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Network Administrator Skills And Responsibilities in 2023

Updated: Jun 30

What is a network administrator?

Put very simply, a network administrator is a professional who is in charge of making sure that the company’s computer networks are performing efficiently.

That’s a very broad and oversimplified definition, of course. But the main job description of a network administrator is just that — to ensure that all of the company’s networks are installed correctly, configured as needed, secure, and work efficiently.

Network administrator skills and responsibilities in 2023

Let’s look at what this entails.

Responsibilities and job description of a network administrator

Installing and configuring network hardware and software

Network administrators are the busiest when a company is setting up a network or changing its existing network. Installing and configuring network hardware and software is what’s called a foundational task. So, it’s crucial that it’s done right.

Network administrators start by determining an organization's system requirements, essential for selecting the appropriate hardware and software. The hardware may encompass servers, routers, switches, and related equipment. In terms of software, they manage various operating systems, system management tools, and security software.

The installation process entails setting up these components in their correct locations, connecting them correctly, and testing them for initial functionality. It requires a keen understanding of the organization's IT needs and a well-planned network design.

Configuring the network involves setting up servers, workstations, and peripheral devices to communicate with each other.

Network administrators establish user profiles, user environments, directories, and security for accessing the network and its resources.

This role doesn't stop at the initial setup. Network administrators also manage software updates, hardware upgrades, and any necessary replacements.

They need to stay ahead of the technology curve, ensuring the network's infrastructure is up-to-date and can meet the company’s needs as it evolves.

Maintaining, repairing, and upgrading network and computer systems

Repairing doesn’t refer to changing a stick of RAM, here. Network administrators or Net Admins aren’t your normal tech support. Repair and maintenance of a network are quite different.

Maintenance tasks encompass regular system checks and routine hardware inspections to ensure optimal network performance. They involve monitoring systems for irregularities, managing user access, and ensuring cybersecurity measures are up-to-date.

Network administrators also manage data backups and disaster recovery plans, essential for protecting valuable business data and ensuring service continuity in the event of a network failure.

Repair responsibilities involve swiftly identifying and rectifying hardware and software issues to minimize downtime.

When a system fails or a network error occurs, network administrators diagnose the problem and apply the necessary fixes, which may range from simple system reboots to complex hardware replacements.

Upgrades are a necessary part of a network's life cycle. Network administrators must keep abreast of new technologies and recommend system upgrades when appropriate to improve performance, security, or capability.

They execute hardware and software upgrades, which involve installing new components, updating existing software, or even deploying an entirely new network architecture.

Monitoring network performance

This is one of the most important tasks of any network administrator. The efficiency of networks is a big deal and suboptimal solutions can cost companies millions of dollars. This is where net admins earn their pay.

They use various tools and software applications to track network activity, scrutinize system logs, and observe real-time performance metrics. They keep an eye on indicators such as data transfer rates, error rates, and network uptime to gauge the health of the network.

If performance issues arise, network administrators investigate and identify the root cause. It may involve diagnosing problems like network bottlenecks, bandwidth congestion, or hardware failures.

Once the issue is identified, they implement solutions to rectify the problem. This process may involve adjusting network configurations, optimizing server capacity, or even adding or replacing network equipment.

Monitoring isn't just reactive; it's also a proactive process. By analyzing long-term performance trends, network administrators can predict future needs or potential challenges.

They can recommend upgrades or configuration changes to enhance network performance or accommodate growing network traffic.

Network security

The importance of security isn’t lost on anyone these days. Data leaks can genuinely bankrupt businesses. Network admins are the people who are hired to make sure things like that don’t happen.

Network administrators enforce security policies, ensuring that all users and systems comply with the necessary protocols. They are responsible for setting user access levels, restricting unauthorized access, and maintaining a secure network environment.

Network administrators also oversee the regular updating of security software, including firewalls, antivirus programs, and malware detection systems. These updates are critical for defending against new variants of cyber threats.

Moreover, administrators routinely monitor network traffic and system logs for unusual activity, potentially indicative of a cyberattack or breach. In the event of a security incident, they take swift action to minimize damage. This could involve isolating affected systems, removing the threat, and recovering lost data from backups.

Importantly, network administrators also conduct regular audits and tests of the network’s security measures. These tests ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the protections in place.

Security isn’t just restricted to managing user permissions, of course. One of the most important security measures is to fundamentally design secure networks.

