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Working As a Network Operator

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $76,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Network Operator Do

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Duties

Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:

  • Determine an organization’s network and computer system needs before setting one up
  • Install all network hardware and software and make needed upgrades and repairs
  • Maintain network and computer system security and ensure that all systems are operating correctly
  • Collect data in order to evaluate and optimize network or system performance
  • Add users to a network and assign and update security permissions on the network
  • Train users in the proper use of hardware and software
  • Interpret and solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system alerts them that one exists

Administrators manage an organization’s servers and desktop and mobile equipment. They ensure that email and data storage networks work properly. They also make sure that employees’ workstations are working efficiently and stay connected to the central computer network. Some administrators manage telecommunication networks.

In some cases, administrators help network architects design and analyze network models. They also participate in decisions about buying future hardware or software to upgrade their organization’s network. Some administrators provide technical support to computer users, and they also may supervise computer support specialists who help solve users’ problems.

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How To Become A Network Operator

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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Network Operator Career Paths

Network Operator
Network Technician Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Senior Network Engineer Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Consultant Senior Project Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Analyst Information Systems Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Analyst Systems Manager
Senior Manager-Systems
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Technical Team Lead Senior System Administrator
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Team Manager Technical Support Manager
Data Center Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Field Service Technician Senior Technologist
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Service Desk Analyst Service Desk Supervisor
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Senior System Administrator Infrastructure Manager
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Information Security Officer
Director Of Information Technology Security
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Senior System Administrator Infrastructure Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Network Technician 3.2 years
Network Operator 3.0 years
NOC Operator 2.1 years
Network Assistant 2.0 years
Network Internship 0.6 years
Top Careers Before Network Operator
Internship 5.1%
Technician 4.9%
Operator 3.0%
Top Careers After Network Operator
Manager 4.3%
Technician 3.5%
Consultant 3.3%

Do you work as a Network Operator?

Average Yearly Salary
$76,000
Show Salaries
$53,000
Min 10%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$111,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
CenturyLink
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Network Operator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Network Operator in the United States is $76,956 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $53,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $111,000.

Real Network Operator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Network Operations Senior Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co. Reston, VA Dec 09, 2016 $115,086 -
$127,000
Harris Stratex Networks Operating Corporation Harris Stratex Networks Operating Corporation Morrisville, NC Sep 30, 2009 $92,934 -
$94,392
Network Operator Senior Barclays Bank Delaware Wilmington, DE Mar 16, 2015 $75,000 -
$95,000
Network & Storage Operations Specilaist Universal Information Solutions Atlanta, GA Dec 01, 2012 $75,000
Network Operator ICAP Services North America LLC Jersey City, NJ Jul 25, 2011 $72,800
Senior Network Operator Valero Energy Corporation San Antonio, TX Aug 22, 2011 $64,000
Telecommunications Network Operations Center Operator Globalstar, Inc. Covington, LA Aug 29, 2016 $50,003
Telecommunications Network Operations Center Operator Globalstar, Inc. Covington, LA Aug 24, 2016 $50,003
Telecommunications Network Operations Center Operator Globalstar Inc. Covington, LA Nov 17, 2016 $50,003

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Top Skills for A Network Operator

  1. Customer Service
  2. Routers
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Represented company in Business Weekly magazine in an article about online customer service and satisfaction.
  • Hired initially as a customer support representative to provide first level product support for Motorola/Vanguard routers and modems.
  • Installed and maintained network printers, laptops, IP phones, and other devices.
  • Second level escalation support for junior NOC staff and assist in trouble shooting efforts.
  • Assisted hotel IT department and hotel Guests with all TCP/IP connectivity issues and configurations.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Network Operators

  1. Maryland
  2. California
  3. Nevada
  4. District of Columbia
  5. New York
  6. Texas
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Virginia
  9. New Jersey
  10. Connecticut
  • (707 jobs)
  • (1,857 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (225 jobs)
  • (641 jobs)
  • (1,234 jobs)
  • (48 jobs)
  • (1,310 jobs)
  • (361 jobs)
  • (132 jobs)

Network Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

75.1%

Female

16.2%

Unknown

8.7%
Ethnicity

White

58.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

9.2%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.1%

Carrier

8.9%

Chinese

6.7%

French

6.7%

Mandarin

6.7%

Portuguese

4.4%

Korean

4.4%

Cheyenne

4.4%

German

2.2%

Armenian

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%
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Network Operator Education

Schools

University of Maryland - University College

13.5%

University of Phoenix

12.3%

Strayer University

7.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

7.7%

American InterContinental University

5.2%

Community College of the Air Force

4.5%

DePaul University

4.5%

ECPI University

3.9%

University of Southern California

3.9%

California State University - Northridge

3.9%

More Tech Institute

3.9%

National University

3.2%

Webster University

3.2%

Texas State University

3.2%

University of Utah

3.2%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.2%

Austin Community College

3.2%

Central Texas College

3.2%

Western Governors University

3.2%

Saint Leo University

3.2%
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Majors

Business

14.3%

Computer Information Systems

13.1%

Computer Science

12.8%

Information Technology

10.8%

Computer Networking

9.2%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Communication

4.9%

Criminal Justice

4.3%

Management

3.6%

Computer Engineering

2.8%

Information Systems

2.6%

Computer Systems Security

2.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Accounting

1.8%

General Studies

1.5%

Psychology

1.5%

Finance

1.5%

Computer Technical Support

1.4%

Project Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.8%

Other

23.5%

Associate

17.5%

Masters

12.0%

Certificate

5.5%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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Internship
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Top Network Operator Employers

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Updated May 19, 2020