Network and computer systems administrators
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Overview
Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for network and computer systems administrators are expected to grow by 6%, and should have about 27,000 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Network and computer systems administrators are less likely to be automated than 84% of other careers.
Workforce size
Network and computer systems administrators, with 391,300 workers, form a larger workforce than 89% of careers.
Education
About 53% of network and computer systems administrators have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by network and computer systems administrators
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More network and computer systems administrators have bachelor's degrees than 71% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for network and computer systems administrators is higher than 85% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most network and computer systems administrators.
This job's median $82KAll jobs' median $39K$81K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 18% of network and computer systems administrators -- that's a smaller percentage than 67% of other jobs.
Gender of network and computer systems administrators
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For network and computer systems administrators, the median men's salary was 11% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 22% of network and computer systems administrators are minority, and 15% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of network and computer systems administrators
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (15%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Network and Computer Systems Administrators per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 67% of network and computer systems administrators, and 79% have company-sponsored health insurance (18% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for network and computer systems administrators
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 54% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of network and computer systems administrators who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (57%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (38%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do network and computer systems administrators earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for network and computer systems administrators, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for network and computer systems administrators compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for network and computer systems administrators (BLS Salary Data)
$82K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$82K$0$50K$100K$150K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all network and computer systems administrators, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for network and computer systems administrators compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for network and computer systems administrators (ACS Salary Data)
$71K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$71K$0$50K$100K$150K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where network and computer systems administrators work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Network and computer systems administrators (ACS)
Private for-profit (68.8%)
Private not-for-profit (10.3%)
Local government (5.8%)
State government (6.7%)
Federal government (6.9%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.9%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.8%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of network and computer systems administrators by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$71K$72K$67K$69K$78K$76K$66K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Self-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of network and computer systems administrators by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$82K$98K$74K$84K$71K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for network and computer systems administrators

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$73K$54K$78K$81K$83K$62K$38K$80K$81K$0$50K$100K$150KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
010K20K30K40KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Network and computer systems administrators and gender

With 18% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 67% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
18%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Network and computer systems administrators
Men (82%)
Women (18%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for network and computer systems administrators, with the median salary for men 11% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$65K$72K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Network and computer systems administrators have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 67% of other jobs.

11%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of network and computer systems administrators

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority network and computer systems administrators than for 59% of other careers. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.

Race/origin of network and computer systems administrators
White (77% )
Asian (10% )
Black (9% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
15%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for network and computer systems administrators by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$55K$63K$67K$68K$69K$71K$83K$0$50K$100K$150KAmerican IndianMultiracialHispanicOtherBlackWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for network and computer systems administrators by nativity
$70K$77K$0$50K$100K$150KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by network and computer systems administrators

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), network and computer systems administrators typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as network and computer systems administrators as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for network and computer systems administrators.

Education attained by network and computer systems administrators
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for network and computer systems administrators

Although some employers require only a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree, most require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. There are degree programs that focus on computer network and system administration. However, because administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering usually is acceptable as well. Programs in these fields frequently include classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.

Because network technology is constantly changing, administrators need to keep up with the latest developments. Many continue to take courses throughout their careers and attend information technology (IT) conferences to keep up with the latest technology. Some businesses require that administrators have a master’s degree.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for network and computer systems administrators

Companies generally require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the products they use. Certification programs usually are offered directly from vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge and the use of best practices that are required of network and computer systems administrators. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for network and computer systems administrators? Below we see the distribution of network and computer systems administrators salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as network and computer systems administrators, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$64K$61K$69K$65K$73K$82K$84K$87K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KNone (0%)High School (7%)Some College (23%)Associate's Degree (16%)Bachelor's Degree (41%)Master's Degree (11%)Professional Deg/Doct (1%)Doctorate (1%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by network and computer systems administrators

This table shows the college majors held by people working as network and computer systems administrators. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Network and computer systems administrators with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
15.2%
$0$200K$87K
4.2%
$0$200K$97K
3.4%
$0$200K$63K
2.6%
$0$200K$78K
2.5%
$0$200K$92K
2.1%
$0$200K$53K
2.0%
$0$200K$73K
1.9%
$0$200K$73K
1.7%
$0$200K$67K
1.6%
$0$200K$56K
1.4%
$0$200K$63K
1.4%
$0$200K$60K
1.4%
$0$200K$89K
1.2%
$0$200K$72K
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as network and computer systems administrators, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by network and computer systems administrators given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Applications and systems software developersComputer programmersManagers (specialized areas)Computer and information systems managersComputer occupations (specialized areas)Computer systems analystsComputer support specialistsManagement analystsNetwork and computer systems administratorsChief executives and legislatorsAccountants and auditorsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersFinancial managersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesSecretaries and administrative assistantsHuman resources workersFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersMarketing and sales managersElectrical and electronics engineersEngineers (specialized areas)Architectural and engineering managersPostsecondary teachersCivil engineersRetail salespersonsElementary and middle school teachersInformation security analystsWeb developersComputer hardware engineersCounselorsSocial workersPsychologistsLawyers, judges, and magistratesPhysicians and surgeonsEducation administratorsComputer ScienceGeneral Computer andInformation SystemsBusiness Management andAdministrationManagement InformationSystems and StatisticsElectrical EngineeringGeneral BusinessComputer AdministrationManagement and SecurityInformation SciencesComputer EngineeringPsychologyAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for network and computer systems administrators

