Network Administrator Salary: Solid Pay for a Complex Job

In this age of the cloud, fewer and fewer businesses rely on on-premises servers and infrastructure. But even if they’re not tinkering with hardware in a basement datacenter, network administrators remain vital—they’re responsible for evaluating cloud platforms, keeping an eye out for system threats, and updating the tech stack as needed. How much is an “average” network administrator salary?

According to an analysis of Dice data, the average network administrator salary is $74,627 per year, a number that’s stayed roughly the same since 2016 (when it hovered at roughly $76,112). It’s a stable position, in other words, although salaries may vary wildly by city. Here’s a sampling:

In past years, a network administrator might spend an extraordinary amount of effort on selecting, installing, upgrading, and decommissioning new hardware. While they still need to integrate employee devices such as PCs and smartphones (hello, BYOD), the cloud has eliminated much of this hardware focus; there’s no need to worry about the physical maintenance of servers hosted by a tech giant on the other side of the country. That being said, network administrators must engage in the same kind of lifecycle and cost analysis for cloud products.

Boosting a network administrator salary is a matter of earning certifications. For example, earning a Cisco Certified Network Professional – Cloud certification can increase a network administrator’s base salary by 9 percent, according to David Foote, chief analyst of Foote Partners LLC. (This certification shows a tech pro’s knowledge of cloud administration, and ability to design and implement network, storage, and cloud infrastructure solutions.)

Experienced network administrators must also demonstrate incredible creativity and flexibility in the face of unexpected issues. Even relatively small companies can have fairly complex networks, which can produce all kinds of “interesting” problems. How network administrators react to these crises as they arise is a key aspect of their jobs.

Ultimately, network administrators (along with network engineers and system administrators) are some of the most vital tech pros within an organization. Without them, nothing works; the resiliency and integrity of the network degrades quickly. Given that need, a network administrator with the right mix of experience and certifications can look forward to a long, stable career.