Each day, thousands of network administration professionals report to work dedicated to the complex computer networks that serve businesses, educational institutions, and organizations. There are a variety of roles that network administrators perform and each presents a specific challenge requiring a crucial set of personal and professional characteristics. As you begin your work in network administration evaluate these characteristics in yourself.
A high performing network administrator is:
- Always learning Network administration professionals must be always learning to meet the demands of an evolving field. The software, hardware, network security programs, and data storage systems you will be working with are constantly changing. Your commitment to ongoing education is essential to staying current and fully informed. Your employer may likely look to you for advice when purchasing new hardware, selecting software, or providing further security to the network. Being knowledgeable and relevant is essential.
- Proactive The most successful network administrators are always searching for ways to improve the network and avoid breaks in service. Your ability to look forward and anticipate areas of network weakness will make the it stronger and will instill confidence in the other professionals that rely on the network. Waiting to make upgrades when the network fails will result in lost productivity and frustrated coworkers.
- A problem solver A high capacity computer network is complicated. Consider all of the functions and people the network serves. Network administration professionals must approach this system like a puzzle. Where is the root of the problem? How can I improve performance? What changes will benefit the network and the people that use it? Constantly questioning the network’s performance and capabilities allows you to approach your job with a commitment to problem solving.
- Flexible No two days are alike in network administration. You may leave your home in the morning with a set of tasks to complete during the day and by lunch everything has changed. Your to do list may have included performing system checks on firewalls and troubleshooting potential security issues but one failed software upgrade changes everything. Because others are depending on you, your flexibility is essential.
- Self motivated The depths of the network can be lonely. You may spend hours each day alone at the back of a large computer panel. This independence can be liberating but it also requires professionals to be highly self motivated. Constantly challenging yourself to be more efficient and to anticipate the ongoing network needs will make you a more productive part of the team.
- Organized One overlooked detail can send an entire network into a tailspin. Network administrators must be organized and detail oriented to ensure that every component of the network is operating efficiently and potential problems are avoided.
- Team oriented The larger the computer network the more professionals it takes to keep it functioning properly. This team of dedicated professionals relies on each other to ensure the network is operating properly. Your role on this team and the ability to work with others is vital. Consider ways to improve your ability to work in tandem with others and to serve the needs of the entire team.
- Service driven Network administration professionals often work in roles that serve the specific technology needs of others. If you are serving at an IT helpdesk or in onsite troubleshooting your ability to serve others is crucial. Listen to their concerns and work together to solve the problem and avoid future issues.
- Persistent Sometimes it is difficult to identify the specific problem within the network. A dedicated administration professional must work to troubleshoot and identify the problem before it can be remedied. A quick fix isn’t always possible and you may have to really dig to find the root of the problem.
- Dedicated Your role as an administrator requires dedication to your own knowledge, other professionals that rely on the network, and the integrity of the network itself. This is an important job and one you should be incredibly proud of. Dedicate yourself to your craft and make a commitment to the larger team.
Each of these characteristics is vital to successful network administrators. Which do you think is most important?