How to Know If a Networking Systems Administration Degree is Right for You

a computer keyboard

There’s this unspoken stereotype about people who like to work with computers usually prefer working alone. We don’t know where it came from, but nothing could be further from the truth. Computers are used to communicate, and in order to do this effectively, one must be able to interact with other people in order to confirm that the computer hard drive, software system, and connections are all working in unison. If it’s not, more communication will be needed for problem solving and troubleshooting solutions.

There are many skills that make a highly effective network administrator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are four main skills that are important qualities for a network administrator. They include analytical skills, communication skills, multitasking skills, and problem-solving skills. We have added three additional skills that supplement those four main skills, they include critical thinking skills, computer skills, and innovation skills.

So, if you love working with computers and looking to work in a profession that challenges you every day allowing you to interact with different people, then pursuing a career as a Networking Systems Administrator might be the profession for you.

Do You Love Working with Computers? You Have Options!

Any job in the field of technology can be rewarding if you love working with computers. These days, you really can’t get away from it, but if you want to be involved with how things work on the back end of computing systems, then you’ll need to learn exactly how they work.

For example, the Network and System Management (NSM) refers to the intersection of networking, network management, and system management. The vision of NSM (also known as “networked systems management”) is to enable the management of a distributed set of systems in a fashion similar to that in which many centralized data centers are managed

There are many degrees offered that are related to computers, but if you’re particularly interested in working with computer servers, then the type of degree program you’ll want to look for is the Associate of Science (AS) in Networking Systems Administrator degree offered by Florida National University (FNU).

The AS in Networking Systems Administrator program will teach you how to manage and maintain the network of hardware, software, programmers, users, and data of specific organizations and locations. This is a complicated string of responsibilities that requires an extensive amount of education. In order for a Networking System Administrator to properly install, configure and support an organizations’ local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet systems, he or she will need to have some experience as well.

What Education Do Computer Systems Administrators Have?

They usually need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a network systems administration degree, or a related field, although a certificate or an associate’s degree is acceptable in some cases, and other jobs call for a master’s degree. Employers generally require computer systems administrators to complete certification programs with manufacturers as well.

Regardless of the education level, a computer systems administrator can pursue a major or specialization in a computer-related subject, such as management information systems, information science or computer science.

According to the BLS, employers may also require computer systems administrators to obtain professional certification. These certifications are available from product manufacturers, such as Microsoft or New Horizons. An employer may request that a computer systems administrator obtain certification in other products commonly used for the company or business.

Computer system administrators usually need a bachelor’s degree, though some employers may accept an associate’s degree, and others may require a master’s degree. Certification for specific systems or software may be required. The median annual salary for systems administrators was about $82,000 as of 2018.

What FNU Has to Offer

FNU has state-of-the-art equipment where you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know about networking systems with a hands-on approach. FNU students will learn 19 credit hours of the following networking courses:

  • Networking Essentials – Network +
  • Routing Protocols and Concepts – CCENT
  • Advanced Router Technology – CCENT
  • LAN Switching and Wireless Networking – CCNA
  • Accessing the WAN – CCNA

Note: All courses except for the Networking Essentials – Network + are worth 4 credit hours.

What Does a Network System Administrator Do?

A Computer Systems Administrator is the first-point-of-contact for an organization’s network users when they experience technical problems. For example, computer system administrators ensure that the Internet connection in the office is working and that the mail server is running and processing emails that are sent and received by all staff within the company or organization. The administrator oversees the performance of an organization’s Internet and Intranet networks by constantly maintaining their hardware and software, installing upgrades, and more.

This is different from an IT Tech. The primary role of IT Administrators is to oversee and maintain all aspects of a company’s computer infrastructure. This includes maintaining networks, servers and security programs and systems.

While the Networking Systems Administrator’s job is to oversee the network—the entire group of computers, he or she will also need to manage the computer system that includes software and hardware installation, upkeep, data recovery, back-up, and of course set-up and training for the user. The systems administration management must be able to operate with the bigger picture in mind as well as components that make it all up. Including every administrator involved. That is why FNU’s core requirements under this associate’s program include the following courses:

  • JAVA and Web Programming
  • Operating Systems
  • Database Management Systems

Students will also be required to learn the MOS of Microsoft Suite that includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as programs common for systems administration management.

What Else Can You Expect to Learn?

Because most of the courses for the associate degree in network systems administration require strong communication, analytical and mathematical skills, prerequisites are needed in order to take some of these classes. Network administrators need to understand how to connect devices to form a fast and efficient network. Therefore it helps if graduates have experience of running networks on specific network operating systems, perhaps in a school, a university or in a company’s IT department.

Some of the other skills you can expect to acquire within this degree program is improving the organizational skills that will help you conduct better planning and research for project management scenarios that include but not limited to dealing with firewalls, Cisco, UNIX, LINUX, technical support, system, and network configuration.

  • Other key skills for network administrators:
  • Patience
  • IT and technical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Teamworking skills
  • Initiative
  • Attention to detail

What Is the Job Outlook for a Networking Systems Administrator?

The employment outlook and pay for this profession are also promising. The United States Department of Labor’ Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the “network and computer systems administrators are projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024”.

This is due to the demand for technology that is expected to rise thanks to faster technology and mobile networks. And now that the healthcare industry has now integrated it’s patient’s files into a digital network, along with the expected increase of healthcare thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the need to manage these growing networks will be ever-present.

Since almost all industries are now heavily computer-dependent, network administrators are needed in most companies, including:

  • Software Developers
  • The Government
  • The Finance Industry
  • Manufacturers
  • Retailers
  • Utility Companies
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Hospitals
  • Publishers

Is The Salary Any Good?

As far as the pay goes, depending on the type of job you land within the technology field varies.
The average salary for “network system administrator” ranges from approximately $66,333 per year for Administrator to $90,060 per year for Senior Systems Administrator

If you’re aiming to work as a Networking System Administrator, then you can expect to earn approximately $77,810 as this is the reported median salary that the Bureau of Labor Statistics states. This excludes all of the computer-related jobs.

If you consider just these jobs, then the median salary boosts up to $81,430. Now, for the median salary for both computer-related jobs and network and computer systems administrators, the salary drops to $36,200.

Education: Choose Wisely

If you’re interested in becoming a network and computer, it is imperative that you seek the right kind of schooling. FNU is a regionally accredited educational institution offering this associate’s degree program at an affordable tuition rate of approximately $31,500 and $2,000 in books and supplies. Students enrolled in this degree program can expect to complete the course requirements in approximately 20 months, but it can take longer if you decide to enroll part-time. View the full course curriculum here.

Whether you choose to enroll full-time or part-time, FNU can assist you with starting classes on campus or online. You have the option to earn this associate’s degree 100% online and participate in taking virtual classes. We can also help you out with financial aid options. All you have to do is contact us today and get the enrollment process started now!