Detailed Guide forNetwork and Computer Systems Administrators in California
May also be called: Information Technology (IT) Directors; IT Managers; IT Specialists; Local Area Network (LAN) Administrators; Network Administrators; Network Engineers; Network Managers; Network Specialists; Systems Administrators; and Systems Engineers
What Would I Do?
Network and Computer Systems Administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks, which is a vital part of most organizations. They install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), Internet and intranet systems, a segment of a network system, or other data communication systems.
Systems Administrators identify computer and network needs, install network hardware and software, and make needed upgrades and repairs. They maintain network and computer system security, evaluate network or system performance, and help increase system efficiency. They provide training on hardware and software use as well as solve computer issues promptly upon notification by a user or an automated monitoring system.
They ensure e-mail and data storage networks function properly and that employee workstations run efficiently and stay connected to the network. Some Administrators manage telecommunication networks at their organization.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators may assist computer network architects in designing and analyzing network models. They are involved in making decisions regarding hardware and software purchases. Some provide technical support to computer users and may supervise computer user support specialists, computer network support specialists, or computer programmers.
Tools and Technology
Systems Administrators work with a wide range of tools and technology. In addition to computers, they may use computer tool kits, cable accessories, digital testers, hard disk arrays, interferometers, network switches and analyzers, power meters, protocol analyzers, reflectometers, and server load balancers. They use a variety of software such as administration, backup or archival, configuration management, Internet directory services, network monitoring, network security or virtual private network (VPN) management, and transaction security and virus protection.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware, systems software, applications software, and all configurations.||Computers and Electronics|
|Diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve hardware, software, or other network and system problems, and replace defective components when necessary.||Complex Problem Solving|
|Plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures to protect data, software, and hardware.||Critical Thinking|
|Operate master consoles to monitor the performance of computer systems and networks, and to coordinate computer network access and use.||Problem Sensitivity|
|Load computer tapes and disks, and install software and printer paper or forms.||Near Vision|
|Design, configure, and test computer hardware, networking software and operating system software.||Systems Analysis|
|Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations.||Information Ordering|
|Configure, monitor, and maintain email applications or virus protection software.||Inductive Reasoning|
|Monitor network performance to determine whether adjustments need to be made, and to determine where changes will need to be made in the future.||Systems Evaluation|
|Confer with network users about how to solve existing system problems.||Oral Expression|
|Research new technologies by attending seminars, reading trade articles, or taking classes, and implement or recommend the implementation of new technologies.||Reading Comprehension|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Computers and Electronics||Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.|
|Complex Problem Solving||Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.|
|Critical Thinking||Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.|
|Problem Sensitivity||The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.|
|Near Vision||The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).|
|Systems Analysis||Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.|
|Information Ordering||The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).|
|Inductive Reasoning||The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).|
|Systems Evaluation||Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.|
|Oral Expression||The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.|
|Reading Comprehension||Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.|
Most Systems Administrators spend their working hours indoors in environmentally controlled buildings. Voice and data equipment are kept in communications rooms, which can be cold. Systems Administrators usually work 40 hours a week, but may work overtime or on call to ensure proper functioning of networks and systems. Some may travel to the customer's work site.
Systems Administrators interact regularly with network architects and information technology (IT) management as well as with the organization's non-IT staff. A considerable amount of time is spent typing on computer keyboards, which can lead to hand and wrist problems for those who do not take precautions such as ensuring they have an ergonomic workstation. Some lifting and moving of hardware is required.
Most workers in this occupation are not represented by unions. However, those who work in government or hospital settings have the option to join unions, such as the Service Employees International Union.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Systems Administrator may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve working with ideas and that require an extensive amount of thinking. This occupation involves searching for facts and figuring out problems. Those who value job security and good working conditions should enjoy this type of job.
Employers seek candidates with excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communications skills. Systems Administrators need to be able to work well both independently and as part of a team. They must take initiative, troubleshoot, and resolve issues in a timely manner. In addition, they should be patient, detail-oriented, and willing to continually learn new technologies.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2015 for Network and Computer Systems Administrators in California was $86,715 annually, or $41.68 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Systems Administrators generally receive medical and dental insurance, vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans from their employers. Some employers may also offer stock options and bonuses.
What is the Job Outlook?
As businesses and government agencies continue to invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks, demand for Systems Administrators should remain high. Systems Administrators with an information security background will be needed to keep networks and systems safe.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Network and Computer Systems Administrators is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Network and Computer Systems Administrators are expected to increase by 17.0 percent, or 6,900 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 690 new job openings per year is expected for Network and Computer Systems Administrators, plus an additional 640 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,330 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
The level of education and type of training required varies by employer. A bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, or even computer or electrical engineering with coursework in computer programming, networking, or systems design, is often required for entry into this field. Some employers will accept an associate degree in a computer-related field, along with certificates and related work experience. Some positions may require a master's degree.
Early Career Planning
High school students interested in this kind of work should take classes in mathematics, computer science, information technology, engineering technology, business, and language arts. Training programs are also available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) in areas such as computer administrator, computer network management, computer systems management, information systems management, network administration, network administrator, and network security. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.
A constantly changing technology makes it necessary for Systems Administrators to keep their skills current and acquire new ones. Many continuing education programs exist through employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and universities, and private training institutions. Professional development seminars and conferences offered by computing services firms, as well as courses available online or through independent study, also enhance skills and advancement opportunities.
Professional certification is becoming the industry standard and can demonstrate competence in a particular field. There are hundreds of different certification programs available. Many are offered by product vendors or software firms. Product vendors may require Systems Administrators to be certified in the products that they use. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
- Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Computer Science, Information Systems Security, LAN/WAN Management, Network, and System Administration.
- Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
The largest industries employing Network and Computer Systems Administrators are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Computer Systems Design and Rel Services ||15.5%|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises ||7.4%|
|Local Government ||4.6%|
|Colleges and Universities ||3.6%|
|Management & Technical Consulting Svc ||3.4%|
Finding a Job
Networking is important in this occupation, since many Network and Computer Systems Administrators find work through referrals. Jobs can also be found through direct application to employers, newspaper classified advertisements, online job boards, and professional organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Network and Computer Systems Administrators.
- Computer Network Design & Systems
- Computers-System Designers & Consultants
- Consumer Electronics
- Government Offices
- Management Consultants
- Private Schools (K-12)
- Public Schools
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
Systems Administrators who gain extensive work experience and regularly update their skills with training can promote to senior positions such as information technology manager.
Below is a list of occupations related to Network and Computer Systems Administrators with links to more information.
|Computer Hardware Engineers||Guide|
|Computer Network Architects||Guide|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||Profile|
|Software Developers, Applications||Guide|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||Guide|
|Computer Systems Analysts||Guide|
|Computer User Support Specialists||Guide|
These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.
|SOC - Standard Occupational Classification||15-1142|
|O*NET - Occupational Information Network|
| Network and Computer Systems Administrators||15-1142.00|
| Interest Codes (RIASEC)||IRC|
|CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs|
| Computer and Information Sciences, General||110101 |
| Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst ||110501 |
| Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications ||110901 |
| Network and System Administration/Administrator||111001 |
| Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assura||111003 |
| Computer and Information Sciences & Support Services, Other ||119999 |
|TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)|
| Information Technology, General||070100|
| Computer Systems Analysis||070730|
| Computer Infrastructure and Support||070800|
| Computer Networking||070810|
| Computer Support||070820|
| Other Information Technology||079900|