Job Prospects: Excellent
Typical Annual Starting Pay:
- Bay Area $48,258 - 61,111
- Sacramento $44,188 - 55,957
- Central Valley $42,645 - 54,003
Salary ranges based on entry-level positions. To adjust for more advanced experience, go to Salary.com.
Job Market Update:
As business becomes more dependent upon technology, companies are increasingly looking for workers knowledgeable about the function and administration of system networks. Demand will increase even further as organizations continue to adopt more sophisticated technology. Also pushing demand is the ongoing expansion of computer system design and related services, which is projected to remain one of the fastest-growing industries in the US. Also, demand for computer security will grow as businesses and government continue to invest heavily in ’cyber security,’ protecting vital computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack.
Network administrators are the information technology specialists responsible for the efficient use of networks by organizations. In a nutshell, they are the professionals who make it all work: the computers, network and software. They are expected to design, install and support an organization’s local-area network (LAN), wide-area network (WAN), network segment, Internet and intranet systems. They provide day-to-day onsite administrative support for software users in a variety of work environments, including professional offices, small businesses, government agencies and large corporations. They monitor the network, troubleshoot problems and ensure system availability to users, while gathering data to identify current and future network and workstation requirements. Administrators also plan, coordinate and implement network security measures, and make recommendations for enhancements in the implementation of future servers and networks.
While a college degree is not required, it is definitely preferred and will enhance your employability and understanding of business requirements. Knowledge of some of the most common operating systems and programming languages is a must, including Windows and MS Office applications, UNIX/LINUX, SAP and Wi-Fi.
Network administrators normally work in well-lighted, comfortable offices or computer labs. While they typically work about 40 hours a week, that may include being on call via pager or telephone for rotating evening or weekend work if the employer requires computer support over extended hours. Overtime may be necessary when unexpected technical problems arise. Like others who type for long periods, network administrators are susceptible to eyestrain, backaches, and hand and wrist problems. Due to the heavy emphasis on helping all types of computer users, network administrators constantly interact with customers and co-workers, answering questions and giving advice. Those who work as consultants are away from their offices much of the time, sometimes spending months working in a client’s office, although they often connect to a customer’s computer remotely to provide technical support.
Where the jobs are:
Although they work in a wide range of industries, about 23 percent of all network administrators are employed in professional, scientific, and technical services industries, principally computer systems design and related services. Other organizations employing network administrators include administrative and support services companies, banks, government agencies, insurance companies, educational institutions, and wholesale and retail vendors of computers, office equipment, appliances, and home electronic equipment. Many work for manufacturers of computers, semiconductors, and other electronic components. Employers of network administrators range from start-up companies to established industry leaders. With the continued evolution of the Internet, telecommunications, and email, industries not typically associated with computers – such as construction – increasingly need computer workers. Small and large firms across all industries are expanding or developing computer systems, creating an immediate need for systems administrators.
Job growth reflects the rapid pace of improving technology. As computers and software become more complex, network administrators will be needed to provide technical assistance to customers and other users. New mobile technologies, such as the wireless Internet, will continue to create a demand for these workers to familiarize and educate computer users. Consulting opportunities for network administrators also should continue to grow as businesses increasingly need help managing, upgrading and customizing these complex computer systems.
Other related work includes computer programmers, computer software engineers, computer systems analysts, computer scientists and database administrators.
For more information on network administrator careers, visit these websites:
ComputerJobs.com – Resources, job listings and resume postings for IT positions. Resources, job listings and resume postings for IT positions.
ComputerWork.com – Job listings, links, resources and resume postings for computer professionals nationwide. Job listings, links, resources and resume postings for computer professionals nationwide.
Dice.com – The leading online technology job board has postings for permanent, contract and consulting jobs. Home to a world of career development resources and technological expertise. The leading online technology job board has postings for permanent, contract and consulting jobs. Home to a world of career development resources and technological expertise.
RHIC.com – Robert Half International Consulting; (415) 434-4940
SAGE.org – System Administrators Guild; (510) 528-8649