Network Administrator Education Requirements and Career Information
Network administrators provide support for a variety of systems, including local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranet, Internet or network segment systems. They often work for large corporations or organizations and are responsible for the network's overall stability and security. Although there are no mandatory educational requirements for network administrators, many employers look for applicants that have an educational background in network systems.
Education Requirements for Network Administration
A variety of degree programs are available in the field of network administration, often at the undergraduate level. These programs can be found under a variety of majors, including network administration, computer science, information science and MIS (management information systems).
Degree program coursework often consists of study in computer science, computer programming, network systems, systems security, advanced mathematics and statistics. MIS programs may also include additional courses in finance and database management.
Certification programs are another popular educational option in network administration. Many certification programs are designed for students who have completed a program in computer science, though some certification programs will accept candidates that have professional experience in network systems. Some of these programs offer a general overview of network systems, while most concentrate on vendor-specific applications, such as Microsoft, Cisco or Sun Microsystems.
Because of the rapid technological advancements in network systems, many professional network administrators periodically update their skills through advanced certification courses. Typically, these certification courses feature a small amount of courses focusing on a specialty and often last from only a few weeks to a few months in length.
Employment Outlook for Network Administrators
A broad range of industries and organizations hire network administrators, including government agencies, academic institutions, financial firms and telecommunication companies. Between 2008 and 2018, the number of opportunities in this field was projected to increase by 23%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This fast rate of growth was due to the projected increase in the number of firms that will be adding IT networks and a greater need for network system security.
In 2008, the BLS reported that the median annual income for network administrators was $66,310, with the top ten percent in the field earning over $104,070 a year. The type of industry or organization factored in greatly when determining median salaries; public school systems offered a median salary of $58,610, while the median salary in the securities and commodities industry was $89,260 (www.bls.gov).
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