Network and computer systems administrators held about 366,400 jobs in 2012. They work with the physical computer networks of a variety of organizations and therefore are employed in many industries.
The industries that employed the most network and computer systems administrators in 2012 were as follows:
|Computer systems design and related services||16%|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||11|
|Finance and insurance||9|
Network and computer systems administrators work with many types of workers, including computer network architects and computer and information systems managers as well as non information technology (IT) staff.
In 2012, most network and computer systems administrators worked full time. Most organizations depend on their computer networks, so many administrators must work overtime to ensure that the networks are operating properly. About a quarter of these administrators worked over 40 hours per week in 2012.
Although some employers require just a postsecondary certificate, most require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science.
Although some employers require just a postsecondary certificate, most require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. However, because administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering usually is acceptable as well. Such a degree usually entails classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.
Because network technology is continually changing, administrators need to keep up with the latest developments. Many continue to take courses throughout their careers. Some businesses require that an administrator get a master’s degree.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Certification is a way to show a level of competence and may provide a jobseeker with a competitive advantage. Certification programs generally are offered by product vendors or software firms. Companies may require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the product they use. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.
To gain practical experience, many network administrators participate in an internship while in school.
Network administrators can advance to become computer network architects. They can also advance to managerial jobs in information technology (IT) departments such as computer and information systems managers.
Network and computer systems administrators typically have an interest in the Building, Thinking and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.
If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Thinking or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a network and computer systems administrator, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Network and computer systems administrators should also possess the following specific qualities:
Analytical skills. Administrators need analytical skills to evaluate network and system performance and determine how changes in the environment will affect it.
Communication skills. Administrators must be able to describe problems and their solutions to non-IT workers.
Computer skills. Administrators oversee the connections of many different types of computer equipment and must ensure that they all work together properly.
Multitasking skills. Administrators may have to work on many problems and tasks at the same time.
Problem-solving skills. Administrators must be able to quickly resolve any problems that arise with computer networks.
The median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators was $72,560 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,330, and the top 10 percent earned more than $115,180.
Network and computer systems administrators are employed in many different industries, and pay varies by industry. In May 2012, the median annual wages for network and computer systems administrators in the top five industries in which these administrators worked were as follows:
|Finance and insurance||$77,370|
|Computer systems design and related services||76,090|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||61,830|
In 2012, most network and computer systems administrators worked full time. Most organizations depend on their computer networks, so many administrators work overtime to ensure that the networks are operating properly. About a quarter of these administrators worked over 40 hours per week in 2012.
Employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for information technology workers is high and should continue to grow as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks. However, an increase in cloud computing could raise the productivity of network administrators, slowing their growth across many industries. Growth will be highest at industries that provide cloud-computing technology. Employment of network administrators in the computer systems design and related services industry is projected to grow 35 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Growth is also expected in healthcare industries as their use of information technology increases. More administrators will be required to manage the growing systems and networks found at hospitals and other healthcare institutions.
Job opportunities should be favorable for this occupation. Prospects should be best for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and who are up to date on the latest technology, especially cloud computing.
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