Network Administrators: Designing the System

As businesses reliance on technology increases, demand will grow for IT professionals who can implement and maintain complex computer systems. Network Systems Administrators are responsible for the computer networks that are the nervous system of any modern organization.

While Computer User Support and Network Support Technicians take care of the system users, it is the Systems Administrator who designs, plans, implements, builds, configures, upgrades, and maintains the network. They are responsible for all technological systems an organization may use, including the configuration and maintenance of:

  • local area networks (LANs)
  • wide area networks (WANs)
  • security precautions
  • wireless networks
  • cloud networks
  • intranets
  • telecommunications
  • cellular devices such as tablets and smartphones
  • network segments
  • hardware
  • software

A thorough understanding of Microsoft and Cisco systems is essential; increasingly, experience with mobile and cloud technology is also in demand. You will also be responsible for the security, user access and permissions, upgrades, and staff training, so an understanding of IT security and data protection methods is vital for any Network Administrator role.

Depending on the organization you work for, you may need to handle and know how to protect sensitive data. In some instances, you may even require a background check because of the level of access you have to confidential information. This is especially the case if you work in the healthcare sector.

Some Systems Administrators manage a network for a single organization, while others offer their services to multiple businesses. In smaller organizations, you may work by yourself, or you may be a part of a dedicated team of IT professionals. Not only will you need to have good communication skills to deal with your workmates and non-computer users alike, but you will also be required to write and implement computer usage policies and procedures in clear, easy-to-follow language.  

What is the job outlook for network systems administrators?

Technology is here to stay. While automation and artificial intelligence are set to replace many jobs in the future, there will always be a need for people who can design and implement organizational computer systems. Growth in Systems Administrator positions is average, with 376,820 systems administrators currently employed in the U.S. This number is projected to grow by 8 percent to 412,800 by 2024, an increase of 30,200 positions.

Texas has just over 30,000 network systems administrators and almost a third of them are in Dallas-Plano-Irving area, which is the third biggest metropolitan employer of systems administrators in the country. There are 4.1 network administrators in Dallas for every 1000 jobs, while Texas as a whole only has 2.73.

Cloud computing is now an essential aspect of systems administration and small to medium enterprises (SME) will increasingly rely on these systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for cloud networks from SME that don’t have in-house IT departments will drive a 31 percent increase in demand for systems administrators within the computer systems design and services industry.

As with all information technology careers, the health sector is also expected to demand more systems administrators. As medical care becomes increasingly digitized, and large amounts of patient data is collected, network administrators will be required to not only implement large computer networks, but they will also need to address the significant security concerns that stem from the collection of confidential information.

While telecommunications companies and educational institutions also have high rates of employment for network administrators, banks, securities and commodes exchange, and mining are the top paying industries for people with these skills.

What certifications will I need to be a network systems administrator?

Payscale lists Cisco Networking, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Active Directory as skills that correlate with a higher pay rate in these positions. Systems administrators need a wide range of skills in their repertoire to solve the multitude of problems that can arise within complex computer networks. Most employers will require certification to demonstrate your knowledge of the technology and industry best practices. Certifications relevant to these positions include:

If you want to succeed as a network systems administrator and advance your career, you will need to stay up-to-date with industry innovation, including attending conferences and furthering your education.

Where can I find network systems administrator positions?

At the time of writing, Glassdoor had over 500 systems administrator positions advertised in the Dallas area, Indeed had over 100 jobs advertised, while Career Builder has 20 positions available in DFW.

Look out for the following job titles, or a mixture thereof, when searching for these positions on jobs boards.

  • Information Analyst
  • Information Systems Manager (IS Manager)
  • Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist)
  • Local Area Network Administrator (LAN Administrator)
  • Network Administrator
  • Network Coordinator
  • Network Manager
  • Network Specialist
  • Systems Administrator

CCI Training Center can prepare you for a career as a Network Systems Administrator. Visit the IT program page and fill in the form to get all your questions answered.