Computers and computer networks have become critically important in business, education, and organizations and the demand for highly trained professionals is growing. Once you decide to pursue a degree in network administration you’ll have the ability to choose a specialty within the larger field. During your education you’ll be exposed to and trained for these different jobs that all work to support a computer network. Identifying your personal and professional strengths will allow you to understand what path to choose once you begin your career in network administration.
Once you complete your degree and begin a career in network administration there are several different career paths you can choose from, including:
- Network administrator A network administrator works to support the comprehensive needs of an organization’s computer network. Specific duties include determining the organization’s network needs, installing and maintaining software, upgrading and repairing hardware, ensuring the network is secure, collecting data on system performance, training network users on the proper use of both hardware and software, and troubleshooting problems within the network when issues arise. Depending on the size of the network and the organization’s needs the network administrator may work individually or as part of a larger team. With advances in mobile technology capabilities, a network administrator is often able to access the network remotely. This adds an additional level of access and the ability to stabilize the network or assist end users without being on site.
- Computer support specialist A computer support specialist provides assistance to organizations and individuals using specialized technology and computer software. There are two different types of computer support specialists, the help desk technician and technical support specialist. A help desk technician works with non-IT users who have questions or concerns regarding computer hardware or software. The technician may also work to support mobile devices and cloud based software programs. Technical support specialists assist IT employees within their individual organizations. This is a more technical level of assistance than a help desk technician.
- Information Security Analysts An information security analyst plans and executes security systems to protect an organization’s computer network. This is an incredibly important job in a variety of sectors because the threat of cyber attacks is on the rise. The professional responsibilities of the information security analyst depend on the employer’s needs and require innovation and careful attention to detail. An information security analyst will likely research newly developed network security innovations, monitor the employer’s network for security breaches, plan and execute security protocol, install and maintain security software such as data encryption programs and firewalls, and assist in training end users on important security practices.
- Database administrator Professional database administrators use software to organize and store important data for their employers. This data may include customer shipping records or specific financial information. The database administrator must also guarantee that the database is secure and hasn’t been compromised via a security breach. Additional tasks that the database administrator completes include maintaining and updating permissions, testing database modifications, merging existing databases into a single version, and backing up and restoring data. A database administrator may choose to pursue a specialty as a system database administrator or an application database administrator. A system database administrator is responsible for the physical and technical characteristics of a database and ensures that the database works properly within the organization’s computer system. An application database administrator works to support a database that has already been created for a determined set of applications. He utilizes programming languages to write or debug programs within the larger database.
Which of these career paths is the most intriguing to you once you complete your network administration degree?