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What are the Different Types of Network Administrator Jobs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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People who work in technical services and desktop support often look to advance their careers through network administrator jobs. A network administrator is someone responsible for the installation, configuration, maintenance, and support of a computer network. These networks are widely used in organizations large and small to create an efficient and cost effective way to allow multiple computers to share data and access the Internet.

There are four primary types of network administrator jobs: technical support, manager, system architect, and instructor. All four jobs require candidates to have completed formal post-secondary training from a recognized institution in network administration. These programs are available from a wide range of community colleges and private schools. Recognized network administrator programs are also offered by the software companies that provide this type of software. For example, Microsoft® and Novell® both have certification programs that provide credentials necessary to qualify for network administrator jobs.

Technical support positions are the most common starting point of all the different network administrator jobs. The primary tasks associated with this position include meeting user needs, technical support for hardware and infrastructure issues, software and hardware maintenance, and ongoing application of software patches and bug fixes. The skills required in this job are taught during the training program.

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After five to eight years of working experience in technical support, candidates can apply for more senior network administrator jobs. Options may include network management or supervisory roles. People who want to advance their career to this level are well advised to complete additional formal education. An advanced degree or diploma in management or the successful completion of specialized management training may be necessary to make this career transition.

The role of system architect is one of the more senior of all the different network administrator jobs. The primary purpose of this role is to take a more holistic view of network design, infrastructure, and related support systems. The system architect is expected to have a significant level of expertise in this field, as well as the capacity to think of creative solutions to existing challenges.

The typical career path for network administrator is quite shallow. For this reason, many skilled professionals turn to teaching as a way to change career direction. Positions are available in a wide range of community and career colleges. These instructor roles are well compensated and have a reduced work week when compared to the standard work week of technical support staff.

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Discuss this Article

hamje32
Post 4

@Mammmood - Teaching is a great springboard for anyone who wants to move on, whether they started out as a network administrator or even if they worked as a programmer.

Since you’re interested in less stress, teaching lets you take what you’ve learned and share it with others, rather than worrying about if you’ve completed a project on time and under budget, like most IT professionals do.

In that sense, it’s less stressful. Of course teaching has its own pressures, but trust me, it’s nothing like working in IT and being forced to meet software development deadlines.

Mammmood
Post 3

@miriam98 - I see one major advantage to remaining in a network engineer position rather than becoming a programmer.

You experience less stress, in my opinion. Programmers have to churn out code as fast as possible, and it has to work. So even if you have a penchant for creativity you may decide to stick to light scripting and leave it at that.

Of course the network administrator has his share of stress too, like making sure nightly backups are done. But these are automated processes. I still say programming is more stressful.

miriam98
Post 2

@nony - In the company I used to work at, most of our network administrators fell into the support variety.

They had the mandatory A+ certification which is required for all network technicians. They seemed happy doing what they were doing, which was fixing computers and installing new software and upgrades.

Personally, I could never be permanently content in such a position. I am creative by nature and eventually want to start building something, which is what computer programming allows me to do.

However, I think network administration jobs would be a good foot in the door for anyone wanting an IT job, whether you want to be an administrator or move on to programming.

You do get a chance to do some light scripting in administration so I can see how you’d be able to transition into a programming career if that’s what you want.

nony
Post 1

We work at a small business, so our network administrator encompasses several of these roles at once.

He is responsible for technical support; he installs new equipment, upgrades the software and manages firewall and other security issues. At the same time he is also a network architect, laying out the whole framework of the company’s computer networks, including even down to the phone systems.

He is definitely not a manager and to my knowledge he has not worked as a teacher to advance his career, as the article suggests that some of these people do.

Interestingly enough, his degree is actually in computer engineering and not network engineering. He just transitioned into network administration position later on in his career. He is a more than competent computer programmer.

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