What Does a Network Administrator Do? (And How To Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 January 2023

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Network administrators are skilled professionals who do vital work to ensure a company's internal IT network works efficiently and diagnoses and resolve any problems. The role involves a wide array of tasks and requires specific skills and capabilities. If you enjoy working with computers and have a firm grasp of technology, you might be considering a career as a network administrator. In this article, we answer, 'What does a network administrator do,' provide a step-by-step guide on becoming a network administrator and list some FAQs about this career path.

What does a network administrator do?

A network administrator's role is to keep a company's IT systems up and running and ensure they're functioning correctly. It is a complex role involving collaboration across multiple departments and diagnosing problems that affect numerous pieces of software or hardware. Network administrators are responsible for maintaining local-area networks (LANs), wide-area networks (WANs), intranets and other types of networks. They may be responsible for installing new network technologies and training other staff on how to use them. Their role might also include identifying and resolving security issues. The daily tasks of a network administrator might consist of:

  • working closely with other departments to determine the future network needs of the organisation and how to plan for them

  • developing tools and techniques to install, test and maintain LAN and WAN equipment

  • regularly performing network troubleshooting to spot or resolve connectivity issues

  • analysing the network structure and submitting reports to other departments on how it could be improved

  • configuring WAN and LAN networks

  • speaking to colleagues, superiors or customers about network issues

  • installing new hardware and software to improve the organisation's network

  • training other staff on how to use software, including non-technical staff

Related: What Does a Database Administrator Do? (And How to Become One)

What skills does a network administrator need?

Network administrators are skilled professionals who have a strong knowledge of technology and computer networks. The following skills are very useful to a network administrator:

  • Strong technical skills: Naturally, network administrators use in-depth knowledge of the technologies they use to perform their roles effectively. These skills are usually acquired through education and experience, but a general aptitude for technology may be useful if you want to become a network administrator.

  • Communication skills: Network administrators often speak with colleagues or end-users about issues they are experiencing with the network so that they can work to resolve them, which requires skills in verbal communication and strong listening skills. Since network administrators may write reports on the state of the network and how it could be improved, written communication skills are also a benefit.

  • Analytical skills: A large part of a network administrator's role involves finding and diagnosing problems within an organisation's IT systems, which may require analytical and critical thinking skills.

  • Problem-solving skills: Once a problem is identified, a network administrator may also find a solution to the problem, which could be a complex one. The ability to weigh up various solutions and decide which is the best course of action is crucial for a network administrator.

  • Time-management and multi-tasking skills: Network administrators frequently manage several projects, people and problems at the same time. This means that the ability to stay organised, switch between tasks easily and plan for future work is essential.

  • Patience and interpersonal skills: A network administrator's role may involve collaboration with multiple departments, which means that the ability to build productive working relationships is a great asset. Network administrators may also be required to speak with non-technical staff about complex technical subjects, so patience and the ability to explain things clearly are also important.

  • Curiosity and a love of learning: Like any role in the IT industry, the tools and technologies that a network administrator uses are constantly changing. This means that network administrators are usually willing to keep updating their knowledge throughout their careers, and they often have a genuine passion for learning about new technologies.

Related:

  • What Is a System Administrator and What Is Their Role

  • How to Write a Systems Administrator Resume (With Example)

How to become a network administrator

If you're considering a career as a network administrator, it can be useful to know about the different paths into the career that you could take. If you would like to get started with this career, you can follow these steps:

1. Pursue the necessary qualifications

There are several different paths you could choose to get into a career in network administration. The first is to complete a traineeship, which may allow you to gain the relevant skills through on-the-job training, combined with classroom learning at an approved college or institution. The benefits of doing a traineeship are that it allows you to get paid. At the same time, you can finish with a nationally recognised qualification, such as a Certificate IV in Information Technology. A traineeship usually takes two years to complete.

An alternative option is to complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science or business information systems. A degree usually takes longer to complete than a traineeship. You may not earn while you study, but you may be able to command a higher salary for your first network administrator job once you graduate.

2. Gain relevant work experience

If you choose to do a traineeship, you can gain experience while you learn by working alongside experienced administrators in a professional environment. If you decide to do a degree instead, it's still a good idea to add some relevant experience to your resume. You could do this by seeking out internships or summer jobs that allow you to build your computing and network administration skills.

3. Consider pursuing technical certifications

Holding professional certifications in addition to a qualification such as a degree, diploma or Certificate IV might be an advantage when looking for jobs as a network administrator. The option to obtain credentials may depend on the job you apply for and whether the desired company requires certification. Consider reading job descriptions to gauge which certification you may gain.

4. Update your network administrator resume

Your resume is your chance to show potential employers that you're a great candidate for a role. When you're putting together your network administrator resume, make sure it's up to date and includes details of any work experience, qualifications and certifications that might help you stand out to an employer. Be sure that your resume is clear and easy to understand by first organising your experience chronologically with the most recent examples.

Related: Technical Skills: Definition and Examples

5. Look for network administrator jobs

When you have prepared your resume, you can start looking for entry-level jobs as a network administrator. You can do this using the Indeed job search function. Be sure to filter the results by salary, location and company to find the right job for you.

Related: How To Become a Network Engineer

Network administrator FAQs

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about working as a network administrator, to help you decide if it's the right career choice for you:

How much does a network administrator earn?

The average salary for a network administrator is $82,042 per year. You may be able to earn more than this depending on your qualifications, level of experience and location. For example, the average salary for network administrators in Western Australia is $90,899 per year.

Where do network administrators work?

Network administrators may work at any company or organisation that has at least one internal network that needs to be maintained and updated. While many network administrators work for technology companies, others may work in:

  • financial or insurance firms

  • hospitals and other healthcare facilities

  • schools, colleges and universities

  • government offices

What are a network administrator's working conditions like?

Working as a network administrator usually involves sitting at a desk and using a computer for a large portion of the day. Network administrators work with various technologies and tools and may carry heavy equipment. Although network administrators usually work normal office hours, they may sometimes work overtime after hours or on weekends to maintain the network and prevent issues.

What career progression is available to a network administrator?

There are many different options for progressing as a network administrator. As you gain experience and expertise in your field, you may be able to get a promotion to a job such as IT manager or IT project manager. These roles usually involve leading a team of other IT professionals.

Alternatively, you could choose to sidestep into a career as a network engineer or network architect. These roles share some tasks and core skills with network administration but are more focused on the design and installation of computer networks. Another option is to become a freelance network consultant. These professional contractors provide their networking expertise to companies on an as-needed basis.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Explore more articles