Computer networks keep businesses, government agencies, health care providers and other organizations running. It is the responsibility of network systems analysts or administrators to keep those networks running. A network systems analyst installs and supports network hardware and software, monitors the network for problems and takes corrective or preventive action when needed. Since many networks must remain operational around the clock, it is not uncommon for network systems analysts to work non-traditional schedules.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the median salary for network systems analysts and administrators was just over $69,000 in 2010. Network systems analysts also have an excellent job outlook with a 10 year growth projection of 28 percent through 2020. Network analysts work in all industries, in both the private and public sectors.
Network systems analysts are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or information technology. Degree programs usually include classes in local-area and wide-area networks, wireless technology, network design and security. Because networks can support data, voice and video, courses will explore the effects of each type of service on the network and how this relates to performance, availability and information integrity.
Network systems analysts can build stronger credentials and move into higher salaried positions by pursuing certifications from vendors that provide networking equipment and technologies, such as Cisco. According to the website IT Career Finder, a network engineer who is Cisco-certified can earn as much as $114,000 annually. To build a bridge to that expert level, analysts can start by becoming a certified Cisco network associate, gaining foundational knowledge of Cisco routers and switches, along with technology theory, configuration and installation.
A typical day for a network systems analyst involves monitoring and analyzing network performance to keep applications and network hardware working properly. If a problem occurs, the analyst uses troubleshooting software to isolate and correct the issue. Network analysts also collaborate with application developers and network engineers to better understand the characteristics of hardware and software found in the workplace when they are working to resolve problems.
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