Network Administrator Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Network Administrator Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $90,520 Hourly Rate: $43.52

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Network Administrators in 2023

Best College Majors for Network Administrators in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Network Administrator:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening

Network Administrator Career Path Overview

A Network Administrator's role is indispensable in today's digital era, where almost all businesses rely on networks for their daily operations. This career path encompasses the design, implementation, and maintenance of both hardware and software necessary for a network system. Let's delve deeper into the Network Administrator career path.

Education and Training

Most Network Administrators typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. During their degree program, students often gain a broad understanding of computer systems, including network infrastructure and design, data management, and cybersecurity. In addition to formal education, practical experience is highly valued in this field. Many aspiring Network Administrators gain this experience through internships or entry-level positions.


Professional certifications play a significant role in a Network Administrator's career path. They not only validate an individual's skills but also make them more competitive in the job market. Some sought-after certifications include Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), CompTIA Network+, and Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate.

Skills Required

Network Administrators need a diverse set of technical and soft skills. On the technical side, they must be proficient in network architecture, system security, data backup/recovery, and cloud computing. Soft skills like problem-solving, communication, and time management are equally important for managing multiple tasks and coordinating with different teams.

Job Roles and Responsibilities

Network Administrators are primarily responsible for maintaining computer networks, ensuring their smooth operation. They troubleshoot network issues, perform regular system upgrades, manage server environments, and implement security measures to protect sensitive data.

Advancement Opportunities

With experience and continued education, Network Administrators can advance to higher roles such as Network Architects or IT Project Managers. They can also specialize in a specific area, like cybersecurity or cloud computing, leading to roles such as Security Manager or Cloud Solutions Architect.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for Network Administrators is expected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029. The median annual wage for Network Administrators was $84,810 in May 2020, with the highest earners making over $130,000 per year. In conclusion, a career as a Network Administrator offers promising opportunities for those with a passion for technology and problem-solving skills. With the right education, certifications, and dedication, one can have a rewarding career in this field.

Network Administrator Career Path Education and Training

Aspiring to a Network Administrator career path requires a robust educational foundation and extensive training. These are critical for gaining the necessary skills to effectively manage, troubleshoot, and secure an organization's computer networks.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in fields related to computer science, information technology, or computer engineering is typically the minimum educational requirement for network administrators. These programs often cover areas such as computer programming, database design, software engineering, and network architecture. There are also associate degree programs in network administration that provide foundational knowledge of computer systems and networks. While these can be a stepping stone into the field, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree or higher. In addition to formal education, certifications are highly valued in this field. These provide proof of specialized skills and knowledge in certain areas of network administration. Popular certifications include CompTIA Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, and Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA).

Training and Experience

Practical training is equally as important as theoretical knowledge in the field of network administration. Many educational programs offer internships or cooperative programs to give students hands-on experience with real-world networking challenges. Entry-level positions such as help desk technician or network support specialist can provide valuable experience for those starting out in this career path. These roles often involve troubleshooting network issues, assisting users with technical problems, and maintaining network security. As network administrators gain experience, they may advance to roles such as senior network administrator, IT manager, or network architect. These positions often require several years of experience and may also require additional certifications.

Continuing Education

The field of network administration is constantly evolving with technological advancements. Therefore, continuing education is crucial for staying up-to-date with the latest developments in network technologies and security practices. Many network administrators choose to further their knowledge by pursuing advanced degrees such as a Master's in Network Administration or a Master's in Cybersecurity. Additionally, regular participation in professional development courses, workshops, and webinars is highly recommended. To summarize, a career path in network administration requires a mix of formal education, practical training, certifications, and continuous learning. By following this path, individuals can ensure they are well-equipped to handle the demands of this dynamic field.

Network Administrator Career Path Progression

As an integral part of any organization's IT team, Network Administrators play a critical role in ensuring the smooth operation of computer networks. This rewarding and challenging career offers numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. This article explores the potential career progression for Network Administrators, offering a roadmap for those interested in this dynamic field.

Entry-Level Position: Junior Network Administrator

The journey into a Network Administrator career typically begins with an entry-level role as a Junior Network Administrator. In this role, individuals gain foundational knowledge and experience in managing, installing, and supporting network systems under the guidance of more experienced professionals. As Junior Network Administrators, they also learn about network configuration, network security, and troubleshooting.

Mid-Level Position: Network Administrator

After gaining experience and honing their skills, Junior Network Administrators often progress to the role of a Network Administrator. This mid-level position involves greater responsibility, including overseeing an organization's entire network system. Network Administrators ensure that the systems are functioning properly, manage server environments, maintain hardware and software, implement network security measures, and troubleshoot any network issues that arise.

Advanced Position: Senior Network Administrator

For those who excel as Network Administrators, the next step in their career progression may be a Senior Network Administrator role. These seasoned professionals take on leadership responsibilities within the IT team, guiding strategy for network infrastructure, planning for future network needs, and resolving complex network problems. They also often mentor junior team members, sharing their expertise and knowledge.

