Network System Administrator
These are the guys who are worth their weight in gold in today’s tech driven world. Not only do they keep the company operating and safe in a multitude of ways, but they are the first person almost everyone from secretaries to engineers to management and CEOs turn to when there is a computer or network problem. A network system engineer is responsible for maintaining the essential life-blood tools of today’s businesses operating and producing. When the boss’s computer has a corrupted operating system, an application server is down, a database server has lost data, a virus is propagating the network, a router or bridge down, or no internet in the entire office, the network administrator becomes the emergency room physician.
These individuals typical have a passionate curiosity for computers and technology. Keeping up with the latest advances in the ever-changing world of computer science is a mantra for these keepers of technology. These are typically highly logical, consistent and dependable individuals given to a greater purpose in life of maintaining mission critical systems for nothing less than the existence of the mother company. It is imperative for these bastions of technology to be responsible and willing to go the extra mile in often tense and pressure-filled situations.
A system administrator’s duties can range from small in scope to extremely diverse and onerous working within a large group of administrators at various hierarchical levels. Many times, companies require system administrators to be on call and available at all hours to assist in maintaining company workflow and effectiveness. The system administrator’s job can be significantly different as per the industry they work in and the .
Typical Job Duties
- Installs network and computer systems including wiring of mainframes, server racks, distributed LAN circuits throughout an office, educational institution or industrial facility.
- Installs, maintains, repairs and upgrades computer systems including the hardware and software of individual desktop and laptop computers.
- Installs, maintains, repairs and upgrades the server network and its hardware, software and systems including routers and switches.
- Installs, maintains, repairs and upgrades digital and VOIP telephone systems. These may be network integrated or standalone systems.
- Installs, maintains, repairs and upgrades backup power and UPS systems for servers, routers and switches.
- Maintains regular system backups for data recovery purposes and restores critical data as needed to ensure a company’s ongoing data retention.
- Monitors security intrusion detection systems for hacking attempts. Implement new security firewalls, appliances and anti-virus software as needed.
- Maintains the updates and security patches of all computer and server systems.
- Performs regular monitoring of network utilizing specialized network monitoring applications and appliances to improve performance, stability and security.
- Regulate employee and other users access to sensitive or restricted files using group and user permissions to protect against internal and external security breaches.
- Maintains a cordial and friendly relationship with a wide variety of company employees in a time of crisis when important mission critical systems fail.
- In many instances, network admins need to work with a team of network administrators to accomplish the goals and needs of larger companies.
Many diverse job duties exist in various sectors for network administrators. Network admins may work for a small local dental office, a large internet service provider or a multinational pharmaceutical company. The scope of companies requiring resident network administrators can be from a 10-person office requiring general computer and server hardware, software installation and maintenance or as a team for a large distributed corporation with offices in numerous cities and even foreign countries. Network engineering and administrative jobs are prolific at major telephone and cable and ISP companies throughout the nation. Smaller companies that can’t afford to maintain a full-time IT staff generally rely on private local computer and networking firms for their tech services.
Some entrepreneurial individuals find sanctuary and the freedom owning a private consultation and network company of their own. Sometimes this can bring additional consternation as they may be on call to numerous companies that expect their company to be prioritized. Typically, owners of private networking companies must first develop real-world knowledge and understanding of the numerous aspects of network systems by working within a group of administrators at a large company before forging their way on their own.
Some of the titles in this job category include: Network Support, Network Manager, Network Engineer, Network Designer, Network Security Administrator, Network Maintenance Specialist, Network Architect, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco CCIE Network Engineer.
Education and Skills
Educational requirements for network administrator jobs have become rather unique as they don’t always require a full 4-year degree from a institute of higher learning. Some very fine system administrators develop their skills through hands-on learning with hardware and through online tutorials and courses. Many become certified system administrators by attending courses by Cisco or Microsoft. They also gain training by attending certificate courses for specific IT equipment such as high-end routers and switches from these same companies. There are numerous other specialty online institutes such as Devry, The University of Phoenix, Kaplan and Capella to name a few that have excellent system administration and engineering courses. Traditional bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science are still required for some large corporations but becoming less of a prerequisite if the individual has significant job history and/or certifications. One or two-year certificate programs at Community colleges throughout the nation offer classes in computer information systems (CIS). These include network administration and various aspects of computer hardware and software that provide an excellent starting point and working knowledge of computer systems and networking dynamics.