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Before specializing your IT degree to become a network administrator, you’ll want to check the job forecast to ensure a good employment outlook.

Network administration is a high-tech industry concerned with coordinating the optimal functioning of organizations’ computers and software platforms for high-speed employee access. Behind every smooth-functioning computer network is an administrator who tweaks the LANs, WANs, Intranets, and Ethernets for their telecommunications. Network administrators hold important responsibilities, such as installing new hardware, repairing system errors, updating software, collecting system analysis data, setting up security protocols, and adding new user access.

Like many tech fields, network administration is experiencing a hiring spree for faster-than-average job growth in several sectors.

Job Prospects in Network Administration

Virtually every business uses Macs, PCs, and mobile devices like iPads to efficiently manage their affairs significantly better than traditional paper methods. Fast-paced digital advancements make organizations continually invest in new technology for network administrators to install. A growing demand for cloud computing, especially in small businesses, means that administrators also coordinate mobile networks now. Federal regulations requiring the adoption of electronic health records is also driving more hires in clinical settings than ever before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of network administrators will grow by 8 percent. CareerOneStop estimates that this IT specialty will see 7,940 U.S. openings annually through 2024.

Where Network Administrators Find Jobs

The United States’ network administration workforce will blossom from 382,600 to 412,800 skilled IT specialists before the decade closes. The majority (16 percent) of network administrators work for computer systems design firms. According to Forbes, the tech companies hiring the most are Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Apple, Oracle, Dell, and Cisco. Another large percentage is employed by wired telecommunications carriers like Verizon and Spectrum. Network administrators can work anywhere with multiple computers though, including K-12 schools, college campuses, banks, oil companies, insurance carriers, data processing labs, and healthcare facilities. The states with the highest employment level of network administrators are California, Texas, New York, Virginia, and Florida.

Steps to Get Hired as a Network Administrator

Securing interviews for network administration jobs typically requires finishing at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited senior college. Aspiring network administrators usually major in computer science, information technology, or computer/electrical engineering. Make sure your schedule includes courses like IT systems design, network administration, programming, and data algorithms. Participating in an internship or co-op will broaden your future job prospects. Twelve percent of network administrators return to graduate school for programs like a Master of Computer Networking, but that’s wholly optional. Professional credentials can also add dazzle to your resume. For example, Cisco offers CCNP certification exams for Wireless, Cloud, Data Center, Routing and Switching, and Security.

Related reading: Top 10 Cheap Online Network Administration Degree Programs (Bachelor’s)

Network administration could be a great career for tech-savvy students who have sharp analytical, problem-solving, multitasking, and organizational skills. Keeping companies’ Internet servers, desktops, and mobile equipment running properly is a necessary job to ensure corporate productivity remains high. One Glassdoor survey found that computer coding is the #1 most important job skill of the future according to employers. Not only is the employment outlook splendid, but the salary potential is also high with a mean annual wage of $84,500, or $40.63 per hour. Similar job titles to network administrator that are also in-demand include IT project manager, computer network architect, computer systems analyst, database administrator, and cybersecurity analyst.

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