How to Become a Network Administrator

If you are computer savvy and love working with various networks, you could become a network administrator. As a network administrator, you will be responsible for the smooth functioning of the network along with its security from both hacking and virus attacks. A network administrator is also responsible for the physical maintenance of the network-both the local area network (LAN) and the wide area network (WAN). With the increasing use of computers, connectivity among them gains in importance, so there are bound to be plenty of job openings for network administrators.

Education

Most employers expect a network administrator to have a bachelor's degree in computer science. There are many colleges that offer such a degree. Even while you are enrolled in the college of your choice, get some work experience as a network administrator by interning with some company.

A network administrator's education only begins with a degree in computer science. It never ends, as the administrator has to keep him- or herself informed about the latest advances in technology in this rapidly changing field. One has to keep acquiring more knowledge about wireless networks.

Salary

A network administrator commands a salary between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. Always negotiate for a higher salary than what is offered to you, as good network administrators are much in demand. You can always command a higher pay as you gain in experience.

Work

The work involves the deployment, configuring, testing, monitoring, and maintenance of networks. Some companies divide the work between a network engineer and a network administrator. In such cases, a network administrator takes care of the day-to-day work, while the network engineer is in charge of the upgrades, testing, and product evaluation. In most companies, however, there is no such differentiation, and the network administrator takes care of the upgrades, testing, and product evaluation, apart from the day-to-day running of the network.

The hours of work can be long, especially if a problem crops up. Most days, however, it will be a nine-to-five job.

Career Prospects

As the use of computers in the work environment expands exponentially, networking them becomes a full-time job. The growth prospects for network administrators are very good. Labor statistics show that these jobs are bound to increase above the average growth rate.

Security

As security needs of businesses and their networks increase, the network administrator will be expected to know about potential threats to the network as well as ways to combat them. Thus, a network administrator will also have to have knowledge about firewalls and viruses. A good network administrator should make him- or herself indispensable to the organization by reducing the downtime of the network, working to move this figure close to zero.