Network administrators are typically responsible for maintaining a company’s computer network, both hardware and software. In larger companies, they may take care of networking components as part of a team while in smaller companies they may be the sole administrator for a network and may also take care of user support and maintenance.
Certifications for Network Administrators
While not all network administrator positions require the same certifications exactly, there are some common ones that most will need.
CompTIA A+ is a foundational certification that teaches the basics of networks including installation, configuring, maintenance, basic security, and preventative maintenance. This certification is used by many vendors like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Cisco, and it is mandatory for some, but it is vendor neutral, so the information will apply wherever you work.
CompTIA Network+ builds on A+ and covers some of the same material on a much deeper level. This certification expects IT professionals to be able to explain how the components of networks function and to be able to work more independently on larger networks or to lead a team.
CompTIA Security+ is the next step after Network+ and requires two years of networking experience in order to qualify. At this level, cybersecurity principles and skills are taught, and IT professionals are expected to be able to identify and prevent security threats as well as fix security problems when they occur. Since maintaining network security is a part of the job for many network administrators, employers like to see this certification when putting someone in charge of a large and complex network that has data that must be kept private, like client records or financial information.
Choosing a Vendor
The above certifications are all vendor-neutral, but by the time you complete them, it may be time to choose between additional certifications that are specific to Linux (which is open source but still requires specific skills), Microsoft, or Cisco. By this point, you probably have an IT job, so it may just be a matter of choosing the one you are currently working with. If not, it may be useful to ask around and find out which companies use which vendors, then choose the one that you think will be best for your aspirations.
CompTIA Linux+ certification is required or preferred by many large employers like Dell, Novell, Hewlett Packard, and IBM. This certification teaches open source skills and can be applied to other open source environments even if it focuses on Linux.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) teaches skills specific to Windows Server, an extremely popular software used by many companies.
Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) is focused on Cisco-specific network security and administrating small branch enterprise networks, and is a foundational certification to other Cisco titles.
With these certifications, you are well on your way to becoming a network administrator, one of the most common IT hands-on or management positions. PC AGE offers courses that prepare students to be network administrators as well as many other IT positions. Request info to see for yourself all that we offer.