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What does a Network Manager do?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A network manager is typically responsible for setting up and overseeing the hardware and software utilized by a company or organization to create local and nonlocal networks. This will usually include servers, routers, and similar devices to allow large local area networks to be established for the various users of a company. Connections to the Internet will also typically be established in this type of setup, and large company networks may also be created, allowing employees to connect and utilize a network from all across a country or the world. A network manager will typically also oversee other network staff members to ensure proper maintenance and stability of servers and networks.

The specific duties of a person with this job will typically vary depending on the type of business he or she works for, though certain basic tasks are quite common. In general, he or she will usually oversee the establishment, maintenance, and security of networks within a company or organization. How this is done and what aspects of networking are emphasized will typically depend on the company.

A network manager working for a college or university, for example, may be expected to consider the networking needs of the school and make recommendations regarding hardware and software the school should purchase. If the school follows his or her recommendations, then he or she will likely be responsible for setting up the actual networks. This will usually include internal networks that allow students and staff to access class lessons, online class coursework, internal messaging systems, and numerous other communication and educational applications.

The network manager will also typically be responsible for helping set up larger external networks that allow computers on the campus to connect to the Internet. This can include computer rooms with multiple terminals, as well as wireless hot spots that can be used by faculty and students. A network manager will also typically have to consider network security and work to ensure that the students and staff can use the local and nonlocal networks safely, and that confidential data is secure.

Once all of this is initially set up, a network manager will usually oversee the continued operations of the network. This will often include training other network staff members to handle routine maintenance and other technical issues. In case of a major systems crash or security issue, however, the network manager may handle such a problem directly while directing staff members to deal with secondary issues or complaints from network users.

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Discussion Comments

By wiesen — On Jul 05, 2011

I think anyone working in IT, who works with clients or customers who are not very technologically-minded, have these types of experience. It just goes with the job, and hence the popular explanation of many problems: "PEBKAC" (Problem exists between keyboard and chair.")

By SushiChamp — On Jul 03, 2011

@Animalz – My brother is a network manager, and he loves every aspect of the job, except one: dealing with his co-workers.

Every time I see my brother, he complains about how clueless his co-workers are about technology. Part of his job is to visit people’s workstations if they call him to fix a problem. He went to one elderly co-worker’s station who was complaining that his computer wouldn’t turn on.

My brother walked all the way to the other side of the building to find that the man had unplugged his monitor for some reason and never plugged it back in! He gets at least one silly call like that every day.

My brother loves his work and doesn’t want to do anything else, but I thought I’d warn you about that aspect of the job.

By qwertyq — On Jul 02, 2011

@Animalz – I’m a network manager. I make $89,000 annually, and that’s about average. It’s tough being a network manager for a large company. No amount of money will make up for things if you hate your job, so just remember that.

Another thing to consider is that every computer in the network you manage has its own personality. All the wires and routers do, too. For example, we have a faulty connection somewhere in our accounting department, and I have to go disconnect and reconnect the main cable for that section twice a day. I’ve run diagnostic tests, but still can’t find the problem.

Stuff like that pops up all the time in this job, so if that sounds annoying to you, you might want to choose another profession.

By Animalz — On Jul 02, 2011

What’s the average network manager salary? I’m in my first year of college, and after I get the basic classes down, I’ll start learning the network management stuff. I still have time to change majors, though, so I need all the information I can get. Network managers have a lot of responsibilities. I hope the pay makes it worthwhile.

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