Road To MCSE: The Future Of Network Administration

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Nov 26, 2000


Thomas Shinder

I read an interesting article recently addressing the disappointing pay rates commanded by today's network administrators. It appears that the pot of gold promised by less than ethical training firms is beginning to look like a pot of coal for those who sought to enter the industry with dollar signs in their eyes. However, the article took me aback because I found the low rates somewhat surprising.

I read an interesting article recently addressing the disappointing pay rates commanded by todays network administrators. It appears that the pot of gold promised by less than ethical training firms is beginning to look like a pot of coal for those who sought to enter the industry with dollar signs in their eyes. However, the article took me aback because I found the low rates somewhat surprising.

Traditionally, the network administrator for even medium sized concerns was responsible for virtually the entirety of the network design and function from the ground up. A single individual, or more likely, a single small group of individuals, was responsible for the software, hardware and network infrastructure. These individuals had years of practical, hands-on experience and a depth of knowledge consistent with their experience. These people commanded high salaries because no one else could do their jobs. If the company lost one of these key team members, they were hard pressed to replace him.

But like all industries, the IT industry has become exponentially more complex. The amount of information a person needs to learn in order to be a well-rounded and well-qualified member of a network administration and design team has increased at a Malthusian rate. Those people that have been in the business for years have a learning curve, but since they are "at their core" network engineers, their learning curve isn't nearly as steep as it is for those with limited experience.

Another important factor is that the number of applicants for jobs in the industry has increased by leaps and bounds. But not all applicants are created equal. A lot of them want "jobs", and hopefully well paying jobs. The person looking for a "job" is quite different than the person who is making for himself a professional career.

On the next page, we'll talk about the "job" seeker.

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