Bureau of Labor Statistics

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

network and computer systems administrators image
Administrators maintain network LANs, WANs, and intranets.
Quick Facts: Network and Computer Systems Administrators
2019 Median Pay $83,510 per year
$40.15 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2019 373,900
Job Outlook, 2019-29 4% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 16,000

Summary

What Network and Computer Systems Administrators Do

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.

Work Environment

Network and computer systems administrators work with the physical computer networks of a variety of organizations and therefore are employed in many industries.

How to Become a Network and Computer Systems Administrator

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 or an associate’s degree.

Pay

The median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators was $83,510 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

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. Demand for information technology (IT) workers is high and should continue to grow as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for network and computer systems administrators.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of network and computer systems administrators with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about network and computer systems administrators by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Network and Computer Systems Administrators Do

Network and computer systems administrators
Administrators fix computer server problems.

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 system needs and install network hardware and software
  • Make needed upgrades and repairs to networks and ensure that systems are operating correctly
  • Maintain network and computer system security
  • 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 a problem 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.

Administrators may 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.

Work Environment

Network and computer systems administrators
Network and computer systems administrators work with both IT and non-IT staff.

Network and computer systems administrators held about 373,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of network and computer systems administrators were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 18%
Educational services; state, local, and private 10
Information 10
Finance and insurance 9
Management of companies and enterprises 7

Although many network and computer systems administrators are employed by firms in the computer systems design and related services industry, they work in a variety of settings. Some might administer systems and networks for financial firms, and others work in hospitals or local government offices.

Network and computer systems administrators work with many types of workers, including other IT workers, such as computer support specialists, database administrators, computer network architects, and computer and information systems managers.

Work Schedules

Most network and computer systems administrators work full time. Organizations depend on their computer networks, so administrators may need to work overtime to ensure that the networks are operating properly around the clock.

How to Become a Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Network and computer systems administrators
Administrators evaluate network and system performance and determine how changes in the environment will affect them.

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 or an associate’s degree.

Education

Although some employers require only a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree, 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 frequently include classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.

Because network technology is constantly 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 administrators have a master’s degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Companies generally require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the products they use. Certification programs usually are offered directly from vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge and the use of best practices that are required of network and computer systems administrators. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.

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 to evaluate networks and systems to make sure that they perform reliably and to anticipate new requirements as customers’ needs change.

Communication skills. Administrators must describe problems and their solutions to non-IT workers.

Multitasking skills. Administrators may have to work on many problems and tasks at the same time.

Problem-solving skills. Administrators must quickly resolve problems that arise with computer networks.

Pay

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Median annual wages, May 2019

Computer occupations

$88,240

Network and computer systems administrators

$83,510

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators was $83,510 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,370, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $132,520.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for network and computer systems administrators in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance $89,420
Information 89,300
Management of companies and enterprises 87,360
Computer systems design and related services 87,110
Educational services; state, local, and private 73,640

Most network and computer systems administrators work full time. Organizations depend on their computer networks, so administrators may need to work overtime to ensure that the networks are operating properly around the clock.

Job Outlook

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Computer occupations

11%

Network and computer systems administrators

4%

Total, all occupations

4%

 

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.

Demand for information technology (IT) workers is high and should continue to grow as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks. Employment growth also is expected as the use of IT in healthcare increases. However, an increase in cloud computing could raise the productivity of network administrators, slowing their employment growth across many industries.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be favorable. Prospects should be best for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in computer network and systems administration or computer science and who are up to date on the latest technology, especially cloud computing.

Employment projections data for network and computer systems administrators, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Network and computer systems administrators

SOC Code15-1244
Employment, 2019373,900
Projected Employment, 2029389,900
Percent Change, 2019-294
Numeric Change, 2019-2916,000
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of network and computer systems administrators.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2019 MEDIAN PAY
Computer and information systems managers

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

Bachelor's degree $146,360
Computer hardware engineers

Computer Hardware Engineers

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components.

Bachelor's degree $117,220
computer network architects image

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

Bachelor's degree $112,690
Computer programmers

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

Bachelor's degree $86,550
Computer support specialists

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations.

See How to Become One $54,760
Computer systems analysts

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective.

Bachelor's degree $90,920
Database administrators

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data.

Bachelor's degree $93,750
Information security analysts

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Bachelor's degree $99,730
Electrical and electronics engineers

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment.

Bachelor's degree $101,250
Software developers

Software Developers

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or another device.

Bachelor's degree $107,510
Web developers

Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites.

Associate's degree $73,760

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Network and Computer Systems Administrators,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm (visited September 28, 2020).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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