For this, net admins use firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), intrusion detection systems, and other security protocols, to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.

Firewalls are a first line of defense, controlling traffic entering and leaving the network based on an organization's security policies. They can identify and block suspicious activities and malicious attacks.

Network administrators are responsible for configuring and updating firewall rules to meet evolving security needs.

VPNs are vital for ensuring secure remote access to the network. They create an encrypted tunnel for data transfer, protecting sensitive information from potential eavesdropping.

Network administrators deploy and manage VPNs, ensuring secure, reliable connectivity for remote workers or branch offices.

Beyond these, network administrators also implement other protective measures. These might include antivirus software, anti-malware tools, spam filters, and security patches.

They monitor for vulnerabilities and potential threats, often running penetration tests and security audits to assess the effectiveness of security protocols.

Addressing performance issues and troubleshooting users’ problems

Network administrators should have strong troubleshooting skills.

When users report issues, such as slow network speeds, connectivity problems, or difficulty accessing certain services, administrators diagnose these problems and devise appropriate solutions.

This could involve tweaking network settings, replacing faulty hardware, or rectifying software issues.

Apart from resolving the issues, network administrators also communicate effectively with users, keeping them informed about the progress and the expected resolution time.

This customer-centric approach is crucial in reducing frustration and maintaining a positive user experience.

Network administrators are also involved in user education. They provide guidance to users on best practices for network usage and cyber hygiene, helping to prevent user-induced problems.

Proactively, they also monitor system logs and performance metrics to identify and address potential issues before they impact users.

Backup and disaster management

Backup and disaster management isn’t just something that big companies do. These days, small and medium-sized businesses focus on this a lot, too. The reasoning is quite simple.

All systems fail, at some point. Having a way out not just helps but it’s absolutely critical. Losing data that you’ve built over the years is a sure way to get out of business. Network administrators are in charge of backup and disaster recovery measures.

They implement comprehensive backup strategies to protect an organization's digital assets. These may include both onsite and offsite backups, automatic scheduling, and various types of backups like full, incremental, or differential backups based on business needs. They manage backup processes and validate the integrity of the backup data to ensure it can be successfully restored when needed.

Disaster recovery goes hand in hand with data backup. Network administrators create and maintain disaster recovery plans that outline steps to resume operations after a severe network disruption.

This involves preparing for various disaster scenarios, identifying critical systems and data, and defining the recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).

Moreover, network administrators periodically test these disaster recovery plans, ensuring they are effective and up-to-date. They simulate disaster scenarios and measure the recovery process's effectiveness to ensure business continuity under any circumstances.

What sectors are network administrators employed in?

Thanks to the sheer speed at which businesses have digitized, network administrators are employed in a wide variety of industries these days. Here are the most significant ones:


Businesses are increasingly reliant on their network infrastructure for both internal operations and external interactions with clients.

Network administrators ensure the seamless operation of these systems, from data storage to collaboration tools, eCommerce platforms, and customer relationship management software.

They implement cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive corporate information and customer data, ensuring business continuity and customer trust.


Government bodies also rely heavily on network administrators. As governments modernize and digitize their operations, they need efficient and secure networks to manage a myriad of tasks, from data collection and public service provision to security and law enforcement.

Network administrators help maintain these vital systems while ensuring stringent data security and privacy standards are met, crucial for maintaining public trust.


As educational institutions adopt digital technologies for teaching, learning, and administration, network administrators ensure the network can support these activities reliably. They manage systems for online learning, student information, and administrative functions.

They also ensure that networks are secure to protect sensitive student and staff data, and robust enough to handle high demand during peak usage times.


In the healthcare sector, network administrators manage networks that handle critical data and support essential services, such as electronic medical records, telehealth services, and life-saving medical equipment.

The importance of reliable, secure networking in healthcare can't be overstated, especially considering the need for patient privacy and the potentially life-or-death nature of healthcare data and services.

While these are the sectors that employ most net admins, there are various niche sectors, too. All in all, employment opportunities shouldn’t be a huge problem if you have the qualifications, skills, and experience.

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Network administrator skills:

Technical skills for Network Administrators

Proficiency with network protocols, network architecture, and network services:

Understanding network protocols is fundamental for network administrators.

