Why Earn a Master’s in Network Administration?
If you are planning on earning your master’s degree in network administration, it may open the door for you to develop and design new ways of using computing technology. You will be responsible for finding new uses for existing technology and you can be a leader in discovering new pathways to innovation in network and computer systems administration. Even if you’re not interested in creating new technologies, you will likely need a master’s if you want to enter the field in a managerial position, such as a network administrator job. With this degree, you can step right into management without taking years to earn the otherwise necessary experience required for network administrators. Luckily, those who are busy at work can choose to earn this degree through part-time online courses, a hybrid program with some courses you attend online and some courses you attend in-person, or a fully online degree program that is more intense and allows you to complete the degree in 2 years, which is the usual timeframe for master's degrees.
Core courses in a Master of Science degree in network administration might include a variety of subjects, including:
- General Computer Science
- Network Security
- Operating Systems
- Network Design and Networking Techniques
- Computer Networking
- Network and Communications Management
- Networking and Systems Administration
- Online Network Security
If students would like to go straight from network administration bachelor degree programs into master’s, they may be able to find bridge courses. These require you to have strong backgrounds in networking and systems administration, as well as other areas. In the bridge courses, you would take core courses that help you correct any deficiencies in your bachelor's degree program. Barring this, students might find accelerated online courses to complete their bachelor's and master's quickly or an accelerated master's program that is fully online.
Earning a Master of Science degree in network security, networking and systems administration, or network and communications management allows you to set yourself apart from the crowd of people who have earned bachelor’s network security degrees, computer science degrees, or others in this field. Future employers will know that you have the qualifications they want in their network administrators.
You should already know what you want to gain from a Master of Science degree. Having this information allows you to be more selective in choosing your master’s program, whether you are interested in online or traditional courses.
You may see your salary increase once you’ve earned your master’s degree. That degree means you may earn a premium beyond what other network administrators earn.
While earning a master’s degree may be a tempting consideration, you might want to think about gaining job experience first and even joining professional organizations. If you decide to go into an online graduate program in network administration without gaining the necessary experience and knowledge, you’re running the risk of still being declined for a network administrator job, or any other high-level jobs you apply for. And, graduate programs, even online ones, sometimes require that you have experience to be accepted.
You may dread the thought of returning to school to work on a new degree. You might lose time at work or with your family, as well as pay.
The time required for a master’s in networking and systems administration means you’re going to be studying for long hours every week, even if you attend online. If you have a family, you may miss out on activities and everyday family time.
What are the Best Online Network Administration Master's Degree & Concentration Programs?
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
- Net Price:$14,328
- Retention Rate:94%
- Graduation Rate:84%
- Total Enrollment:36,042
- Undergrad Students:26,150
- Graduate Students:9,892
- Diplomas Awarded:53
- Grads Salary:$76,000
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- Net Price:$20,109
- Retention Rate:93%
- Graduation Rate:87%
- Total Enrollment:37,024
- Undergrad Students:30,020
- Graduate Students:7,004
- Diplomas Awarded:NA
- Grads Salary:$79,000
North Carolina A&T State University
- Net Price:$9,145
- Retention Rate:80%
- Graduation Rate:53%
- Total Enrollment:12,753
- Undergrad Students:11,130
- Graduate Students:1,623
- Diplomas Awarded:50
- Grads Salary:$75,000
Rochester Institute of Technology
- Net Price:$35,012
- Retention Rate:86%
- Graduation Rate:69%
- Total Enrollment:16,158
- Undergrad Students:13,412
- Graduate Students:2,746
- Diplomas Awarded:6
- Grads Salary:$81,000
East Carolina University
- Net Price:$14,762
- Retention Rate:81%
- Graduation Rate:66%
- Total Enrollment:28,021
- Undergrad Students:22,463
- Graduate Students:5,558
- Diplomas Awarded:NA
- Grads Salary:$65,000
- Net Price:$37,868
- Retention Rate:88%
- Graduation Rate:82%
- Total Enrollment:6,600
- Undergrad Students:5,682
- Graduate Students:918
- Diplomas Awarded:NA
- Grads Salary:$69,000
Colorado Technical University
- Net Price:$17,286
- Retention Rate:48%
- Graduation Rate:23%
- Total Enrollment:28,244
- Undergrad Students:24,759
- Graduate Students:3,485
- Diplomas Awarded:NA
- Grads Salary:$86,000
- Net Price:$29,115
- Retention Rate:54%
- Graduation Rate:42%
- Total Enrollment:20,832
- Undergrad Students:17,174
- Graduate Students:3,658
- Diplomas Awarded:91
- Grads Salary:$72,000
- Net Price:$22,776
- Retention Rate:60%
- Graduation Rate:21%
- Total Enrollment:10,457
- Undergrad Students:7,124
- Graduate Students:3,333
- Diplomas Awarded:NA
- Grads Salary:$67,000
Overview of an online Master's in Network Administration
What Network Administration Master’s Degrees are Available Online?
