System administration is very important for students

What does a network administrator do?

Key facts

Activities of a network administrator

As a network administrator, you manage computer systems and networks, and you have extensive access rights to the respective system. You plan, install, configure and maintain or maintain the corresponding IT infrastructures of companies, institutions or other organizations and carry out all manual activities that are required for the ongoing operation of the computer systems or systems. As a network administrator, you face a great deal of responsibility. Because the IT infrastructure in particular determines the flow of the respective business processes to a decisive extent in numerous companies or organizations. As a network administrator, your work has meanwhile become a business-critical factor, as the smooth functioning of the information technology infrastructure is of great importance.

The field of tasks of a system administrator is basically broad. The following main activities can be named:

  • You have to manage the functionality of the workstation computer as well as the entire system.
  • One of your most important tasks is the permanent adjustment, measurement or checking and configuration of server systems.
  • You also take on a crucial advisory and support role. In order to achieve a corresponding work effectiveness within the company, it is therefore your area of ​​responsibility to support the users, to realize a continuous close cooperation with the respective data center management and - with regard to the use of information technology - the IT management about current developments and Teach trends.
  • The administration of user rights.
  • Realize the administration of storage systems.
  • Data backup and data recovery.
  • Permanent maintenance of the hardware and software to guarantee their functionality.
  • As a network administrator, you are also responsible for network monitoring and planning.
  • The software distribution is also part of your area of ​​responsibility.


As a network administrator, however, you do not necessarily need comprehensive knowledge of the entire range of information technology infrastructure. Depending on the orientation, size of a company and the complexity of the IT structures provided, there are various specializations, each of which requires different core competencies. So you can specialize in the following areas and tasks:

  • Specialization in storage systems: As a network administrator who specializes in this regard, you are responsible for the configuration and administration of the central storage infrastructure such as the Storage Area Network segment. Your most important activities are the management of central backup solutions, the control of access rights and the administration of storage space in central pools.
  • Specialization in operating systems: The focus is on workstation and server systems, which you, as a topic-specific network administrator, have to take care of. In this regard, your field of activity focuses, for example, on the administration and optimization of hardware and software, user support and administration, system integration, performance analyzes and adjustments, and the areas of backup and recovery.
  • Specializing in databases: In this case, you will become a database administrator (DBA) who takes care of the installation, coordination and general administration of relational databases.
  • Specialization in networks and infrastructure: As a correspondingly specialized network administrator, you are responsible for the conception and monitoring of the physical structure, the network structure, the network components, the infrastructure server including the directory services (LDAP, DNS etc.) as well as the company-wide printing services.
  • Specialization in web servers and mail systems: Within this specialization, you primarily deal with the configuration and administration of the web server as well as the mail and groupware systems.

In the video: Fabian Wrba, network administrator

How do I become a network administrator?

Many network administrators take the path through training, but many university graduates also find entry-level jobs in system administration. Then of course a computer science or information technology degree is the best way to go, but you can also find graduates of natural sciences and engineering courses as system administrators. “Networks and distributed systems” is usually part of the catalog of compulsory subjects in computer science courses. You can study computer science nationwide at almost all colleges and universities in Germany, plus you can choose an information technology focus in countless natural science and engineering courses. There are also countless courses that specialize in a certain area of ​​application of computer science, such as bioinformatics [link to bioinformatics]. Geoinformatics, energy informatics, medical informatics, media informatics and much more.

Duration of study:

  • 6-7 semesters (Bachelor), whereby the seventh semester is usually the compulsory practical semester that you have to complete in a university of applied sciences courses.
  • 3-4 additional semesters (Master)

The manufacturers of network-compatible hardware and operating systems also offer courses, with the completion of which you qualify as a certified system administrator for the respective systems. Such certifications are available from Cisco, Microsoft, Linux, Apple, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, Juniper and Novell, for example. With the manufacturer-independent certification according to the international standard DIN EN ISO / IEC 17024 you can prove that you are familiar with the work processes of a network administrator.

Where can I work as a network administrator?

You will find a job as a network administrator in IT companies, for example, or as an IT expert in companies of all kinds, provided that they make a corresponding effort with regard to their own network and the associated components. In larger companies, you usually work in a team that includes, for example, an IT specialist and an IT system electronics specialist, while in smaller companies you are often the only network administrator. You can also work as a network administrator for a web host (in the data center). If you occupy a position of this kind, your area of ​​responsibility as a network administrator is particularly high.

Network Administrator Career and Salary

As a rule, your starting salary as a network administrator is around 32,000 to 35,000 euros per year. The more professional experience you have and the more responsibility you take on or can take on, the more salary you will usually receive from your employer. In this way, you will achieve an average salary of 45,000 euros per year after just a few years. Please note that this is only an average value. In practice there can be glaring "outliers" both upwards and downwards. The fact is, however, that the size of the company is very important in this industry. The more employees are employed in a company, the higher your income will usually be. An IT administrator or a network administrator who works in a company with over 1,000 employees therefore comes to 80,000 euros per year. If this merit is compared with the salary of an IT systems electronics engineer, for example, an enormous discrepancy can be observed. On average, an IT system electronics technician who has completed vocational training hardly earns more than 28,000 euros a year.

What specializations and alternatives are there to becoming a network administrator?

The network administrator profession offers numerous alternatives. You can find the most important ones listed below.

  • Content manager
  • Database professional
  • Database administrator
  • Database developer
  • Computer scientist