Network Administrator Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Network Administrator, or Network Systems Administrator, is responsible for overseeing an organization’s computer systems or database networks to ensure proper maintenance and security. Their duties include working with other IT staff and company employees to identify network or computer system needs, overseeing the installation of new hardware or software and using employee feedback to isolate issues.

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Network Administrator duties and responsibilities

A Network Administrator has many duties and responsibilities specific to their job. These might change based on the needs of their company. The typical duties and responsibilities of a Network Administrator may include:

  • Maintaining computer networks and systems including software, mainframes, VPNs, routers and other physical hardware
  • Installing and configuring network equipment to update or fix hardware or software issues
  • Updating virus protection software to keep data and communications protected
  • Monitoring computer systems to improve network performance for computer systems and networks
  • Communicating networking issues to other employees and management, especially in training new users
  • Fixing software and hardware configuration issues for users on-demand or from inspection of the systems
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What does a Network Administrator do?

Network Administrators typically work for corporations across industries to apply their information technology expertise to their employer’s computer systems. They work closely with other network professionals and IT personnel to update cyber security measures, install hardware or software devices and troubleshoot problems. Their job is to make sure that company networks align with business goals and objectives.

They may also be responsible for overseeing employee training presentations or creating instruction manuals for employees to navigate company networks.

Network Administrator skills and qualifications

A Network Administrator should have various skills and qualifications to be successful in their position, some of which include: 

  • Knowledge of networking services and common networking protocols
  • Computer proficiency and understanding of various types of hardware
  • Ability to problem solve and think critically 
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Project management skills

Network Administrator salary expectations

A Network Administrator makes an average of $70,320 per year. Salary may depend on the candidate’s level of experience, education and geographic location. 

Network Administrator education and training requirements

Network Administrators often have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, systems engineering or network administration. A more advanced degree means better employability and pay in a Network Administrator role. It is useful for Network Administrators to have certification in disciplines such as Cisco CCNA, CompTIA Network+ or Microsoft certifications in Windows Server and Windows Client.

Network Administrator experience requirements

Employers prefer at least 5 to 10 years of related work experience for a Network Administrator position if the applicant has a bachelor’s degree. For more senior roles, it can be useful for candidates to have supervisory experience as a Network Administrator. Some employers that hire Network Administrators will substitute a master’s degree in place of relevant experience or may accept a Ph.D. for a Senior Network Administrator role.

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Frequently asked questions about Network Administrators

 

What is the difference between a Network Administrator and a Network Engineer?

The difference between a Network Administrator and a Network Engineer is seniority and areas of job focus. For example, Network Engineers actually design computer network systems for an organization. They also create updates or add-ons to the original system to streamline business initiatives. In contrast, Network Administrators are responsible for monitoring a computer network after its creation. They make repairs, ensure security and assist company employees.

Both Network Engineers and Network Administrators need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer system management, information technology or computer programming. However, Network Engineers take on a more senior role when compared to Network Administrators because they need a few years of work experience as an Administrator before they can become an Engineer. Network Administrators and Network Engineers work closely together to identify problems and refine networks to meet business needs.

 

What are the daily duties of a Network Administrator?

On a typical day, a Network Administrator starts by checking their email and voicemail to respond to time-sensitive messages from company employees or IT personnel. They review computer network activities to make sure everything is working properly. Throughout the day, they visit with company employees who experience network problems and work with them to help them understand what went wrong or how to resolve it. Network Administrators also place orders for computer hardware and coordinate installation jobs among members of the IT department.

 

What qualities make a good Network Administrator?

A good Network Administrator has excellent verbal communication. This quality allows them to oversee employee training and presentations about system updates. They also have superb interpersonal communication abilities as they need to interact with company employees from different departments and seniority levels to help them navigate company networks. 

Further, a good Network Administrator has an investigative mindset, allowing them to troubleshoot system issues and make necessary adjustments. A good Network Administrator also knows when they’ve reached their professional limitations and isn’t afraid to call on Network Engineers to help with more advanced repairs.

 

Who does a Network Administrator report to?

A Network Administrator typically reports to the IT Manager within the IT department. They may also report to the IT Director or Director of Information Technology. These individuals act as a point of communication for Network Administrators to address system defects or potential improvements.

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