Network administrator: job description

Network administrator: job description

Network administrators connect different devices together to form fast and efficient networks.
Network size ranges from local area networks (LANs) linking a few PCs through a server in a small office, to wide area networks (WANs) connecting hundreds of workstations across several sites.

What does a network administrator do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Network administrators are responsible for maintaining computer networks and solving any problems that may occur with them.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • installing and configuring computer networks and systems
  • identifying and solving any problems that arise with computer networks and systems
  • consulting with clients to specify system requirements and design solutions
  • budgeting for equipment and assembly costs
  • assembling new systems
  • maintaining existing software and hardware and upgrading any that have become obsolete
  • monitoring computer networks and systems to identify how performance can be improved
  • working with IT support personnel
  • providing network administration and support

Typical employers of network administrators

Since almost all industries are now heavily computer-dependent, network administrators are needed in most companies, including:

  • software developers
  • the government
  • the finance industry
  • manufacturers
  • retailers
  • utilities companies
  • schools
  • universities
  • hospitals
  • publishers

You can look for vacancies in specialist publications such as TARGETjobs IT & Technology. Vacancies are also advertised online and by careers services and specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this career for both graduates and school leavers.

It's occasionally possible to enter this profession with a degree in any subject. However, many employers favour relevant subjects such as computer science, software engineering and electronic engineering. Once in employment, candidates are often expected to study for further professional qualifications.

Network administrators need to understand how to connect devices to form a fast and efficient network. Therefore it helps if graduates have experience of running networks on specific network operating systems, perhaps in a school, a university or in a company's IT department. You can also apply for industrial placements and summer internships.

For school leavers, taking a short course in networking or network design (such as those run by Cisco) can be helpful but may not be a requirement of all school leaver employers. To find out more about getting into IT and technology via a school leaver route, visit the IT and technology section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Network administrators will need to understand how to connect devices to form a fast and efficient network.

Key skills for network administrators

  • Patience
  • IT and technical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Teamworking skills
  • Initiative
  • Attention to detail