System and Network Administrator as a Career Path

Network and computer systems administrators work with the physical computer networks of a variety of organizations and therefore are employed in many industries.

Most employers require network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. Others may require only a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree.

Employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 24,900 openings for network and computer systems administrators are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for network and computer systems administrators.

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of network and computer systems administrators with similar occupations.

Learn more about network and computer systems administrators by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Network Administrator Vs System Administrator

What does a system and network administrator do?

System and network administrators are responsible for maintaining the computer systems and networks of their organization. System and network administrators are very important behind the scenes to ensure everything IT-related runs the way it should and does not cause any interruptions to the workday. As these two roles can be separated, depending on the company you work for, we have listed the two job roles separately to break down what each position would be responsible for on a daily basis.

System administrators are directly responsible for maintaining any hardware or software for the computers of an organization. Every computer system needs regular updates to run smoothly. The system administrator is responsible for upgrading the system, maintaining security, and installing any needed hardware or software to their companys computers. A system administrator is also responsible for adding security permissions and granting access to the correct staff within the organization. They are the go-to person when staff is having technical problems and in some organizations may serve as the IT help desk.

Network administrators are directly responsible for maintaining the networks their organizations computers are connected to. Companies and organizations have local area networks (LANs), wide-area networks (WANs), and servers to conduct everyday business. If issues arise with these networks, the administrator troubleshoots the systems to resolve the issue. When it comes time to upgrade or purchase new equipment network administrators may also be responsible for overseeing and providing advisement on the purchases.

What is a system and network administrator?

If you are looking for a career path in IT becoming a system and network administrator may be a good option for you. A system administrator works with the computers internal hardware and software, while a network administrator works with maintaining the network of a group of computers that are connected. Both of these positions have similar job duties and required educations.

Many times these positions are combined to be completed by one person or a group of people. This will oftentimes depend on the size of the company. Smaller organizations may hire one person to perform all of the IT-related duties. When there is a smaller network of computers or not a large staff, only one administrator will be able to handle the amount of work. For large-scale operations, the need for administrators greatly differs as there may be multiple networks and hundreds of staff with computers.

How to become a system and network administrator

1. Obtain a bachelors degree

The majority of companies and organizations require a bachelors degree for the position of a system and network administrator, most commonly in computer or information science. Having a background knowledge or course work related to programming, computer engineering, or electrical engineering is also helpful for this field.

2. Obtain the necessary vendor certifications

Certifications may be required for system and network administrators depending on the specific products they are using. It is common if an administrator is working with vendors such as Microsoft or Cisco they will be required to be certified by the vendor to ensure they have the proper knowledge when it comes to repairing the vendors products. These certifications will be offered by the vendors and a candidate may be required by the employer to become certified after being hired.

3. Consider non-vendor certifications

There are certifications that are not vendor-specific like the CompTIA A+ certificate which provides valuable skills an administrator will need but does not tie the administrator to one vendor. The CompTIA Network+ certificate is a certificate that is specifically designed for network administrators and the CompTIA certificate is specifically designed for system administrators. Adding any of these certificates to your resume will show employers you are taking the career path seriously and may put you ahead of other applicants.

4. Continue your education

As technology is ever-changing, some employers may require administrators to continue with their education throughout their careers to stay up to date. This could include taking additional educational courses, maintaining their certifications, and completing required training throughout the year. Continuing your education to obtain a masters degree could also be a benefit to open up additional promotional opportunities such as in IT management and overseeing the IT team.

Systems network administrator skills

The daily responsibilities for system and network administrators will revolve around troubleshooting IT-related issues. If any issues arise regarding computers or the network organizations will be looking towards the administrators to resolve the issue timely. The following skills will be required to ensure you will be successful in this career path.


What does a network systems administrator do?

Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following: Determine an organization’s system needs and install network hardware and software. Make needed upgrades and repairs to networks and ensure that systems are operating correctly. Maintain network and computer system security.

What is system administrator and network administrator?

System and network administrators manage an organization’s technical infrastructure. Job activities include everything from designing and implementing network schemas to managing digital licenses and hardware assets.

How much does a network administrator make?

The average salary for a network administrator is $71,708 per year in the United States. 2.8k salaries reported, updated at July 21, 2022.

Is a network administrator good career?

High Salaries and Opportunities for Advancement

Systems and Network Administrators are very well-compensated for their skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a Network or Systems Administrator is around $84,810 per year or $40.77 per hour.

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