What does a network administrator do?

Day-to-day, network administrators perform a variety of different tasks, depending on the operational status of the company’s infrastructure, and any areas of specialty. Some duties and tasks include proactive maintenance, troubleshooting, meeting with other business stakeholders and new hardware deployment. Project work often also involves liaising with external agencies to arrange the installation of new services - network administrators have an intimate knowledge of a company’s network infrastructure, and are usually the best person to deal with external technical service providers.

Tasks:

  • Design and install computer and telephone networks
  • Network issue troubleshooting and support
  • Security testing and system hardening
  • Maintain telephony and video-conferencing services
  • Configuring and deploying network hardware

What skills do I need to be a network administrator?

Network administrators frequently deal with both people and technology. In a technical support capacity, their IT problem solving skills are often instrumental to finding and fixing network problems and restoring network services to the business. They also rely upon their sound knowledge of IT systems and network security concepts in order to help businesses monitor and detect hackers or other network security breaches. Often, network administrators are required to communicate and work closely with network engineers to develop solutions that provide end-users with critical business capabilities, such as file sharing, email, internet access and messaging.

Skills/attributes
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Ability to work under time constraints
  • Communication of technical concepts to other technicians
  • Strong IT knowledge
  • Highly conscious of security

Specialisations

As with most IT roles, network administrators can specialise in a range of different areas. Each specialisation relies on a sound base knowledge of network technologies and basic IT concepts. Depending on the size of an organisation, some or all of these specialisations may be performed in-house or on a contract basis as required.

Network security

Network security experts work in fast-paced, real-time threat environments. The role focuses on preventing any breaches to the company’s private networks. Their work is crucial to keeping proprietary data secure from hackers and competitors by monitoring network traffic and continually testing network infrastructure to detect vulnerabilities and patch them before a breach can occur.

Messaging and Communications

Messaging and communications experts provide critical services such as email, instant messaging and file sharing to a company’s employees. They are often responsible for rolling out large-scale updates to these services, as well as providing end-user technical support when things don’t work as they should.

Telecommunications

Telecommunications specialists use their knowledge of electronic signals and infrastructure equipment to deploy and maintain the physical infrastructure used by companies that allows their employees to stay connected. Telecommunications covers a broad range of technologies including satellite, fibre optics and radio/wireless.

Study pathways for network administrators

The IT industry is vast and growing rapidly. Having a tertiary qualification will help get your foot in the door, however vendor certifications are often in high demand as they demonstrate practical skills and knowledge in a particular field.

Getting Started

Find courses that will build your technical skills whilst giving you exposure to technology and business environments.

Skill Building

Gain IT skills with courses that offer targeted training and hands-on experience.

Professional Development

Kickstart your career in network administration with vendor qualifications and industry recognised training.

Industry Recognition

A number of certifications from vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco and Novell have become the de-facto standard for gaining network administrator roles.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your information technology career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Computer networking jobs have been forecasted for very strong growth over the next several years, likely due to increased business adoption of network based cloud storage and services.