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Network Administrator Career Guide

How to Become a Network Administrator

Network administrators play an essential role in any IT department since they’re responsible for keeping a network up to date and ensuring that it works as intended. Specifically, they design, manage, and maintain different networks, whether local, over a wide area, or only a network segment.

If you understand how computers work, can quickly identify technological problems as they arise, and are savvy with different operating systems, you might want to consider a career as a network administrator. 

Women in IT

What Is a Network Administrator?

Network administrators work with hardware, software, computer infrastructures, and entire information systems and ensure everything runs sm,oothly and as designed. Typical tasks include setting up and upgrading new networks, identifying problems as they arise, and coming up with practical solutions.

What Does a Network Administrator Do?

Although most businesses use computers and need the help of a network administrator, each setting is different. In general, network administrators perform the following duties:

  • Setting up new networks. 
  • Maintaining and upgrading existing computer networks, including hardware like VPNs and routers.
  • Troubleshooting flaws in software, hardware configuration, communications equipment, and then fixing problems as they arise.
  • Updating and configuring virus protection software and other programs to keep networks secure. 
  • Monitoring and maximizing network performance. 
  • Installing and configuring computer systems and network equipment, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and data communication systems.
  • Communicating updates and problems to other employees, as well as those in management roles.
  • Training new users.
  • Preemptively determining an organization’s software and hardware needs.
  • Evaluating network performance.

What Education Does a Network Administrator Need?

The education level required to enter the network administrator field varies by employer. However, most will require at least an associate’s degree in a computer-related discipline, along with relevant certifications. However, many employers require network admins to have a bachelor’s degree in information technology, network engineering and security, or a related area of study. In these areas of study, you will learn scripting and programming languages, Linux, cloud foundations, data management, web development, and more.

What Certifications Does a Network Administrator Need?

Not all network administrators need certifications, but some positions may require them. Certifications can be a great way to set yourself apart from competition for positions. Some of the best industry certifications that you can pursue for a network administrator role include:

  • CompTIA A+ 
  • CompTIA Network+ 
  • CompTIA Security+ 
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist
  • Axelos ITIL®1 Foundation 
  • LPI Linux Essentials 
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) 
  • Amazon AWS SysOps Administration-Associate
  • Amazon AWS Cloud Practitioner

Best Bachelor's Degrees for a Network Administrator

Information Technology – B.S.

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this...

Award-winning coursework and value-add...

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online program a top choice.

  • Time: 71% of graduates finish within 30 months.
  • Tuition: $3,625 per 6-month term.
  • Certifications: Includes AWS, ITIL, LPI and CompTIA.

The LPI Linux Essentials and ITIL® Foundation Certification are central to this program. Included CompTIA certifications are A+, Network+, Security+, and Project+.

Accelerated Information Technology Bachelor's and Master's Degree

  • AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist 
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist  
  • LPI Linux Essentials
  • ITIL®1 Foundation Certification

1. ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

Network Engineering and Security – B.S.

For network engineering and security professionals looking for a...

For network engineering and security...

For network engineering and security professionals looking for a Cisco or vendor-agnostic experience.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 39 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,735 per 6-month term.

Two focus areas: Students can choose between a Cisco or general program, allowing them to learn and gain experience in their chosen specialty.

Certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Project+, CompTIA Cloud+, ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification, LPI Linux Foundations

The Cisco program also includes: Cisco CyberOps, Cisco DevNet, Cisco CyberOps

The general program also includes: CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (Stacked), CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist (Stacked), CompTIA Cloud Admin Professional (Stacked), CompTIA Secure Cloud Professional (Stacked)

This program will help you develop strong skills in network design, network operations, and security management.

MBA Information Technology Management

Earn the online college degree that can move your career into IT...

Earn the online college degree that can move your...

Earn the online college degree that can move your career into IT upper management:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Chief technology officer
  • Director of IT services
  • Senior systems administrator
  • Management information systems director
  • Computer and information systems manager

Learn to navigate emergencies, execute strategies, and optimize systems with the competencies within this specialty MBA.

Compare with M.S. IT Management

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Top Certifications for Network Administrators

Top industry certifications, along with a degree, are often required by employers of network administrators. That is why WGU offers valuable certifications with degree programs at no extra cost. Learn more about certifications and how they add value to your résumé.


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AWS Academy Member Institution
Linux LPI
Two developers look over some code within an office.

What Skills Does a Network Administrator Need?

Network administrators need to have a broad skill set to perform their job. Below are some of the most common skills, although it’s certainly not an exhaustive list:

  • Knowledge of computer networks: You’ll need to know how to set up and manage IPs, wireless modems and routers, cloud services, and cybersecurity, to name just a few.
  • Coding: To work as a network administrator, you’ll need to have solid internet technology skills, including coding. Common languages include HTML, C++, PHP, Python, JavaScript, Java, and Ruby.
  • Problem-solving: Network administrators are faced with frequent issues that need to be resolved promptly.
  • Team-working and communication skills: Whether you’re facing problems or everything is running smoothly, you’ll frequently convey status updates and other information to people inside and outside of your team. 
  • Attention to detail: One wrong move can wreak havoc on a network, so you’ll need to pay close attention to details while you’re working.
  • Time and project management: Network administrators often must juggle multiple projects and other tasks simultaneously. They also frequently work with internal and external (including digital) teams, and must adhere to different timelines to ensure everyone can effectively do their jobs.

How Much Does a Network Administrator Make?


According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics (BLS), network and computer systems administrators earn an average of $43.52 per hour, which works out to about $90,520 per year. How much a network administrator earns can be impacted by a wide variety of factors, including years of experience and location.


What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The BLS reports that between 2019 and 2029, the need for network and computer systems administrators is expected to grow by 4%, which is as fast as the average overall job growth for all occupations. As a result, about 16,000 new network administrator jobs will be made available during this time.

It’s common for server administrators to have cross-divisional experience in IT, which gives long-term security for future management positions like computer network architects and computer and information systems managers. 

Where Do Network Administrators Work?


Network administrators can work with a wide variety of employers in different locations, organizations, and departments. Some of the most common include:


Computer systems design firms 

Financial firms

Educational institutions

Interested in Becoming a Network Administrator?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this lucrative career.

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