Where do you want to work?
Most employers require network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. Others may require only a postsecondary certificate.Education
Although some employers require only a postsecondary certificate, most require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. There are degree programs that focus on computer network and system administration. However, because administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering usually is acceptable as well. Programs in these fields usually include classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.
Because network technology is continually changing, administrators need to keep up with the latest developments. Many continue to take courses throughout their careers and attend information technology (IT) conferences to keep up with the latest technology. Some businesses require that an administrator get a master’s degree.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Certification programs are generally offered directly from vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates knowledge and best practices required from network and computer systems administrators. Companies may require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the product they use. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.Other Experience
To gain practical experience, many network administrators participate in internship programs while in school.Advancement
Network administrators can advance to become computer network architects. They can also advance to managerial jobs in information technology (IT) departments, such as computer and information systems managers.Important Qualities
Analytical skills. Administrators need analytical skills to evaluate network and system performance and determine how changes in the environment will affect them.
Communication skills. Administrators must be able to describe problems and their solutions to non-IT workers.
Computer skills. Administrators oversee the connections of many different types of computer equipment and must ensure that they all work together properly.
Multitasking skills. Administrators may have to work on many problems and tasks at the same time.
Problem-solving skills. Administrators must be able to quickly resolve any problems that arise with computer networks.
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