Find Your Career Path in Network Administration

Find Your Career Path in Network Administration

Considering a career in network administration? If so, you’ll need to get certified. In fact, you’ll need a series of certifications that map to the skills required to perform the job. While most network administrators have multiple certifications, it only takes one certification to begin a career. The combination of certifications and work-related experience is the key to developing and advancing a career in network administration. This guide will help you choose the certifications that will get you there.

So, why choose a career in network administration?

Network administration is in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of network and systems administration is growing at an annual rate of eight percent. This growth rate is higher than most professional careers and is expected to continue through 2024. However, the number of qualified administrators entering the field fails to keep pace with the demand for qualified talent. While this growing skills gap has been challenging for employers, it has created amazing employment opportunities for those with the right skills.

Charting a New Path

While the field of network administration has provided steady employment for years, it’s undergoing a major shift. Cloud technology is changing the way network administrators deliver IT services and those who fail to embrace this new technology will be left behind. If you’re committed to learning new technologies and developing new skills, here’s an ideal certification path for a rewarding career in network administration.

CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is an ideal certification for anyone beginning a career in IT. This two-exam certification teaches IT fundamentals and will qualify you for an entry-level role on a technical team. Common job titles associated with this certification include desktop support and helpdesk technician. Ultimately, these roles provide work-related experience needed to advance your career.

Most aspiring IT practitioners rely on online training resources and test-prep materials to prepare for the exam. However, virtual classrooms– webinar-style, instructor-led courses- are available for anyone preferring a live-classroom experience.

CompTIA A+ 220-901 covers:

• PC hardware and peripherals
• Mobile device hardware
• Networking and troubleshooting hardware
• Network connectivity issues

CompTIA A+ 220-902 covers:

• Installing and configuring operating systems
• Security
• The fundamentals of cloud computing
• Operational procedures

CompTIA Network+

Once you’ve achieved your CompTIA A+ and have begun your search for an entry-level IT position, get certified in CompTIA Network+. The CompTIA Network+ is your first real taste of networking. While A+ covers networking basics, Network+ takes a deeper dive. This is an ideal certification for anyone pursuing an entry-level role like network support. Without a doubt, the CompTIA Network+ is an ideal certification for beginning a career in network administration.

Popular resources to prepare for the exam include on-demand training and virtual classroom options. Although there are no prerequisites for this certification, CompTIA A+ is recommended. This is a certification that needs to be a part of your IT resume and can be achieved without any work-related experience.

CompTIA Network+ covers:

• Configuration
• Wired and wireless network devices
• Unified communications
• Mobile
• Cloud and virtualization technologies

CCNA

Cisco is the leader in Network technology and provides a host of services for network administrators to specialize in. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is an in-demand certification and only requires the successful completion of two qualifying exams. Achieving this certification can take anywhere from two to six months. Although there are no prerequisites for the CCNA, experience with networks and CompTIA Network+ is highly recommended.

The CCNA provides network administrators with credentials needed to land a career in network administration. The CCNA also allows aspiring network administrators to specialize their skills based on the Cisco services they intend to deliver.

CCNA specializations include:

• Cloud
• Collaboration
• Cyber Ops
• Data Center
• Design (CCDA)
• Routing and Switching
• Security
• Service Provider
• Wireless

MCSA

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) has a variety of specializations spanning from Cloud to Web Applications. However, anyone seeking a career in network administration should focus on Windows Server. The MCSA: Windows Server 2016 can take anywhere from three months to a year to complete. While there are no prerequisites for this certification, it’s recommended you first achieve the CompTIA A+ or Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA.)

Understanding systems, both virtual and physical, is imperative for any network administrator. Although the MCSA isn’t a requirement for a career in network administration, it will certainly enhance your technical credibility.

MCSA: Windows Server 2016 exams:

70-740 Installation, Storage and Compute with Windows Server 2016
70-741 Networking with Windows Server 2016
70-742 Identity with Windows Server 2016

Summing It Up

Network administration is at the core of most IT departments and serves a vital function for enterprise-level organizations. While this field continues to evolve with new technologies like virtualization, it continues to provide a host of employment opportunities for network administrators of all levels.

Anyone interested in learning more about certifications in network administration is encouraged to contact a friendly KnowledgeNet representative and discuss the training resources needed to begin a rewarding career.

Tom Hurst has been working in the information technology industry since 2008, and is currently writing engaging and informative articles about his experiences. Hurst also enjoys a life outside of IT that includes hunting, fishing and music composition.

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