Approximately 383,900 computer network and systems administrators are employed in the United States. Any company or organization that uses computer networks in its business employs network administrators. These include insurance companies, banks, financial institutions, health care organizations, federal, state, and local governments, colleges and universities, and other organizations that rely on networking. Also, since smaller companies are moving to client-server models, more opportunities at almost any kind of business are becoming available. Network administrators also work at information technology firms that provide network consulting or support services to organizations on a contract basis.
If you are a student in a technical school or university, take advantage of your campus career services office. Check regularly for internship postings, job listings, and notices of on-campus recruitment events. Career services offices are also valuable resources for resume tips and interviewing techniques. Internships and summer jobs with corporations are always beneficial and provide experience that will give you the edge over your competition. General computer job fairs are also held throughout the year in larger cities.
There are many online career sites that post job openings, salary surveys, and current employment trends. The Web also has online publications that deal specifically with computer jobs. You can also obtain information from computer organizations, such as the IEEE Computer Society and the Network Professional Association.
When a job opportunity arises, you should send a cover letter and resume to the company promptly. Follow up your mailing with an e-mail or phone call about one week later. If interested, the company recruiter will call you to ask questions and possibly arrange an interview. You should also look for jobs at employment Web sites. Otherwise, you can scan the classified ads in local newspapers and computer magazines or work with an employment agency to find such a position.
Individuals already employed but wishing to move into computer networking should investigate the possibility of tuition reimbursement from their employer for network certification. Many large companies have this type of program, which allows employees to train in a field that would benefit company operations. After successfully completing classes or certification, individuals are better qualified for related job openings in their own company and more likely to be hired into them.
Among the professional options available are promotion to network manager or movement into network engineering. Network engineers and architects design, test, and evaluate network systems, such as LAN, WAN, Internet, and other data communications systems. They also perform modeling, analysis, and planning. Network engineers might also research related products and make hardware and software recommendations.
Network specialists also have the option of going into a different area of computing. They can become computer programmers, systems analysts, software engineers, or multimedia professionals. All of these promotions require additional education and solid computer experience.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join the Network Professional Association (NPA) and other organizations to access training and networking resources, take advantage of discounts on industry conferences, and obtain access to employment opportunities.
Read Network Professional Journal (http://www.npa.org/public/publications_npj.cfm) to learn more about the industry.