Wireless local area networks need minor adjustments and constant supervision, which is what wireless network administrators do for a living. Those who become certified through trade organizations can use their certification to prove their level of knowledge and skill with network administration. Professionals must be comfortable with multitasking in this career field, and they must have extensive knowledge of computers and related systems.
Certified wireless network administrators oversee all aspects of an organization's wireless LAN (local area network). These administrators design a functioning wireless network suited to their employer's needs and then implement that design. They also ensure the network's continued functioning. Certification is standard in the industry.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in computer or information science related field|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||8%* (for all network administrators)|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$77,810* (for all network administrators)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Wireless network administrators' job duties focus around developing and maintaining system efficiency. A large portion of the day may involve troubleshooting, diagnosis and repair. Administrators must keep wireless networks operating at all times and check that all components of a network, both hardware and software, function together as designed. Technical assistance is often required for employees who experience technological difficulties. Often network administrators take charge of security functions as well, making sure their network is secure from harmful external influences, like hackers and viruses.
Even when the wireless system is functioning perfectly, wireless network administrators must monitor system performance. Additionally, staying aware of new technological developments and trends will help administrators consider ways they might improve their organization's network in the future.
Wireless network administrator certification is offered by Certified Wireless Network Professional, Inc. (CWNP). The wireless network administrator certification is an industry-recognized certification that requires the passing of an examination administered by the CWNP. As of January 2015, the exam consisted of 60 multiple-choice questions covering topics like security, radio frequency (RF) technologies and LAN hardware and software. Test-takers must answer 70% of the exam's questions correctly to earn their certification.
To help network administrators get ready for their exam, the CWNP produces a CWNA study guide. In addition, several colleges offer classes designed to prepare students for the CWNA test. These programs are sanctioned learning partners of the CWNP.
In addition to the network administrator certification, the CWNP also offers other levels of wireless network certification, such as:
- Certified Wireless Technology Specialist
- Certified Wireless Security Professional
- Certified Wireless Design Professional
- Certified Wireless Analysis Professional
- Certified Wireless Network Expert
- Certified Wireless Network Instructor
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated in 2015 that network administrators in general earned a median yearly wage of $77,810. The BLS stated that jobs in the network administrator field are projected to increase by 8% between the years of 2014 and 2024, which represents average growth compared to all career fields.
To become certified as a wireless network administrator, you must meet certification requirements, which vary by organization. This field is predicted to grow by 8% from 2014-2024, so becoming certified may be a smart way to stand out to employers and expand employment prospects.