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Network and Computer Systems Administrators

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Network and Computer Systems Administrators


What you need:

  • To work as a data network administrator you must hold at least a bachelor of science degree in computer science or information science.
  • To work in a position where you install networks you may also need training in electrical engineering
  • Many network data administrators also hold master’s degrees in computer science and complete regular continuing education courses.

What you study:

As a computer science student you are likely to study all of the following:

  • Principles of Programming
  • Intro to Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • Computer Systems Design
  • Software Design

What courses you’ll take

Below are examples of courses that you’ll likely take as a student preparing for a career in network and computer systems administration.

Business Telecommunications and NetworksBasic principles of telecommunications; concepts and terminology involved in installing configuring and providing support for computer networks; types of network protocols and topologies (arrangements of elements within a network); challenges and standards specific to network and systems administration in business environments.Provide foundational knowledge of telecommunications and computer networks in the business world.
Network SecurityWays in which black-hat (malicious) hackers exploit network vulnerabilities; catching and preventing network attacks from internal and external sources; patching security holes and preventing attacks; legal and ethical concerns related to network security; securing a network within a business organization’s structure.Familiarize students with network vulnerabilities and appropriate responses.
Operating System AdministrationSetting up configuring and maintaining networks in Windows Apple UNIX and Linux operating systems; managing storage of files and directories; handling file permissions; creating backups; installing hardware drivers; writing scripts of code to be executed on the network.Ready students to manage network resources within common operating systems.
Administration of Networks and ServersInstallation and configuration of servers (systems of software and hardware resources that respond to network requests) using Apache software and Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) software; enabling email and networking capabilities on a newly installed server; keeping servers up-to-date; troubleshooting.Enable students to turn a computer into a server and keep the server’s functionality working properly.
Implementing and Managing Network InfrastructuresConcepts and practices of network infrastructure (connections between the parts of a network); setting up Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for components of a network; managing digital security certificates and remote access as well as access to printers and network drives.Prepare students to bring the components of a network together into a working whole.

Video Overview

A quick introduction into the data network administrator occupation. Slightly out of date but still a helpful overview. Produced for the US Department of Labor.

Certifications and Licensing

Most professionals who work in data network administration earn certifications in various programming and computer operation systems. These certifications are offered by Microsoft Cisco Apple Red Hat and vendor-neutral certification bodies. They are designed to demonstrate advanced training in a certain area to potential employers.

Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

The work schedule for a data network administrator can be very demanding. You will need to get to work before most other employees in order to assess any system problems. You will also need to stay at work after most employees have left in order to complete data system and computer updates. However you will generally receive long breaks during the day and will be well-compensated for working overtime.

Work location:

As a data network administrator you will spend the majority of your time in your office and on the grounds of the organization for which you work. If your company runs multiple locations you may travel to these locations in order to perform installation maintenance and troubleshooting tasks.

Recommended Websites

  • U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Network and Computer Systems Administrators: This Bureau of Labor Statistics handbook provides general information about careers in network and computer systems administration. A wealth of statistical information about hiring demands in this field and salary ranges is presented. However aspiring data network administrators should also check more qualitative sources for in-depth information about jobs in this field.
  • The League of Professional Systems Administrators: The LOPSA website offers chat rooms forums and listings of individual LOPSA chapters nationwide. New data networking professionals will find the mentorship program offered through LOPSA particularly helpful to their professional development. Proteges can post listings for mentors on the website.
  • Association of Information Technology Professionals: The AITP website offers knowledge resources e-learning opportunities and a job board. While this site is aimed at IT professionals in general prospective data network administrators will find a wide variety of resources tailored to their specific needs. Advanced learning materials are also provided for individuals who have experience in the field.

Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

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StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
AKAnchorage$74040$50K – $107K6500.38%
AKFairbanks$68940$45K – $105K1100.32%
ALAnniston – Oxford$63410$46K – $98K600.13%
ALAuburn – Opelika$70040$38K – $93K900.19%
ALBirmingham – Hoover$72340$45K – $108K17300.36%
ALDecatur$57820$35K – $98K600.11%
ALDothan$58180$33K – $90K700.13%
ALFlorence – Muscle Shoals$62650$39K – $90K1100.21%
ALGadsden$56780$45K – $73K400.11%
ALHuntsville$70610$44K – $117K8400.41%
ALMobile$62790$41K – $95K4700.28%
ALMontgomery$60470$43K – $90K5500.35%
ALTuscaloosa$53730$39K – $84K2900.32%
ARFayetteville – Springdale – Rogers$76860$49K – $113K8200.40%
ARFort Smith$56110$40K – $86K1400.13%
ARJonesboro$51370$34K – $68K700.13%
ARLittle Rock – North Little Rock – Conway$62800$42K – $91K7700.23%
ARPine Bluff$57030$35K – $99K400.12%
AZFlagstaff$64340$35K – $98K700.13%
AZLake Havasu City $ Kingman$54100$33K – $114K800.18%
AZPhoenix – Mesa – Glendale$74580$44K – $116K50700.29%
AZPrescott$64940$41K – $90K600.12%
AZTucson$61130$38K – $93K9000.26%
AZYuma$62110$42K – $83K600.10%
CABakersfield – Delano$70650$50K – $107K6100.22%
CAChico$67590$46K – $118K900.13%
CAEl Centro$96020$51K – $119K600.11%
CAFresno$61690$41K – $89K3100.10%
CALos Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area)$76850$51K – $116K96600.25%
CAMadera – Chowchilla$69360$30K – $109KN/AN/A
CAMerced$71090$40K – $109K900.16%
CAModesto$69990$42K – $95K2000.13%
CANapa$72140$54K – $115K800.12%
CAOakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area)$90340$59K – $125K41800.43%
CAOxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura$75080$42K – $110K6000.21%
CARedding$60190$42K – $102K600.11%
CARiverside – San Bernardino – Ontario$74100$42K – $138K16300.14%
CASacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville$77590$50K – $114K17800.22%
CASalinas$70780$52K – $97K1600.10%
CASan Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos$75810$50K – $113K40300.32%
CASan Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area)$92580$60K – $136K47400.47%
CASan Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara$93730$52K – $144K44800.50%
CASan Luis Obispo – Paso Robles$65750$41K – $97K2600.26%
CASanta Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area)$80460$52K – $116K46100.33%
CASanta Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta$71550$51K – $106K3900.23%
CASanta Cruz – Watsonville$76400$37K – $104K2100.25%
CASanta Rosa – Petaluma$66520$37K – $108K3200.19%
CAStockton$63890$41K – $93K1900.10%
CAVallejo – Fairfield$82930$54K – $118K2200.18%
CAVisalia – Porterville$64120$38K – $104K1000.08%
CAYuba City$73500$46K – $97K400.11%
COBoulder$84890$49K – $147K9800.61%
COColorado Springs$75150$50K – $102K13900.57%
CODenver – Aurora – Broomfield$76990$48K – $115K56000.45%
COFort Collins – Loveland$68930$44K – $98K3500.26%
COGrand Junction$69490$45K – $91K800.14%
COGreeley$67920$44K – $101K1500.19%
COPueblo$52020$35K – $85K900.17%
CTBridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk$88170$54K – $142K11900.29%
CTDanbury$74620$50K – $127K900.14%
CTHartford – West Hartford – East Hartford$80170$54K – $116K14500.26%
CTNew Haven$87710$54K – $119K3800.14%
CTNorwich – New London$68880$50K – $96K2000.16%
CTWaterbury$69950$49K – $98K1000.15%
DCWashington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area)$90760$52K – $141K177200.76%
DEDover$52790$36K – $73K120