System Network Administrator Job Description
System network administrators oversee and support the day-to-day operation of computer systems and networks throughout an organization, ensuring reliable performance and data integrity in local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and organization intranets. In this role, system network administrators evaluate a business’ needs while setting up and maintaining computer networks, monitoring network and system performance, and collecting data to enhance security and reliability.
This IT role primarily works on server-side maintenance and deployment tasks, but the system network administrator’s duties can also include direct user support, particularly during upgrades and migrations. The system network administrator needs to balance technical skills with a big-picture view of how their organization uses its data infrastructure.
System Network Administrator Duties and Responsibilities
While a system network administrator’s role can vary somewhat depending on their organization, the postings that we analyzed shared several core responsibilities:
Configure and Install Networks and Operating Systems
One of the main duties of a system network administrator is setting up, configuring, and deploying networks and operating systems for organization-wide use. The system network administrator determines the organization’s data storage and transmission needs and makes key decisions regarding network setup and capacity to provide users with reliable access to key data and software. The system network administrator may also directly install operating systems and programs on user hardware.
Provide User Technical Support
System network administrators provide direct support to end users, particularly during system setup and installation, as well as during network changes. This can include helping users install software and ensuring that it works with their network settings and operating system, troubleshooting connection or performance issues, or providing guidance on IT-related processes and procedures. In some organizations, the system network administrator may also resolve help desk queries.
Monitor System Performance
The system network administrator routinely monitors system performance to ensure reliability. This can include reviewing error logs, conducting regular tests of system speed and reliability, and following up on issues reported by users. The system network administrator may also conduct routine system audits to assess security and stability, changing configuration to resolve issues or improve reliability.
Oversee Backend Infrastructure
The system network administrator designs and administrates many of the backend or server-side elements of an organization’s network architecture. This can include installing network-wide antivirus programs or firewalls, configuring databases and access, and deploying server-side upgrades to enhance performance. The system network administrator also periodically evaluates the need to upgrade or repair these systems while limiting the impact of these changes on employees.
Conduct Data Backups
System network administrators prevent data loss and unauthorized access by performing and verifying data backups. Most system network administrators follow internal or external guidelines to back up data according to a schedule, while also backing up data as requested by the IT department’s managers. After completing a backup, the system network administrator examines the data and performs tests to make sure that it’s intact and correct.
Enhance Server and System Performance
Lastly, the system network administrator also develops strategies and introduces improvements to enhance server, system, and network performance. This can include system-wide updates as well as changes to end user settings, software, and data access. In many cases, the system network administrator may also propose improvements to software and hardware to IT management or executives.
System Network Administrator Skills and Qualifications
The system network administrator ensures that user networks and computer systems are accessible and reliable from day to day. Most workers in this role have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, along with the following skills:
- Hardware and software configuration – system network administrators should be skilled at configuring software and hardware including servers, networks, and operating systems
- Information security – system network administrators also play a vital role in information security, so they need a firm grasp of best practices and procedures to ensure that organization data is protected from intrusion or corruption
- Database design – because they help support infrastructure and data management activities, system network administrators should also have some experience designing and working with databases
- Problem-solving skills – this role also requires a great deal of troubleshooting networks, computers, and devices, so system network administrators need creative and technical problem-solving skills
- Communication skills – system network administrators also need strong written and verbal communication skills to work with both users and IT specialists
- Time management – in this role, system network administrators need to balance organization-wide concerns with individual user support, so effective scheduling and time management is crucial
System Network Administrator Education and Training
System network administrators need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer or information science, although many organizations prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Additionally, most system network administrators have several years of IT experience, typically in a user-facing role such as help desk analyst or IT specialist. Additionally, certifications can help system network administrators advance their careers and find employment.
System Network Administrator Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), network and computer systems administrators earn a median annual wage of $81,100. The highest-paid individuals in this role earn over $130,200 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earn $49,830 annually.
The BLS expects employment in this field to grow at an average rate of 6 percent through 2026.
We searched the web and found a number of resources if you’re interested in a career as a system network administrator:
CompTIA – CompTIA provides IT professional certifications and continuing education for system network administrators focused on a wide range of network structures and operating systems
The Practice of System and Network Administration: DevOps and Other Best Practices for Enterprise IT – this book offers tips and techniques for successful system network administration
Association of Information Technology Professionals – this professional organization offers IT professionals opportunities to connect, enhance their knowledge through educational materials, and keep up with the latest industry developments
Time Management for System Administrators: Stop Working Late and Start Working Smart – Thomas A. Limoncelli, author and experienced system administrator, explores how to successfully balance the demands of the role
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