be instances where they need to be available during evenings or weekends to ensure uninterrupted system functionality.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many network and computer systems administrators find employment with companies specializing in computer system design. However, their expertise is also in demand across healthcare facilities, financial institutions, educational institutions, military installations, and government agencies.
Computer networks play a role in facilitating communication across industries. This highlights the significance of network and computer systems administrators and their reliance on network infrastructures.
What skills are needed to become a network and computer systems administrator?
A network and computer systems administrator should possess a range of skills, including expertise, analytical acumen, and problem-solving abilities. Additionally, they should also have skills such as communication and multitasking capabilities.
These proficiencies play a role in enabling them to perform their job responsibilities:
Technical skills: As an administrator for managing an organization's network infrastructure and connected devices such as computers, phones, and tablets, it is essential to possess skills to ensure seamless integration and optimal performance of these devices.
Analytical skills: A network and computer systems administrator must be able to identify and troubleshoot problems within a network. Furthermore, they should be adept at adapting the network to meet the evolving needs of the organization.
Problem-solving: Quick problem-solving capabilities are crucial for a network and computer systems administrator. They may encounter challenges related to DNS issues, computer viruses, sluggish performance, or IP address problems that require resolution.
Communication: When interacting with technical individuals, effective communication is vital for a network and computer systems administrator. They should be able to explain concepts in simple terms while communicating network issues clearly, along with their respective solutions.
Multitasking: Being a network and computer systems administrator often requires juggling tasks. They must possess multitasking abilities and effective time management skills.
What is the average salary of a network and computer systems administrator?
In this scenario, there are career opportunities for network and computer systems administrators. According to the BLS the demand for these professionals is expected to grow as businesses increasingly rely on their expertise until 2029. The growth rate is 4%, which aligns with the average for all occupations.
Moreover, it is evident that organizations worldwide, including those in the IT and healthcare sectors, will require IT administrators. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field will have an advantage when seeking job opportunities.
Additionally, per the BLS report, the average salary for network and computer administrators was $83,267 annually. The top 10% earned more than $132,520 annually, while the bottom 10% earned more than $52,370 annually. Salary variations depend on factors such as experience level, possession of degrees, industry specialization, and geographic location of employment.
Different roles of a computer systems administrator
A computer systems administrator is an individual who oversees and upkeep an organization's computer systems and networks. The specific roles and responsibilities of a computer systems administrator may vary depending on the size and nature of the organization.
Once you have completed the education and training, there are types of computer systems administrator positions you can consider pursuing. These positions offer specializations and duties within the field.
Security Systems Administrator: The role of a Security Systems Administrator involves overseeing the protection and reliability of computer systems and networks. They are responsible for monitoring and addressing security concerns, performing backups, managing user profiles and permissions, and developing and implementing security policies and protocols.
They also guide organizations on network security practices and standards while identifying and resolving threats or breaches. Security Systems Administrators can be found in government, defense, finance, healthcare, and education industries.
Database Administrator: This computer systems administrator manages and optimizes an organization's database systems. A database administrator typically takes charge in organizations with data needs, while in smaller organizations, the server administrator may handle this task.
The database administrator uses tools and techniques to gather, store, and retrieve data. They also ensure authorized users can access and secure the data while protecting it from access or loss. Database administrators can work in information technology, telecommunications, banking, insurance, and healthcare.
Network Administrator: This role of a computer systems administrator involves overseeing and managing an organization's network infrastructure. Responsibilities include monitoring network performance, troubleshooting any issues, and maintaining the functionality of routers, switches, and other devices.
Additionally, the administrator is responsible for installing, configuring, and updating network hardware and software. They also manage communication protocols to ensure reliable information flow while considering the needs of clients and users.
Computer Programmer: A computer systems administrator specializes in one or more programming languages and is skilled at writing types of software code. Typically, a computer programmer is interested in technology and programming.
Their responsibilities involve designing, writing, testing, debugging, troubleshooting, and maintaining the source code that enables computers to comprehend and execute instructions.
Computer Systems Engineer: This particular role in computer systems administration combines the skills of an engineer and a computer scientist. The individual utilizes their expertise to create and build computer systems and applications that address business and engineering challenges.
A computer systems engineer is responsible for designing, testing, and analyzing the components of a computer system, including hardware and software, to ensure they work together seamlessly. They work across embedded systems, robotics, artificial intelligence, and gaming domains.
What are the best certifications for network and computer systems administrators?
Security 5 certification
The Security 5 certification, provided by the EC Council, is entry-level. It aims to equip individuals with the knowledge of computer networking and security. This certification covers network devices, protocols, security concepts, encryption, firewalls, and wireless security.
Obtaining the Security 5 certification, individuals gain skills to establish computer networks and defend against cyber threats. To earn this certification, one must pass a 40-question exam that assesses their comprehension of the course content. The certification remains valid for two years. It can be renewed by completing another exam.
The Security 5 certification is a starting point for those pursuing a career in IT security or expanding their knowledge in this field. Additionally, it can serve as a stepping stone towards certifications like CompTIA Security+ or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Network 5 Certification
The Network 5 certification is a credential offered by the EC Council, recognized as the cybersecurity certification body. It aims to validate your expertise and understanding of network security, network analysis, and network defense.
You must pass at least two Fortinet NSE 5 series exams to earn this certification. These exams cover FortiAnalyzer, FortiManager, FortiSIEM FortiEDR, and FortiSandbox. The Network 5 certification remains valid for two years from the completion date.
It can be renewed by completing the NSE 5 specialist exams at any Pearson VUE test center. The Network 5 certification can significantly boost your career prospects in network administration, engineering, or security.
Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA)
The CCNA Security certification is undoubtedly one of the best certifications in the market offered by Cisco. The Cisco CCNA validates your knowledge and abilities in securing Cisco network infrastructures. It falls under the category of associate-level certifications alongside CCNA, CCNA DevNet, and CCNA CyberOps.
By earning the CCNA security certification, you demonstrate proficiency in installing, configuring, operating, and troubleshooting network security solutions using Cisco devices and technologies. The CCNA certification exam covers security concepts, network access, VPNs, firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, content security, endpoint protection measures, and more.
To obtain the CCNA Security certification, you must pass the 210 260 IINS exam. This exam consists of 60-70 questions to be completed within a 90-minute. The validity period for the CCNA security certification is three years and can be extended by passing another level or higher level exam offered by Cisco.
The CCNA certification is highly beneficial for individuals seeking a career in network security or aiming to enhance their existing skills. Additionally, it serves as a foundation for those aspiring to pursue security certifications, like CCNP Security or CCIE Security.
The final say
With the advancement of technology and network improvements, there is a growing need for companies to have network and computer systems administrators who can ensure smooth operations.
Additionally, upgrading computer equipment and software becomes essential as cloud computing expands. This creates an increased demand for network and computer systems administrators who can effectively maintain these systems.