Career Definition for a PC Network Administrator
PC network administrators are part of a company's information technology (IT) staff responsible for maintaining and repairing personal computer local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network security and internet systems. PC network administrators might work alone in smaller businesses or as part of a large department of IT professionals in large corporations and government offices.
|Job Skills||Customer service, interpersonal communication, problem solving, technical skill|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$77,810 (all network and computer systems administrators)|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% (all network and computer systems administrators)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most PC network administrators have earned bachelor's degrees in information technology, computer science or related fields. The Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals offers optional certification for network administration as a method of demonstrating competency to employers. As a rapidly changing field, on-going education through seminars and training programs helps PC network administrators keep current with emerging technologies.
Administering network systems requires the ability to understand and solve complex systems and their problems. Supporting a variety of PC users of various skill levels requires strong interpersonal skills and the ability to explain technical information to an often non-technical audience. A successful network administrator has a focus on customer service.
Career and Economic Outlook
Job opportunities for network and computer systems administrators are expected to expand by 8% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The rise in mobile networks and an increased demand for electronic security will fuel the demand for competent PC network administration teams.
The BLS reported that network and computer systems administrators earned a median annual salary of $77,810 in May 2015. Maryland, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Virginia and California were the states with the top-paying PC network administration positions in 2014.
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If you want to become a network administrator, you might also consider some occupations with similar duties, including those of computer support specialists and database administrators.
Computer Support Specialist
Also dealing with networks, computer support specialists help administrators perform maintenance and tests on network systems and assist users with hardware and software issues, repairing equipment as needed. Depending on the company and type of work performed, an associate degree may be all that is required to enter the field. However, many employers prefer to hire those with a bachelor's degree in a related area of study. The BLS projected an increase of 88,000 new jobs for computer support specialists between 2014 and 2024. These professionals earned an annual median salary of $51,470 in 2015.
For those who want a career managing information databases, becoming a database administrator is a viable career option. These administrators analyze information and create a database, perform maintenance and testing, modify the structure when necessary and make sure all information is secure and accessible to the organization. A bachelor's degree in a related information technology or computer field is required for entry into this profession, and coursework in database languages is necessary. In May of 2015, the BLS stated that database administrators received a median salary of $81,710. It also expected a 11% increase in employment of administrators during the 2014-2024 decade.