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The Title Network Administrator is a Title of Experience
by Douglas Chick

I receive a good chunk of e-mail from people asking what courses they should take to become a network administrator, the truth is, I don't know if there are any courses that can prepare you. Most of what a network administrator learns, he or she acquires on the job. Below is a brief listing of what all network administrators know to do their jobs.

You should learn basic networking, intermediate networking, and advanced networking. You should learn about basic printers, (Out of Paper) intermediate printing, (Out of toner) and advanced Printing techniques. (Paper Jam)  You should become certified in Fax Machines, (see printers with a modem) and you should avoid copy machines altogether. You should also learn how to program routers, switches and phone systems, but that will all come in time. After all your not expected to know everything...Wait, that's wrong. You are expected to know everything. EVERYTHING! 

You will have to learn an E-mail program, a Firewall program and a Intrusion Detection program. SQL, an Accounting package and a Time Clock program. You should learn Excel, (.xls, is an extension of Excel that you’d better get used to restoring from backup tape.) and a Backup Program. Word, Word Perfect if you have lawyers and stupid PowerPoint. You should learn how to punch down Cat5 cabling, crimp patch cables and how to communicate with the emotionally disturbed and mentally challenged. So you will want to take a few classes in psychiatry and hypnosis if your school offers it. You will also want to learn HTML, Photoshop and how to remove a virus from your computer registry. Learning Virus protection software is also very important because it is essential to learn right away that Anti-Virus programs only works on viruses that you don't have. Service Packs are the most important tool to protect you from attacks, unfortunately they are always 3 to 5 months behind on the current list of vulnerabilities and the software makers won't warn or acknowledge them until that have a fix. You must keep your service packs updated daily because it is an unimaginable endless process and the first time you forget the software maker uses it as an excuse to blames you the problems you are having.  Finally, mostly because I'm getting bored with writing this, You must also be capable of learning any and every third party software in less time than it takes vacuum suck the lint out of a computer case. 

Additionally, but more importantly, you must learn Unix, Linux Windows 2000 Advanced Server, NT 4, 3.51 and Netware 3.11 through 4.12. Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, WINS, TCP/IP, Subnetting, Rconsole, Pconsole, Samba. And remember where to place your forward slashes and back slashes because at this point it is easy to always be confused. 

Above is the short list of things you should know to become a network administrator. In time you will know everything that I just stated and much more. Until than you do, just say "Reboot" a lot until you're caught up the to rest of us. 




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