Almost every industry today uses technology systems to provide internal and external tasks. From payroll to invoicing, from communications to marketing, to website development and maintenance, computer systems and programs are involved.
It is you, the network administrator, who will be called upon to keep all of these systems running and operating smoothly. And if things do go wrong, you will be the one they call to fix it.
You are considered one of the most important people within a company. Without your knowledge, it would be hard for organizations to function in this modern world.
Your educational and working background as a network administrator can be applied in many ways. You could choose to work at for a computer company creating software designs. You may choose to work for a university, hospital or other large corporation where multiple systems are in use.
You may choose to work for smaller companies as the specialist for the technology department. In some companies, you may be the entire technology department.
This is a very exciting time for network administrators as technology advances and opens up new jobs frequently.
While many network administrators are “jack of all” computer trades, some duties can be more specific. Below are a few of the tasks you may be expected to perform.
Configure Network Hardware
When you are asked to configure network hardware, this means they want you to set up the process of how communication happens within a company. You will install software or other programs that make this possible.
You will also need to know how to set up connection on other electronic devices such as laptops. In addition, configure routers, network sharing, firewall applications and establishing who is allowed access to the system.
You will be the person called when something goes wrong with the network system.
Knowing how to figure out why a network system is malfunctioning is just as important as installation of the system.
Troubleshooting is the process of identifying and repairing technical problems, whether with hardware or software or some specific program. Have a strategic plan for troubleshooting can help you on the job. For instance, you may want to start with the most common technical issues, and if they are ruled out, move on to investigating more specific issues.
Many network administrators follow steps to resolve problems. These steps range from developing a theory of what is wrong, establishing a plan of action, testing your theories and documenting what you find along the way for future reference.
All technical systems will need to be maintained well to prevent avoidable problems. Both hardware and software programs require updates when new features are added, improving performance of applications.
As a network administrator, you will be responsible for installing these updates and performing all other maintenance tasks.
Maintenance can also involve you searching for improvements that can benefit the company. This means you may spend some time reviewing different hardware and software programs. You will need to research new programs that are within your given technology budget, as well as your expertise.
All of this will need to be done with minimal interruption in company functions.
Every time a new team member is added to the company, you will be asked to train that person on how to properly operate the network system. You will teach them the internal communication structures you put in place so they can send and receive messages.
Training will also include teaching staff security measures they should follow when performing online duties.
Each organization will be different in the software programs they use. Universities tend to use systems that need multiple teacher and student resources. Accountants will need systems that focus on budgets, taxes and financial needs.
No matter which programs you install, you will also need to train everyone on how to use them. You may even find yourself training the CEO of a company on how to use the computer in his or her office.
This same CEO will expect you to be up-to-date on everything related to their network system. This means your own training does not end after college or once you become employed. In fact, you will be expected to continue your education for the duration of your time as a network administrator.
Continue Your Education
The more courses you take, the more certificates you earn within the computer industry, the better. Technology is one field that is constantly being upgraded. What is new information one year is outdated the next year.
Your employer will expect you to adapt to new changes within the tech world. There are steps you can take to make sure you are able to keep up.
Plan for future trainings. Build certificate courses or webinars or seminars into your work schedule. Do this in advance and not spur of the moment. You will find it much easier to balance the many opportunities for training if you plan ahead.
Seek online courses and credentialing opportunities. Many local colleges offer online courses. When you see them offering a class on a subject you need, sign up. Many employers will allow you to work on these courses during the work day if you can schedule limited time each day or week, and if it does not interfere with your administration duties.
Join professional network administration organizations. Many of these send you valuable information through newsletters, magazines, conferences and by communicating with others in the club. You can find local, regional, state and even nation-wide professional organizations. And if you can’t find exactly what you are seeking, start your own club.
Finally, read. Yes, this seems simple but reading modern tech books, magazine articles, newsletters, conference briefs or even just blogs from industry leaders can teach you a great deal about your job.
Your enhanced knowledge will be evident to your employer and to the company at large. And it will give you the confidence you need to be a successful network administrator.