- Master of Science in Information Technology
You’ll learn about information security and assurance, business intelligence, analytics, and project management. You’ll also gain hands-on learning experience because the courses have been created and built by practicing IT professionals. As with online bachelor's degrees with this focus, courses on this topic are easy to shift to online learning platforms, making this an optimal choice for those who with to learn online.
- Master of Business Administration with an Information Assurance Concentration
You’ll work on learning about secure networks, computers, and practices that help to reduce threats from outside and inside sources. Your courses help you learn to protect hardware and software, as well as how to communicate effectively with personnel at all levels of your employer’s business. These degrees can be found online and in more traditional settings.
- Master of Science in Information and Communications Technology with a Concentration in Database Design and Administration
This graduate program teaches online and traditional students how to improve business efficiency and performance by building credible databases. You’ll learn that it’s up to a knowledgeable database administrator to develop and provide those advanced solutions for your organization. You’ll perform data warehousing, data modeling, and performance tuning.
- Business Administration - Information Management (MBA-IM)
You’ll begin to augment your management skills in this program and begin to provide management perspectives in several areas of business, including information technology. You’ll learn both practical and theoretical approaches to business administration as you develop your own leadership style. This degree also lends itself well to online learning, though many students choose to attend through a hybrid program (a mix of online and in-person) in order to gain networking possibilities with other students.
As with other admissions processes, you’ll have to submit your personal and educational paperwork. This will begin with official transcripts from your last university. Take the GRE or GMAT and have your test scores sent to each university you’re considering. Testing agencies will send your scores directly to each school.
Submit a personal statement, letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume, along with any other required materials. These may include a portfolio, writing sample, and a self-study. After gathering all required documents, submit them to each university you are considering. Submit your application fee with all of your application materials. Online programs will require the same admission materials as traditional programs.
How long does it take to earn a Network Administration Master’s Online?
Because you have already taken all of the general education requirements in your undergraduate program, you’ll simply move right into the courses required of your specific degree. Programs require about 36 credit hours for you to complete your degree program. If you’re attending full-time, strive to take a full course load. If you’re going to school online, you may be on the quarterly term system. Then, you’ll be able to take one or two courses per quarter. An online, quarterly term or semester program means you may be in school a little more than two years.
Potential Careers in Network Administration with a Master’s
Once you graduate from your online master’s program in network administration, you may decide to continue in your former job. Or, if you left work to go to school full-time, you may decide to return or find a new position. Here are a few of the positions you may be able to enter.
- System Administrator
While this may be a lower level position for someone with a master’s degree, your job role is still vital to your employer. You ensure that your employer’s computer systems are maintained regularly and operating correctly. You will coordinate workflow. Expect to communicate with your co-workers as you troubleshoot issues.
Average annual salary - $62,800
- Computer Network Architect
You are responsible for designing and reviewing all network requirements and capabilities within your employer’s company. You’ll validate high-level design plans so that the new network operates as desired. You’ll also evaluate new technologies as they come out, then analyze and explain the cost of each.
Average annual salary – $121,800
- Digital Forensic Examiner
You have to analyze computer-based information and find any forensics evidence that may exist. You’ll go through large amounts of data, looking for specific items for your employer. You’ll work with computer hard drives and storage devices, looking for computer programs and user patterns so you can recover information from destroyed devices.
Average annual salary – $64,100
- Information Security Analyst
It’s your job to find and provide security solutions for your employer. You’ll research, collate data, develop secure strategies, and ensure maximum productivity. You also implement security by following strict privacy policies. Your skills need to be advanced so you can find vulnerabilities and eliminate them.
Average annual salary – $72,700
- Network Engineer
You will design and create new computer networks for your employer, then ensure they work properly. You may also maintain networks for third-party clients. You’ll use problem-solving skills to find solutions when the networks don’t work correctly. You’ll monitor and diagnose performance issues with network architecture and design and implement business solutions with network equipment.
Average annual salary - $74,600
Options to Advance
You could begin working as a computer network architect and get experience in the building and use of new computer networks. After accumulating some experience, you can more easily move into an online master’s network administration program. Once you have earned your online master’s degree, you may receive a promotion to a senior network architect position. You’ll create plans and layouts for new data communication networks, present these plans to management, and explain why the organization needs them.
If you plan to move into leadership, an online master’s degree will allow you to do so. You may begin to take the lead with IT activities, managing technology teams.