What’s the difference between a network administrator and system administrator?

Network Admin versus System Admin Blog

There are many career opportunities in the information technology (IT) field. Choosing a path may seem complicated, but knowing the key differences between IT positions can help you find the right fit for your experience, interests and goals.

IT has dozens of careers, with several different certifications and degree pathways to get you where you want to go. But some of the jargon can get confusing, so we’re breaking down the differences and similarities between two careers that you may qualify for after pursuing a G3 IT program.

What is a systems administrator?

A systems administrator is in charge of overseeing an overall computer system. They are responsible for software and hardware installation and maintenance, data recovery and backup, account setup and training, and basic security best practices. In this role, a person is responsibility for the physical side of information technology, in addition to the software side of things – from computer servers and other hardware infrastructure. They may help install computer servers, update computer drives and software and set-up new users into the system.

What is a network administrator?

A network administrator is primarily responsible for maintaining network connectivity, like installing and supporting an organization’s local area network and managing internet systems, among other things. One of their main jobs is to set-up network equipment and ensure that their network infrastructure can support users and the business operations. Network administrators ensure IT systems don’t go down and figure out what’s causing the problems. They may install network hardware, monitor network activity and report and respond to outage reports.

Similarities in a system administrator and network administrator

Although system and network administrator jobs are distinct, they frequently overlap. Nonprofits or small organizations or businesses are more likely to have someone taking on the responsibilities of both a system administrator and a network administrator.

Both roles develop, support and maintain the technology of an organization – from install to troubleshooting.

Still trying to figure out which career path is right for you? Check G3’s IT programs and find which one of Virginia’s Community College has the right program for you.