Career Development

What Does a Network Manager Do?

Find out what a Network Manager does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Network Manager.

The Network Manager plays an integral role in ensuring the smooth operation and reliability of an organization’s network infrastructure. This position involves overseeing the design, implementation, and maintenance of networking systems that support the flow of information within and outside the company. By coordinating with IT staff and other departments, the Network Manager ensures that the network meets the current needs and is scalable for future requirements. Their responsibilities also include managing network security, troubleshooting issues, and optimizing network performance to provide a stable and efficient environment for business operations and communication. Through strategic planning and effective management, the Network Manager supports the organization’s goals by ensuring uninterrupted network services.

Network Manager Job Duties

  • Design, implement, and manage the organization’s network infrastructure, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, and Internet and intranet systems to ensure high levels of data availability and network performance.
  • Oversee the installation, configuration, and maintenance of network hardware and software, ensuring the network operates without interruption and meets organizational performance standards.
  • Implement and maintain network security measures, including firewalls, anti-virus software, and intrusion detection systems to protect data and systems from external and internal threats.
  • Allocate network resources, assigning IP addresses, managing subnetting, and configuring VLANs to optimize the performance and security of the network.
  • Monitor network performance, analyzing traffic patterns and bandwidth usage, to identify and resolve bottlenecks or other issues that may impact network efficiency.
  • Coordinate with vendors and service providers to negotiate contracts for network hardware, software, and telecommunications services, ensuring cost-effective procurement and maintenance of network resources.
  • Develop and implement disaster recovery plans and data backup procedures to ensure network and data integrity in case of system failures or other disruptions.
  • Research and deploy new networking technologies and practices, such as software-defined networking (SDN) or network functions virtualization (NFV), to enhance network flexibility and support future organizational growth.

Network Manager Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a Network Manager’s salary include industry sector (e.g., finance typically pays more than education), company size (larger companies often offer higher salaries), years of experience (more experience generally leads to higher pay), and specific technical skills relevant to the company’s network infrastructure (e.g., expertise in cloud computing).

  • Median Annual Salary: $110,250 ($53/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $257,400 ($123.75/hour)

The employment of network managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing reliance on robust IT infrastructures and cloud computing across all sectors, necessitating skilled Network Managers to oversee, upgrade, and secure network systems, ensuring efficient data flow and cybersecurity in an era of escalating digital threats and expanding remote work environments.

Network Manager Job Requirements

Education: A Network Manager typically holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or related fields, with coursework in network architecture, systems administration, and cybersecurity. Advanced positions may require a Master’s Degree, focusing on specialized areas like network security or information systems management. Associate Degrees in network administration or computer networking can also serve as a foundation, supplemented by further education or experience to advance in the field. Relevant academic backgrounds are crucial for understanding the complexities of network infrastructure and ensuring efficient, secure operations.

Experience: Network Managers typically emerge from a background rich in hands-on experience within IT and network administration. Their journey often includes extensive on-the-job training, where they’ve honed skills in managing network infrastructure, troubleshooting, and ensuring cybersecurity measures are up to par. Many have progressed through roles that allowed them to develop leadership abilities, project management skills, and a deep understanding of network technologies through practical application. Participation in formal training programs, workshops, and continuous learning opportunities to stay abreast of the latest technologies is also common among successful candidates in this field.

Certifications & Licenses: Network Manager positions often require or benefit from certifications such as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), CompTIA Network+, and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). No specific licenses are typically required for this role.

Network Manager Skills

Infrastructure Design: Network Managers are tasked with creating a network infrastructure that not only meets current organizational needs but is also scalable for future growth. The architecture must support expansion while ensuring security and efficiency, requiring a balance between technical requirements and budget constraints. Innovations to integrate new technologies are often necessary to enhance performance and user experience.

Capacity Planning: Analyzing usage patterns and predicting growth allows for the efficient handling of current and future data traffic demands without overprovisioning resources. By strategically planning expansions and upgrades, Network Managers can optimize network performance and cost-effectiveness.

Disaster Recovery Planning: Strategies to minimize downtime and data loss in the event of a network failure are critical. Knowledge of the organization’s network architecture and the latest disaster recovery technologies is essential. Coordinating recovery efforts to maintain business continuity and protect sensitive information is a key responsibility.

Network Optimization: Identifying potential bottlenecks before they occur and deploying solutions to enhance data flow and user experience across the network infrastructure is crucial. Through traffic analysis and the implementation of strategic routing protocols, Network Managers ensure optimal performance and minimal downtime.

Security Protocol Implementation: To safeguard network infrastructure against cyber threats, robust security measures are deployed and managed. This includes configuring firewalls, setting up VPNs, and regularly updating security protocols to thwart unauthorized access and data breaches, ensuring uninterrupted business operations.

Wireless Technology Management: Knowledge of protocols, security standards, and device compatibility is essential for deploying, configuring, and maintaining wireless networks, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. Network Managers work to ensure seamless connectivity and optimal performance for all wireless devices and access points within the organization’s infrastructure.

Network Manager Work Environment

A Network Manager typically operates within a structured office environment, where the layout is designed to support both individual focus and team collaboration. The workspace is equipped with multiple monitors, high-speed internet connections, and advanced networking tools to monitor and manage the organization’s network infrastructure efficiently.

Work hours for a Network Manager may extend beyond the traditional 9-to-5, due to the need for maintaining network uptime and addressing any issues that arise, potentially requiring after-hours availability. The dress code tends to lean towards business casual, reflecting a balance between professionalism and comfort suitable for both office settings and data center visits.

The role involves a significant level of interaction with other IT professionals, management, and sometimes external vendors, necessitating strong communication skills. The pace can be fast, driven by technology updates and the need to preemptively address network vulnerabilities. Opportunities for professional development are abundant, given the rapid evolution of technology, with many organizations supporting certifications and training.

Advancement Prospects

A Network Manager can ascend to higher roles such as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Director of Information Technology (IT), focusing on strategic planning and organizational growth. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of both the technical and business aspects of an organization.

To progress, a Network Manager should cultivate leadership skills and gain experience in project management, budgeting, and strategic decision-making. Involvement in large-scale projects and initiatives showcases the ability to handle complex challenges and lead teams effectively.

Networking within professional circles and contributing to industry discussions can also elevate a Network Manager’s profile, making them a prime candidate for advanced positions. Demonstrating a track record of innovation and efficiency improvements within an organization’s network infrastructure is crucial.

Ultimately, transitioning from a Network Manager to a top executive role involves a blend of technical prowess, business acumen, and leadership capabilities. Tailoring one’s career path towards these areas is essential for advancement.


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