How to Become a Network Administrator (2023 Update)

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Organizations and businesses need information technology experts to manage their networks and keep operations running smoothly. Network administrators play an important role in this position. This tech role is one of the fastest-growing in the country. Find out what you need to become a network administrator. 

Want to build on those in-demand skills for your tech-based job? At TECH I.S., we provide training to help you advance your career as a network administrator.

What Is a Network Administrator?

Jobs in the information technology (IT) and computer industries are on the rise. According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions are expected to grow at least 13% in the next decade. Network administrators need to watch the day-to-day operation of a company’s computer networks.

Network administrators will install, maintain, and organize the necessary software and hardware to meet the needs of a business. Also, they are there to solve any issues that may occur throughout the day or night. You can find a network administrator in any office setting, and they will work in a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, education, and manufacturing. 

Along with that, the network administrator has other critical responsibilities, such as:

– Ordering network equipment, such as switches and firewalls. 

– Configuring, testing, and racking the network equipment

– Monitoring the network

– Troubleshooting any problems

– Providing regular maintenance for updates and patches

– Maintaining and installing cabling

Average Salary for Network Administrators

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Typically, the median pay for a network administrator is $80,600 per year. However, the top earners usually have an annual salary of $130,830. Like most job types, network administrator pay ranges will vary depending on the geographical location, job level, experience, and education. Over the years, network administrators could see their salaries rise to meet demand in the field. 

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Becoming a Network Administrator

Most network administrators will have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science. Some certifications are helpful and can position you for a higher-paying job in the future. Many administrators will earn credentials for Cisco’s CCNA, CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA Network+. Depending on your employer’s platforms and products, you may also want to pursue vendor-specific certifications. 

While advanced degrees are usually not required for a network administrator’s role, they can help you stand out against other professionals in the field. After college, you will want to gain real-life experience in the field. Take an entry-level job to learn the basics of network administration. During this time, it can be beneficial to network with other administrators in your area. If a job opportunity arises, you could be the first applicant for the position. 

How Long To Become a Network Administrator?

After you have earned an associate’s degree, you will want to become an entry-level network administrator. During this time, you could also work towards achieving a bachelor’s degree, which could take three to five years. Don’t forget about internships. These opportunities can help you learn on the job while earning credits for a degree. With all that, you can find an entry-level network administrator position. 

However, advanced and senior-level roles will require you to have more experience on the job and a higher educational degree. Also, you may want to earn certifications to show your value to potential employers. 

Hard Skills

If you want to work as a network administrator, you need a few hard skills for the position. Some of the most common ones include:

– The ability to manage, monitor, and control server infrastructure

– Knowledge of complex computer systems and networks

– Several years of network technologies and troubleshooting experience

– Experience with wide area networks (WAN), local area networks (LAN), and virtual private networks (VPN).

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Soft Skills

Along with hard skills, soft skills can demonstrate your ability to collaborate with others and build relationships inside and outside of the company. They include:

– Collaboration

– Being a leader and team player

– Flexibility

– Adaptability

– Working independently without supervision

– Able to interact with several levels in an organization

– Effective communication skills

Common Certifications Needed for the Job

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There are specific certifications that will be helpful if you want to become a network administrator. Some of the most common credentials include the following:

– Cisco Certified Network Associate (CNNA): This shows you can work on both switched and routed networks. It is a popular Cisco certification. 

– Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing & Switching (CCNP R&S): Ideal option for those professionals with one year of experience who want to work on complex networks. 

– Network+ (CompTIA): This credential is an excellent starting point for those who want to enter the network administration field.

– Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). With this certification, you will demonstrate your ability to create and design a technology solution with a core business platform from Microsoft, such as Windows, Office, SQL Server, and Azure.

– Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): After obtaining the MCSA, this is the next certification that will demonstrate your ability to design and fix more advanced systems. 

Continuing Education

In addition to the educational opportunities and certifications, many network administrators want to earn a master’s degree. These degrees can show that you have the knowledge and skills in the field. An advanced degree can give you a competitive edge in the job market. Choose an advanced degree in information technology, computer science, network defense, and cybersecurity. With that, you can take your career to the next level of success. 

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Finding a Job in Network Administration

One way to gain experience is by finding an internship. You can get your foot into the door and find a job. Check out online job boards. There are also industry-specific resources that can help you secure a great job as a network administrator. 

Use these tips for your job search:

Customize Your Resume

You never want to see the same resume for every job application. In any case, ensure the resume matches the job description for the position. You may want to focus on adding relevant experience and skills to match the job posting. 

Do Your Research

Before you send out an application and resume, make sure to research the company. This step lets you find out the company’s culture, salary, benefits, and work environment. You can use this information when writing the cover letter and in the interview. 

Schedule Interviews

These types of interviews are slightly different. Instead of applying for a specific position, you will sit with professionals in the field to learn more about their company. These interviews are the ideal way to build your reputation and network with others in the network administration industry. 

Start Your Network Administration Journey Today

Are you ready to become a network administrator? This career is the perfect option for those who want to work with a company’s network or take on a more prominent role in the information technology department. Network administrators will continue to be in high demand for many years. With these tips, you can start on the path of becoming a network administrator. 

Want to take a fast track to reach your dream of becoming a network administrator? At TECH I.S., we are proud to offer online programs and certifications to help put you on the right career path.