What jobs will most network and computer systems administrators hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of network and computer systems administrators reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Network and computer systems administratorsComputer support specialistsComputer occupations (specialized areas)Computer and information systems managersComputer systems analystsApplications and systems software developersManagers (specialized areas)Computer network architectsComputer programmersDatabase administratorsSecretaries and administrative assistantsRetail salespersonsFinancial managers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for network and computer systems administrators

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 10 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as network and computer systems administrators as well as 1% of respondents after working as network and computer systems administrators. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for network and computer systems administrators
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Secretaries and administrative assistants
395,200
$0$200K$36K
Applications and systems software developers
118,900
$0$200K$96K
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
Computer support specialists
72,300
$0$200K$54K
Computer systems analysts
45,200
$0$200K$75K
Computer and information systems managers
32,500
$0$200K$99K
Computer occupations (specialized areas)
22,500
$0$200K$68K
Computer programmers
15,700
$0$200K$82K
Computer network architects
11,700
$0$200K$95K
Database administrators
9,300
$0$200K$78K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for network and computer systems administrators: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as network and computer systems administrators? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of network and computer systems administrators surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for network and computer systems administrators
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Secretaries and administrative assistants
395,200
$0$200K$36K
1.1%
Applications and systems software developers
118,900
$0$200K$96K
5.8%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
2.1%
Computer support specialists
72,300
$0$200K$54K
6.3%
Designers
61,700
$0$200K$51K
1.1%
Computer systems analysts
45,200
$0$200K$75K
4.5%
Computer and information systems managers
32,500
$0$200K$99K
5.1%
Network and computer systems administrators
27,000
$0$200K$71K
32.7%
Computer occupations (specialized areas)
22,500
$0$200K$68K
7.7%
Computer programmers
15,700
$0$200K$82K
1.3%
Computer network architects
11,700
$0$200K$95K
2.7%
Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers
11,500
$0$200K$43K
1.8%
Information security analysts
10,400
$0$200K$88K
1.0%
Database administrators
9,300
$0$200K$78K
1.5%
No occupation
4.7%
Read about network and computer systems administrators
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:

  • Determine an organization’s system needs and install network hardware and software
  • Make needed upgrades and repairs to networks and ensure that systems are operating correctly
  • Maintain network and computer system security
  • Evaluate and optimize network or system performance
  • Add users to a network, and assign and update security permissions on the network
  • Train users in the proper use of hardware and software
  • Interpret and solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system alerts them that a problem exists

Administrators manage an organization’s servers and desktop and mobile equipment. They ensure that email and data storage networks work properly. They also make sure that employees’ workstations are working efficiently and stay connected to the central computer network. Some administrators manage telecommunication networks.

Administrators may help network architects design and analyze network models. They also participate in decisions about buying future hardware or software to upgrade their organization’s network. Some administrators provide technical support to computer users, and they also may supervise computer support specialists who help solve users’ problems.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of network and computer systems administrators? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Analytical skills
Administrators need to evaluate networks and systems to make sure that they perform reliably and to anticipate new requirements as customers’ needs change.
Communication skills
Administrators must describe problems and their solutions to non-IT workers.
Multitasking skills
Administrators may have to work on many problems and tasks at the same time.
Problem-solving skills
Administrators must quickly resolve problems that arise with computer networks.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for network and computer systems administrators
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for network and computer systems administrators was higher than 85% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $82KAll jobs' median $39K$79K$39K201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for network and computer systems administrators are anticipated to grow by 6% over the next decade; 57% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for network and computer systems administrators is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

201020152020202520300100,000200,000300,000400,000500,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most network and computer systems administrators? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as network and computer systems administrators. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Network and Computer Systems Administrators per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.02.04.06.08.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where network and computer systems administrators earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for network and computer systems administrators compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for network and computer systems administrators.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Network and Computer Systems Administrators to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which network and computer systems administrators earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.02.5
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Network and computer systems administrators (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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