Protocols dictate how data is transmitted and received over a network, and administrators need to be proficient in common ones such as TCP/IP, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and DNS. Their knowledge should also encompass protocols related to specific network services like email (SMTP, POP3, IMAP), VoIP, and video conferencing.

In terms of network architecture, administrators should understand both local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs), as well as newer architectures like software-defined networking (SDN).

They should be familiar with networking devices like routers, switches, and firewalls, and how they work together to facilitate communication within and between networks.

Network services, such as DHCP (for IP addressing) and DNS (for domain name resolution), are also crucial. Administrators need to understand how to configure and manage these services to ensure network connectivity and performance.

Familiarity with Operating Systems and Database Management:

Operating systems are at the heart of any computer network, and network administrators need to be proficient in managing them.

This includes popular systems like Windows, Linux, and Unix, each of which has its own commands, interfaces, and system administration tools. Network administrators must know how to install, configure, maintain, and troubleshoot these systems.

Database management skills are equally important. Network administrators often work with databases, which hold crucial business information.

They need to understand how to manage, back up, and recover database systems. Knowledge of SQL (Structured Query Language) is particularly valuable, as it is used in many database systems.

Understanding of Cybersecurity Best Practices:

Given the increasing threats in the digital landscape, a strong understanding of cybersecurity best practices is indispensable for a network administrator.

This involves knowledge of firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, encryption, and VPNs. They should understand how to enforce strong access control measures and create security policies that protect the network and data.

They also need to stay current with the latest security threats and defense measures. This includes knowing how to conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments, and penetration tests to identify potential weak points and take preventative action.

Experience with Network Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution:

Network administrators need to excel at problem-solving. They must be adept at diagnosing and resolving network issues, which may range from simple connectivity problems to complex hardware or software failures.

This often involves using network troubleshooting tools, analyzing system logs, and conducting performance tests.

Troubleshooting requires a methodical approach, a deep understanding of the network infrastructure, and the ability to think critically under pressure. After all, every minute of network downtime can have a significant impact on an organization's operations.

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Soft skills for network administrators

Problem-Solving and Analytical Skills:

Network administrators frequently encounter complex challenges that require sound problem-solving and analytical skills.

They must be able to analyze network performance data, identify issues, and derive effective solutions. This involves a good understanding of the network environment and an ability to think critically and logically.

Communication Skills:

Most jobs require you to have great communication skills, of course, but for network admins, communication skills are crucial.

Net admins serve as a bridge between the technical team and non-technical stakeholders, including vendors, clients, and other team members.

Administrators must be able to translate complex technical concepts into understandable terms and vice versa. This ability ensures smooth coordination, effective problem resolution, and better user support.

Organizational Skills:

Given the diverse tasks network administrators undertake—from managing daily network operations and troubleshooting issues to conducting routine maintenance and handling emergencies—strong organizational skills are essential.

They need to prioritize tasks effectively, manage their time efficiently, and juggle multiple projects without compromising the quality of their work.

Detail-oriented nature:

Network administration involves managing intricate systems where a small oversight can lead to significant problems. Thus, having a detail-oriented nature is crucial.

Administrators must pay meticulous attention to system configurations, network security settings, and performance data to ensure the network's integrity and security. They must be thorough in their work, double-checking and validating to avoid costly errors.

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Certifications for network administrators

Certifications are a huge thing when it comes to network admins. There are a few industry-standard certifications that can exponentially increase your salary. These certifications are universally recognized and hold a lot of value.

CompTIA Network+

The CompTIA Network+ certification is often a starting point for many network administrators. It is a globally recognized certification that validates your understanding of core networking concepts such as network architecture, operations, security, and troubleshooting.

This certification proves that you have the skills to design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot any wired or wireless network. It is vendor-neutral, meaning the skills learned can be applied to a variety of network environments, not just one specific network product or platform.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA certification is one of the most respected certifications in the networking field.

Offered by Cisco, a leading manufacturer of networking equipment, the CCNA certification covers a wide range of foundational knowledge, including network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability.

Earning a CCNA certification signifies that you’re capable of installing, configuring, operating, and troubleshooting medium-sized routed and switched networks.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

As businesses increasingly migrate to cloud-based infrastructure, skills in managing cloud networks are highly desirable.

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification is designed for professionals who manage cloud services that span storage, networking, security, and compute capabilities within the Microsoft Azure cloud.

