Computer network systems play a crucial role in business operations. In addition to helping protect sensitive data such as proprietary information, trade secrets, and employees’ and customers’ personal information, computer network systems help prevent unauthorized access attempts and allow staff to communicate safely and securely.
Students aiming to apply their technical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills toward helping organizations maintain their computer networks may be drawn to a career as a network and computer systems administrator. Completing a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Maryville University, can provide graduates with the skills they’ll need to succeed.
What does a network and computer systems administrator do?
Network and computer systems administrators oversee and maintain the daily operations of an organization’s computer networks. They determine hardware and software needs, make upgrades, and maintain the network’s security. Additionally, professionals in this field monitor network performance, identify and repair network problems and errors, and train staff on how to use various computer systems.
Although the exact day-to-day duties of a network and computer systems administrator vary based on the organization they work for, other common job duties may include the following:
- Maintaining IT operations such as applications, email systems, hardware, software, and network security tools
- Optimizing and maintaining network security protocols, such as secure socket layer (SSL), secure file transfer protocol (SFTP), and virtual private networks (VPNs), to ensure data is protected
- Spotting inefficiencies in an organization’s computer network and making recommendations to address weaknesses
- Performing routine network audits
- Troubleshooting issues with an organization’s local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and other network segments
- Training staff in using software and hardware
- Collaborating with network architects to build and maintain servers and optimize network performance
- Participating in hardware and software purchasing decisions
- Planning and executing hardware and software upgrades
Work settings for network and computer systems administrators
Most professionals who choose this career path work full time in office settings, although some organizations allow their network and computer systems administrators to work remotely. Furthermore, although traditional 9-to-5 schedules are common, some in this field may need to work nights and weekends to ensure that systems are fully operational during business and non-business hours.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many network and computer systems administrators work at computer system design firms. However, professionals may find employment wherever computer networks drive daily operations, which now means virtually everywhere: hospitals, financial firms, educational institutions, military outposts, and government offices, for example.
The crucial nature of digital communication across industries emphasizes the role’s importance and how essential computer networks have become to the professional landscape.
Essential skills of a network and computer systems administrator
Aspiring network and computer systems administrators should consider developing a variety of competencies, such as strong technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Soft skills, such as communication and multitasking capabilities, are also key to success in the field.
Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in computer science program includes courses such as Introduction to Programming, Project Management, and Networks and Security, which have been designed to help students refine these essential skills and prepare them for a successful career.
Network and computer systems administrators oversee an organization’s network and the devices connected to it, such as computers, cell phones, and handheld devices. Strong technical skills ensure that connected devices work together properly.
Professionals who choose this career path need to understand how to identify a network’s problems and determine effective solutions. They should also be able to anticipate new requirements as an organization’s needs change.
Individuals in this field should understand how to quickly resolve an organization’s network problems, such as DNS issues, computer viruses, slow performance, and IP address exhaustion.
Network and computer systems administrators need to be able to explain technical concepts to non-technical management and staff. Consequently, strong communication skills help professionals relay information about network problems and their solutions in easy-to-understand language.
Students interested in this field should know that systems administrators must often balance multiple tasks and projects at the same time. The ability to multitask is key to a successful career.
Salary and job outlook for network and computer systems administrators
The BLS projects the employment of network and computer administrators to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, on pace with the job market as a whole. Demand for IT administrators is driven by corporate technology investments and increasing healthcare IT use. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer science are likely to have the best job prospects.
As of May 2019, the median annual salary for professionals in the field was $83,510, according to the BLS, with the top 10% of earners reporting an annual income of more than $132,520 while the bottom 10% earned less than $52,370. Salary ranges can vary based on a variety of factors, such as an individual’s experience level, whether they’ve completed an advanced education, the industry they work in, and where the position is located.
Maintaining the pulse of business
Students interested in becoming a network and computer systems administrator should start by developing strong technical and analytical skills. Maryville’s online bachelor’s in computer science is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge in a variety of computer science topics, such as Java programming, operating systems, and cybersecurity principles. As a result, graduates are equipped to pursue careers in the field.
Are you ready to take the first brave step toward a career as a computer systems administrator? Discover how Maryville’s online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science can prepare you for the job you want.