Tech Hiring Guide: Network Administrator

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Network Administrator

NetworkAdministratorNetwork administrators, like their system counterparts, are also in the operations and support side of an organization.  Network admins don’t typically get involved directly with user or customers, but work closely with sysadmins and other engineers.  This role’s main focus is on the network components of the technology and software infrastructure.

It is unlikely to see network admins in an organization that has a cloud platform setup, since their main responsibility is to make sure that hardware is set up correctly and that important systems have enough bandwidth and redundancy to serve requests quickly.  In other words, this role involves understanding and setting up hardware and the topology of how that hardware is connected. In the cloud, all of that hardware is obscured, which is why you don’t see this role at cloud-based companies.

This role also has some certifications for different types of hardware, like configuring routers and switches, but many of these are not required since most network administrators don’t specialize in one type of networking technology.  In smaller organizations, this role can also encompass sysadmin responsibilities, like setting up and maintaining printers, firewalls, WANs, IP phones, and mobile networks.

Questions for Network Administrators:

  • Q: What is a network?
    A: It never hurts to start with the basics. If the answer is satisfactory, follow up with “what is a router?”  A router is like the air traffic control at the airport; it routes planes to the right terminal.
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  • Q: How does DNS work?
    A: DNS is core to how the Internet works.  It stands for Domain Name System and is the primary mechanism that makes sure a web address (like www.dice.com) ends up in the right place so that the site shows up in the web browser.
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  • Q: What are some important considerations when designing an office network?
    A: A good candidate will ask questions and mention things like making sure everyone has the resources they need to do their job.  Ask about past experiences and mistakes, and what they learned from those challenges.

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