You should have significant experience in managing Azure subscriptions, securing identities, administering infrastructure, configuring virtual networking, and backing up and sharing data.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The CISSP certification is one of the most globally recognized credentials in the information security field. It's governed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)².

This certification covers a wide range of security-related domains, including security and risk management, asset security, security architecture and engineering, communication and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, and security operations.

While not strictly a network administration certification, CISSP can be an asset for network administrators, especially those dealing with a significant amount of sensitive data or those in senior roles.

The career path of a network administrator

Entry-Level Positions

Many network administrators start their journey in entry-level IT roles. These may include positions like IT Support Specialist, Help Desk Technician, or Junior Network Administrator.

These roles often involve providing technical support to end users, troubleshooting hardware and software issues, and assisting with network-related tasks.

Such positions offer valuable hands-on experience, an understanding of the business environment, and exposure to various technologies.

At this stage, it’s best if you go for foundational certifications like CompTIA A+ (for general hardware and software knowledge) or Network+ (for basic network knowledge).

These certifications can bolster your skills, enhance credibility, and increase your chances of moving into a network administrator role.

Network Administrator

After a few years (usually about two years), you can move into the role of a Network Administrator. This role involves a higher level of responsibility, including managing, configuring, and maintaining the organization's network infrastructure.

Tasks might involve setting up network hardware, installing and updating network software, monitoring network performance, and implementing network security measures.

Network administrators often specialize in a particular area, such as network security or cloud networking. At this point, obtaining more advanced certifications like Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate can be beneficial.

Senior Network Administrator or Network Engineer

With further experience and a proven track record, you’ll be looking at roles like Senior Network Administrator or Network Engineer.

These roles typically involve greater complexity and strategic responsibility. Tasks might include designing and implementing new network solutions, managing large-scale network projects, and making decisions that affect the entire organization's network infrastructure.

A lot of professionals also chose to further specialize from here, depending on their areas of interest. A Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), for instance, could be hugely advantageous at this point.

IT Manager or Network Architect

After several years of experience and demonstrating leadership capabilities, your designations become IT Manager or Network Architect.

IT Managers oversee the entire IT department, including staff, budget, and strategy, while Network Architects design complex network infrastructures for larger organizations or clients.

For such roles, apart from technical expertise, professionals need to develop strong managerial and strategic planning skills. Certifications like Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) can be useful. Some professionals also pursue a Master's degree in IT management or a related field to boost their managerial credentials.

IT Director or Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The highest rungs on the network administrator career ladder lead to executive positions like IT Director or CIO.

These roles involve setting the organization's IT strategy, making high-level decisions about technology investments, and overseeing all IT-related operations.

Executive roles require not only deep technical expertise but also a strong understanding of business strategy, financial management, and leadership. An MBA or similar degree can often be beneficial at this level.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is network admin a hard job?

Network admin jobs certainly aren’t easy, by any definition. What makes network administrator jobs particularly hard is the fact that no two networks are the same. Each one is uniquely set up, has a unique purpose, and therefore has unique problems. This means that there’s a steep learning curve, making it quite a hard job.

What does a network administrator do daily?

The daily life of a network administrator is actually not very similar. They might be doing maintenance and network upgrades one day whereas the next day might be all about setting up firewalls, VPNs, and other protective measures.

However, there are a few important tasks for all network administrators:

  1. Configuring hardware and software

  2. Maintenance, repair, and upgrade of networks

  3. Securing networks

  4. Monitoring network performance

  5. Taking care of backup and disaster recovery

Is network administrator a high-demand job?

Yes. The demand for network admins has been going up for years and as more companies digitize their businesses, the demand will only grow.

On Simple Job Listings, we’ve seen that network administrator jobs are some of the most quickly filled roles.

Can you work from home as a network administrator?

Absolutely. Simple Job Listings is a remote-only job board and we see a lot of network administrator roles being advertised on our platform.

If you have the right skills, experience, and certifications, there are tons of remote network administrator roles open right now.


Network Administrator roles are hugely rewarding, both in terms of money and with respect to professional contentment.

If you have the right skills, certifications, and experience, you’ll be looking at salaries of around $250,000.

If you’re already a professional and have what it takes, though, check out Simple Job Listings. We post the best remote jobs in the world. You’ll find jobs that are always verified and mostly pay amazingly well. What’s more, most jobs that we post aren’t listed anywhere else!

Visit Simple Job Listings to find great remote network administrator jobs. Good luck!

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