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PC Network Administrator: Job Outlook & Career Requirements

Discover the job responsibilities of a PC network administrator. Learn about education and skills necessary, in addition to employment outlook and salary potential, to determine if this is the right career.

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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.

Education Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Customer service, interpersonal communication, problem solving, technical skill
Median Salary (2018)* $82,050 (all network and computer systems administrators)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 6% (all network and computer systems administrators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

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.

Skills Required

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 6% from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The rise in mobile networks and 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 $82,050 in May 2018. Maryland, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, California and New York were the states with the top-paying PC network administration positions in 2018.

Alternative Careers

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 88,500 new jobs for computer support specialists between 2016 and 2026. Computer user support specialists earned an annual median salary of $50,980 in 2018.

Database Administrator

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 2018, the BLS stated that database administrators received a median salary of $90,070. It also expected an 11% increase in the employment of administrators during the 2016-2026 decade.

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