If you like working with both hardware and software, and enjoy managing others, becoming a network administrator is a great career choice.

CIOs in a Robert Half Technology survey said network administration was one of the top three skill sets in greatest demand.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of network administrators will increase through 2024, with demand for those working in computer systems design and related services projected to grow as much as 31 percent.

Why? Systems and networks are the backbone of any company. As companies grow, their networks get larger and more complex, which raises the demand for people to support them.

You can use the latest Salary Guide From Robert Half to find out what network administrator salaries are in your city.

Network administrator job description

Here are the essential qualifications for network administrators:

  • Solid technical skills and experience with a variety of network protocols, software and hardware involved in LAN and WAN operations.
  • Strong troubleshooting analytic and diagnostic skills, along with good communication abilities.
  • Often requires individuals to be on call 24/7 in case of network failures or emergencies.
  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems; some companies will accept candidates with five or more years of work experience, as well as IT certifications offered by Cisco, Microsoft and others.
  • Strong attention to detail and customer-service orientation, as well as the ability to work on a team.

A typical network administrator job description includes:

  • Administering the operation of LAN/WAN-related network services according to company policies and procedures
  • 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

Wanted: great communicator who’s calm under pressure

In addition to the skills listed above, the best network administrators have excellent written and verbal communication skills: They need the ability to clearly articulate issues to other team members, and they should also have the ability to multi-task and have a calm demeanor in high-stress environments.

While those looking to break into the field will need the technical and educational qualifications mentioned above, as well as relevant IT certifications, there are other options. Programs such as Year Up work to provide young adults with the training and experience they need to break into fields like this one.

In addition to information on a starting network administrator salary and job description, you’ll find salary variances by city for IT jobs in our Salary Guide.