A network administrator is an information technology expert who is responsible for managing, overseeing, and maintaining an organization’s computer network up-to-date and ensuring it is running smoothly. Any organization or a company that uses multiple computer systems or software platforms needs a network administrator to coordinate and connect different computer systems and monitor the communication systems to ensure the information is flowing properly within the organization.
Administrators focus mainly on the network components in their client’s premises or within their organization. They may, at times, have to design and deploy new networks.
In smaller organizations, network administrators take care of maintaining PCs/laptops, routers, switches, printers, tablets, and smartphones, among others. They monitor the network, update hardware and software, test network for glitches, assess network management software and install and deploy security procedures.
Network administrators need to have sound technical knowledge. They should have ability to work well in a team and must possess good problem-solving skills.
Network administrators must be flexible and be abreast of the latest networking and software programs.
In addition to administering the operation of LAN/WAN-related network services, network administrators have to do the following tasks
- Coordinating and implementing network software and hardware upgrades
- Troubleshooting and resolving LAN/WAN performance, connectivity and related network problems
- Administering LAN/WAN security, antivirus and spam control measures
- Providing technical oversight of a multi-site enterprise level WAN, including planning, expansion/implementation, maintenance, and troubleshooting
They have configured and maintain computer networks, manage network security tools, such as an anti-virus, intrusion detection systems, firewall, adware, malware, etc., identify, fix, and document network performance issues, install and support telephones, VoIP, and other telecommunication devices that are networked, enhance the network for peak speeds and accessibility, implement, configure, and upgrade network software, including diagnostics programs, deploy and maintain emergency backup and retrieve quickly systems for vital network servers, and regulate user access to classified information to prevent internal security violations.
Administrators follow the ITIL process, including change management. They are responsible for creating and maintaining the standard operating procedures (SOPs) documents for all the assignments. It is the administrator’s job to interface with vendors and team members to troubleshoot hardware and software issues.
Administrators support in the maintenance of the inventory list of hardware. They have to comply with the policies and procedures of their organization and establish the best practices for IT service support.
Finally, it is their responsibility to ensure the network security of their organization.
Other requirements for a freelance network administrator
- Solid technical skills and experience with software and hardware involved in operations of local area networks, (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) and a variety of network protocols.
- Strong troubleshooting diagnostic and analytical skills along with good communication skills.
- Often requires individuals to be on call 24/7 in case of emergencies or network failures.
- Strong attention to detail and customer-service orientation, as well as the ability to work in a team.
Educational Qualifications and Other Certifications
While you may have the ability to get a job with only an associate degree, employers prefer to hire job applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, system administration or computer networking. You may also be able to get a job in this field if you have a degree in computer or electrical engineering.
Network administrators often have certifications from software vendors such as Cisco (CCNA or CCNP), Juniper, Microsoft (MCSA or MCSE), or CompTIA (A+, Network+), etc. This will demonstrate to employers that you have experience working in a particular product. To get certified you will typically have to pass an examination. You can prepare for it by using study materials available from the vendor and participating in training they have approved. Network administrators must be willing to keep up with new technologies in this continuously changing field, even getting additional certifications as necessary.
They should be well-versed in scripting languages, such as BASH, Python or Perl.
Job opportunities network and computer systems administrators are expected to grow six percent during the period 2016-2026, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their demand will continue to increase, as businesses invest in buying new technology and mobile networks.
With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), networking technology, as we know it, is going to change beyond recognition. In fact, SD-WAN will circumvent much of the hardware to provide services and connectivity via the cloud.
According to payscale.com, a network administrator earns an average of $57,546 per year in the United States. Meanwhile, freelancers earn up to $21.90 per hour. For the first one to five years, salary increases steadily.
Freelance Opportunities with Field Engineer
There’s a huge demand for freelance network administrators, regardless of whether they are hired at a large organization or working for a smaller organization that can’t afford a full-fledged IT department. Freelancing is ideal for those who need a highly flexible schedule.
Some specialists who are into telecom sector had begun providing a great opportunity to work as freelancers when they launched the FieldEngineer.com platform An On-Demand Freelance Marketplace, it helps you connect with businesses who are looking for the right fit. More than 40,000 engineers belonging to various fields in more than 180 countries have registered themselves on this highly reliable marketplace, allowing businesses to shop here for talented personnel.