Most of the computers within organizations are connected via a network so that there is central access to all company data and employees can communicate among themselves or with their supervisors and managers. This enables coordination between employees and allows efficient distribution of resources. Network managers use a variety of architectures including metropolitan area networks (MANs), local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs) along other networking devices to connect all systems to a central server. The network is usually established by members of the hardware and networking team, who are mainly supervised by a network manager.
Network managers are also known as system administrators. If you are interested in this career, there are several things you should know including the network manager job description and education requirements. This article highlights the network manager job description, experience, and educational requirements, as well as the job outlook and salary information.
Network Manager Job Description
Computer networks are critical infrastructures for most organizations. They cannot function optimally without the help of networks that allow for storage of information and allow communication of company personnel. Network and computer system administrators manage the day-to-day operation of these networks.
They are involved in the organization, installation, and support of a company’s computer systems, including LANs, WANs, intranets, network segments, and other data communication systems. Apart from that, they are also involved in troubleshooting any kind of issues reported by end-users, and the administration of the systems.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Network Manager
- Designing specifications to establish network security and protect the system from vulnerabilities
- Planning, designing and helping the networking team to establish a network regarding the needs and requirements of the clients or an organization
- Evaluating and optimizing network or system performance
- Troubleshooting problems with software and hardware at the end-user’s site
- Ensuring issues are resolved and that there are no hindrances to accessing organizational resources for the users
- Upgrading and repairing networks to ensure that systems are operating correctly
- Planning the network budget
- Make recommendations on what hardware and software the company needs
- Training end-users on how to use hardware and software within the network
- Coordinating with the software and hardware suppliers and negotiating with them
- Ordering necessary software and hardware
- Interpreting and solving problems when an automated monitoring system or a user alerts them that a problem exists
- Authorizing and authenticating users to access important information for the company available
- Administering the DNS for other well-known domains across the organization’s network.
- Updating the network systems regularly with a firewall, antivirus, and spyware and protecting the system against viruses and network breakdowns
- Configuring and setting up new servers and any other network requirements needed by the company’s network system and for their external clients
- Maintaining remote monitoring systems and tracking network resource usage to ensure that they can meet the demands of employees or the end-users
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Network managers require the following set of skills:
- Sound knowledge about the operational capability of hardware and software used in the organization’s network systems
- Well-versed with the advanced network technologies
- Financial planning and budgeting experience
- The capability of using the network resources optimally and also establish efficiency in the network systems
- Understanding business processes
- Know how to regularly update the new and advanced technologies available in the market and using them in the network designs
- Negotiation skills
- Have excellent managerial skills to manage the software and hardware team, and capability of getting along with the team
- Problem-solving and project management experience
- Team-working skills
- Experts in the identification of network problems in the existing systems and upgrading them with the newer and more efficient technologies
According to the BLS, network managers held about 39,300 jobs in 2016. The largest employers were as follows:
- Computer systems design and related services: about 18%
- Information: about 11%
- Educational services; state, local, and private: about 10%
- Finance and insurance: about 9%
- Management of companies and enterprises: about 7%
Experience and Education Requirements
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For you to become a network or system administrator, you should first get an education. Most employers require network managers to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. However, other employers require only an associate’s degree or a post-secondary certificate.Even though some employers require only an associate degree or post-secondary certificate, most require a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology or Computer Science.
However, there are other degrees that focus on system administration and computer networks. Since network or system administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in electrical engineering or computer engineering is also acceptable. These programs offer classes in networking, computer programming, or software design. System administrators should familiarize themselves with network systems and need to be on the lookout for new technologies.
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
Since network technology is advancing, administrators need to be acquainted with the latest technology developments in the sector. Successful network administrators continue taking courses throughout their careers and also attend IT conferences to keep up with the latest technology. Some employers may need network managers to have a master’s degree.
Companies generally require network managers to be certified in the products they use. The certification programs are typically offered directly from vendors or vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification is essential as it validates the knowledge and the use of best practices in the market that network and computer system administrators require. There are numerous certification courses in network administration and hardware management. Microsoft and Cisco are the most common and important certifications you should get.
Network managers can advance their career and become computer network architects. They can also advance to managerial jobs in IT departments including computer and information systems managers. Advancement means better pay, but you will need to obtain further education, such as earning a master’s degree accompanied by additional networking certifications.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for systems administrators or network managers was $81,100 in May 2017. This translates to $38.99 per hour. However, depending on the company and your experience, you can even earn up to $140,000 annually. This means that the salary of network managers can be more depending on the type of organization you are employed at. Areas of employment and their corresponding average salaries are as follows:
- Information: approximately $87,950
- Finance and insurance: approximately $87,420
- Computer systems design and related services: approximately $86,250
- Management of companies and enterprises: approximately $84,870
- Educational services; state, local, and private: approximately $70,020
Most of the network managers work full time. However, companies, depending on their computer networks and system requirements for optimal performance, may need the system administrators to work overtime to ensure that the networks are operating properly 24/7. Working for e-commerce companies is more demanding since the network has to be fully operating at all times.
According to the BLS, there were about 391,300 employed network managers in 2016. Employment, according to the BLS, will grow approximately 6% between 2016 and 2026, which translates to the creation of an additional 24,000 jobs within the same period. The growth is about the same as the average for all occupations. The demand for system administrators is high, just as that of the other IT workers, and should continue to grow as firms invest in newer and faster technology and mobile networks.
This means that job opportunities should be favorable. The job prospects should be best for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or IT and those who are up to date with the latest networking technologies such as cloud computing.
Operations within most organizations are supported by computer networks, so they are a critical component. Companies cannot function without the help of networks that allow information access and communication. System administrators are involved in the organization, installation, and support of a company’s computer systems, including LANs, WANs, intranets, and network segments.
They also troubleshoot problems reported by end-users. They should have certain skills, including a sound knowledge about the operation of hardware and software, financial planning and budgeting experience, the capability of using network resources, understanding the business processes, and negotiation. They should also be good problem solvers and be able to work well both on a team and individually.
“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”
– Dale Carnegie
The work environment includes providing computer systems design and related services, information, educational services, finance and insurance, and management of companies and enterprises. For you to become a network or system administrator, first get a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. However, some employers require only an associate’s degree or a post-secondary certificate. You should also get a Cisco and Microsoft certification.
The BLS reported that the median annual wage for network managers was $81,100 in May 2017. Employment is set to grow approximately 6% between 2016 and 2026. We hope that this article has adequately addressed the network manager job description, experience, and educational requirements, as well as the job outlook and salary information.