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A LAN administrator oversees the usage, performance, and security of a local area computer network to ensure its safety and reliability. Excellent computer, troubleshooting, and management skills are required to become a LAN administrator. Many employers also require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for an entry-level position. Professional certification for a variety of software programs is needed as well. You will probably need to begin with an entry-level position to gain the practical work experience needed to become a LAN administrator.
An extensive knowledge of computer hardware, software, and networking is typically required to become a LAN administrator. You must have good troubleshooting skills to quickly and effectively solve problems that keep the network from operating correctly. In many cases, you will be required to implement security measures need to keep confidential data safe. A LAN administrator is also responsible for training network users with varying amounts of computer knowledge.
There is no definite educational path to become a LAN administrator, as employers typically have industry-specific skill requirements. Most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but some will accept an associate’s degree to begin an on-the-job training program. Companies with very large computer networks may require you to complete a master’s degree before or after employment. Most computer science programs include courses in computer programming, networking, and systems design, as well as systems security and database management. You may also want to take some courses in communications and management to learn how to effectively train and manage a workforce.
A variety of different software certifications is also needed to become a LAN administrator. It is a good idea to become certified in the most commonly-used programs before seeking employment. A brief training class and examination are usually required for certification and continuing education may be necessary for recertification. Certification exams and training classes are typically offered by the software manufacturer and a fee is often required.
LAN administrators typically begin this career by working in an entry-level position to learn the practical application of their education. This on-the-job training period may last for several months or longer depending on the size of the computer network. Most entry-level positions are limited to computer repair and maintenance to allow you to become familiar with specific hardware and software used by the organization. During this training period, your employer will assess your ability to work with computer equipment and users. Advancement to an administrative position typically occurs as your technical and management skills are perfected.