The Network Administrator

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 The Network Administrator  





What is a network administrator?

From a purely functional perspective, it's the person responsible for ensuring the health and well-being of a network. He or she has to be able to install and configure hardware and software and ensure that the infrastructure of the network is sound.

In a large corporation, that's an apt, general description of a network administrator's duties. However, the vast majority of network administrators don't work in large companies. They work in small-to-mid-sized enterprises, where they wear a multitude of hats. It's not uncommon for a network administrator to bear responsibility for almost all aspects of technology—whether they're computer-related or not. All too often, this is because many people have become "default administrators" simply because they have a knack for computers and technology.

This chapter is an attempt to ensure that network administrators have an appropriate understanding of the basic tasks essential to the successful management of a network. But even if you're not interested in becoming a network administrator, the maintenance of a network is central to its very existence. The next few hours not only describe the duties of the network

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administrator, they will also deepen your understanding of networking in general.

Managing a network is not a homogenous job. Instead, it's a melange of several different jobs:

  • Architect
  • Detail-oriented record keeper
  • Troubleshooter
  • Facilitator
  • Coach
  • Teacher

This isn't a complete list, either. Network administration accretes new tasks like the bottom of a boat accretes barnacles—they're a natural outgrowth of a vigorous and growing environment, even if they don't make you particularly happy. So don't take what's in this chapter as a complete list of the tasks of successful network administration; instead, look at the information here as a baseline. Depending on your environment, you'll find your job is diverse enough to prevent boredom—as well as being something you can make your own.





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