Leadership Role: IT Manager or Network Architect

Beyond the Senior Network Administrator role, individuals may aspire to move into leadership roles such as IT Manager or Network Architect. As an IT Manager, one oversees all aspects of an organization's IT department, while a Network Architect is responsible for designing and building data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets.

Continuing Education and Certifications

Throughout their career progression, Network Administrators can enhance their skills and increase their marketability through continuing education and certifications. Certifications such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, or CompTIA Network+ can provide a significant edge in the job market. In conclusion, the career path for Network Administrators is one of continuous growth and advancement. With each step along the path, these professionals gain new skills, take on greater responsibilities, and have opportunities to make significant impacts within their organizations. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance in your current role, understanding this career progression can help guide your journey in the dynamic field of network administration.

Network Administrator Career Path Specializations and Subfields

In the ever-evolving world of IT, the role of a Network Administrator has many specializations and subfields. These subfields offer professionals the opportunity to focus on specific areas within the broader field of network administration, enabling them to develop expertise in areas that are most relevant to their career goals and interests.

System Administration

System administration is a crucial specialization within the network administrator's career path. As a System Administrator, you'll be responsible for managing an organization's computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems. This can include installing and upgrading system software, setting up user accounts, and troubleshooting network problems.

Security Administration

In today's digital age, security has become a critical concern for all businesses. Therefore, the role of a Security Administrator is crucial. In this specialization, your primary responsibility will be to protect the organization's data from unauthorized access, cyber-attacks, and other potential security threats. This could involve implementing security protocols, conducting regular audits to ensure compliance with security standards, and responding to security breaches.

Database Administration

Database administration is another vital subfield in the network administration career path. As a Database Administrator (DBA), your main responsibility will be to design, implement, maintain, and repair an organization's database. This role requires a strong understanding of database languages like SQL and a solid foundation in information systems design.

Cloud Administration

With the rise of cloud computing, more businesses are moving their networks and systems to the cloud. Consequently, there is a growing demand for Network Administrators with expertise in cloud administration. As a Cloud Administrator, you will be responsible for managing and monitoring an organization's cloud-based systems and platforms, ensuring they are optimized for performance and secure from potential threats.

Network Architecture and Design

Network architecture and design is a specialized subfield that focuses on planning and designing effective network infrastructures. As a Network Architect, you will be responsible for creating networking plans, deciding on the appropriate hardware and software to use, and implementing the network design in a way that maximizes efficiency and reliability. Each of these specializations offers unique opportunities and challenges, allowing you to tailor your career path based on your interests and skills. Whether you're drawn to the technical problem-solving aspects of system administration, the security-focused nature of security administration, the data-oriented work of a DBA, the innovative field of cloud administration, or the planning and strategy involved in network architecture and design - there's a network administrator career path for you.

Network Administrator Career Path Job Market and Outlook

In today's digital age, the need for efficient and secure data transmission is paramount in almost every organization. This creates a robust job market for Network Administrators, professionals who are responsible for managing and ensuring the optimal operation of an organization’s networks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is largely driven by the increasing reliance on Information Technology (IT) across diverse industries and the vital role that network administrators play in maintaining the integrity and performance of business-critical networks.

Demand for Network Administrators

The demand for Network Administrators is expected to remain strong as organizations continue to invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks. The proliferation of cloud services and the Internet of Things (IoT) also contribute to this demand, as these technologies require expert management of network systems to ensure seamless functionality. In addition, the growing trend of remote work, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has underscored the importance of robust, secure network systems – further driving the need for skilled Network Administrators.

Industries Hiring Network Administrators

Network Administrators are employed across a wide range of industries. The largest employers are typically within the IT sector, including software publishers, data processing and hosting services, and computer systems design services. However, they are also needed in sectors such as finance, healthcare, education, government, and more - anywhere that relies on computer networks for daily operations.

Geographical Variations

While opportunities for Network Administrators exist across the country, certain regions have a higher concentration of roles due to a greater presence of tech companies or large corporations. For instance, states like California, Texas, New York, and Virginia tend to offer more opportunities for Network Administrators due to their vibrant tech scenes and numerous corporate headquarters.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for the Network Administrator career path remains promising. As technology continues to evolve, the need for professionals who can adapt and manage complex network systems will only grow. Furthermore, cybersecurity threats pose a constant challenge for organizations, highlighting the need for Network Administrators who can implement and maintain secure networks. In conclusion, the job market and outlook for Network Administrators is robust and promising. With the continual advancements in technology and increasing reliance on secure, efficient networks in nearly every industry, Network Administrators will continue to be in high demand.

Network Administrator Career Path Salary and Compensation

As a network administrator, the financial rewards you can expect to receive are highly compelling. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators was $83,510 in May 2019. However, this figure can vary significantly based on factors such as location, experience, education, and certification.

