Network Administrator Job Description

A computer network allows different devices to communicate with one another. A network administrator's job is to ensure all the devices are properly able to communicate with each other. If an office has a network printer, is it the network administrator's duty to provide a stable connection, allowing everyone to connect and print what they need without worry. Similarly, if there is a Internet connection, it is the network administrator (net admin) who is responsible for keeping the Internet connection stable and fast.

The main tools of a network administrator of engineer are routers and switches. They send packets (little pieces of computer code) to where they need to go. To connect to your device sent a bunch of packets through a bunch of switches and routers to reach the server is on, and then that server replied with a bunch of packets which went through a number of switches and routers to reach your device. Network engineers are the people who configured and managed all of those routers and switches to know how and where to send the packets. Without them the Internet would not exist. No computer network would exist.

Routers and switches are usually configured using a command line. To save memory most routers and switches do not have graphic interfaces. All commands are typed into a prompt. This is intimidating at first, but one gets used to it with practice. One of the main duties of a network administrator is to properly configure new routers and to update the configuration of old routers when there are changes within the network.

Another crucial task it figuring out where a networking problem might be and routing around that problem. If a certain router is having hardware problems a good net admin is able to send data around that problematic router. If done well, users do not even realize there is a problem with a router on their network.

The Internet is amazing because there are constantly routers and fiber optic cables and switches which are broken. I guarantee you there are broken paths on the Internet right now. But users rarely experience any issues. This is because of all the network engineers who do their job and set up redundant routes. They are able to work around most problems so well that you and I don't even know there is a problem.

Being able to route around broken equipment starts with a good network plan. Network administrators are often the people who design and map out their company's network. They decide how much redundancy to have, how many routers and switches are needed, and how fast every connection needs to be. They build the networking infrastructure which is used for many years.

Monitoring network traffic is another part of the net admin's job. If one part of the network is past capacity and the other is just about empty it is up to the net admin to balance out the traffic patterns making the data flow more smoothly.

In the modern world, people panic if they cannot reach the Internet or even parts of their internal network. The most simple job description for a network engineer is 'ensure that all parts of the network are efficiently reachable'. When the network is performing well, then the net admin might have down time. This is a nice perk of the job. If it ain't broken, don't fix it. Instead a good net admin will find something else to do. That may be studying up on the latest technologies or planning for 'what if' situations. When there is an issue with network connectivity, it is the job of the network administrator to get those packets flowing quickly and reliably.

Network engineers are the people who bring you the Internet.