Entry-Level Network Administrators

If you're just starting out in your career as a network administrator, your salary will likely be on the lower end of the scale. The average salary for entry-level network administrators in the United States is approximately $51,000 per year. However, with further experience and additional certifications, you can expect this figure to rise significantly.

Mid-Level Network Administrators

After gaining several years of experience in the field, network administrators can expect to see a significant increase in their salaries. On average, mid-level network administrators earn around $70,000 annually. This figure can increase even further with specialization in areas such as network security or cloud computing.

Senior-Level Network Administrators

Senior network administrators with extensive experience and advanced certifications can command high salaries. These professionals often earn over $90,000 annually. In some cases, especially in large corporations or in areas with a high cost of living, senior network administrators may earn well over $100,000 per year.

The Impact of Location on Salary

Geographical location can also significantly impact a network administrator's salary. For instance, network administrators in states like California and New York typically earn higher salaries due to the higher cost of living in these areas. Conversely, those working in rural areas or states with a lower cost of living may earn less.

Certifications and Their Impact on Salary

Obtaining industry-recognized certifications can significantly boost your earning potential as a network administrator. Certifications such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or the CompTIA Network+ demonstrate to employers that you possess advanced knowledge and skills in network administration. These certifications can therefore lead to higher paying job opportunities. In conclusion, while the salary of a network administrator can vary based on several factors, the potential for high earnings in this career path is clear. With experience, advanced education, and certification, network administrators have the opportunity to earn impressive salaries in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field.

Network Administrator Career Path Tips for Success

Embarking on a career as a Network Administrator can be incredibly rewarding. However, it can also be challenging without the right guidance and preparation. Here are some proven tips to help you succeed in your Network Administrator career path.

Education and Certification

While some individuals break into the field with experience alone, having a relevant degree can give you an edge. A bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, or a related field is often preferred by employers. In addition, earning specific certifications, such as CompTIA Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), or Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, can significantly enhance your job prospects and earning potential.

Hands-on Experience

Hands-on experience is crucial in the IT field. Try to gain as much practical experience as you can through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering. This will not only enhance your technical skills but also give you a chance to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Continuing Education and Skill Upgradation

The field of network administration is constantly evolving with new technologies and trends. Therefore, continuous learning and skill upgradation are essential for staying relevant. Attend workshops, seminars, or online courses to keep yourself updated with the latest developments in the industry.


Networking with other professionals in the field can open up new opportunities and help you learn from their experiences. Join local or online IT communities and participate in forums and discussions. This can also help you stay abreast of industry trends and best practices.

Problem-Solving Skills

A successful Network Administrator needs excellent problem-solving skills. You should be able to diagnose network issues quickly and find effective solutions. This often requires a deep understanding of network infrastructure and the ability to think logically and analytically.

Communication Skills

Strong communication skills are also essential as a Network Administrator. You will often need to explain complex technical issues to non-technical team members or clients. Therefore, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial.

By following these tips and continuously striving for improvement, you can set yourself up for a successful career as a Network Administrator.

What is a Network Administrator?

A Network Administrator is a professional responsible for managing and maintaining an organization's computer networks. They ensure that systems are running smoothly, and they also handle any troubleshooting and updates necessary to keep the network secure and efficient. Their responsibilities typically include managing LANs (local area networks), WANs (wide area networks), and intranets, as well as other data communication systems.

What does a Network Administrator do?

Network Administrators perform several tasks to ensure the optimal operation of an organization’s network. They are responsible for designing and deploying networks, maintaining network hardware and software, monitoring network performance, analyzing and resolving network problems, ensuring network security, and training users on new software and hardware systems. They also often handle tasks related to network contingency planning to ensure minimal network downtime.

What education is needed to become a Network Administrator?

A bachelor's degree in a field related to computer or information science is usually required to become a Network Administrator. Some organizations may accept an associate's degree or post-secondary classes along with relevant work experience. In addition to formal education, obtaining certifications from organizations like CompTIA (Network+), Cisco (CCNA, CCNP), or Microsoft (MCSE) can significantly enhance job prospects.

What skills are needed to be a Network Administrator?

Network Administrators should possess a range of technical and soft skills. They should be proficient in network architecture and protocols, system security, data backup/recovery, and cloud computing. Soft skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork are equally important, as Network Administrators often work with different departments within an organization. Familiarity with operating systems like Linux or Windows Server is also beneficial.

What is the career path for a Network Administrator?

The career path for a Network Administrator often begins with an entry-level role in IT support or systems administration. After gaining some experience, individuals can move into a Network Administrator role. From there, with additional experience and certifications, they can advance to senior or lead roles, such as Network Engineer or Network Manager. Some may choose to specialize in a specific area of networking, like security or cloud computing.

What is the job outlook for Network Administrators?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for Network Administrators is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The demand for these professionals will continue to rise as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks.

What is the salary range for Network Administrators?

The salary for Network Administrators can vary widely depending on the individual's experience, education, and location. According to Payscale, as of 2021, the median annual wage for network administrators in the United States was $62,340. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $104,970.