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The role of a network manager is to oversee the installation and maintenance of a company's computer networking system. In small companies, the network manager may be the only IT employee. For larger companies, the network manager typically supervises a staff of IT technicians and administrators. Regardless of the company's size or number of employees, the primary role of a network manager is to be sure the network runs as smoothly as possible.
Usually the network manager must evaluate and install hardware and software. Even if he or she has subordinate employees to handle the initial work, the responsibility for software and hardware ultimately falls to the network manager. He or she also evaluates software and hardware for possible purchase by the company.
Network system maintenance is also within the role of a network manager. Some networks are very detailed and complicated, while others are simple and straightforward. The network manager is expected to keep the network running, either by handling the work or by delegating it to subordinates. This responsibility typically requires the manager to have a college degree in the field of computer networking and constant continuing education to keep up with trends in business technology.
When the network goes down, it can be very costly to a company. In some instances it can also trigger hardship for outside companies that depend on products or services from the company in question. The network manager's role is to design a crisis plan to be used in the event the network goes down. This plan often gets the network up and rolling as quickly as possible or switches the entire thing to piggyback with another system until repairs can be made.
Communication with members of management is another role filled by the network manager. Attending department meetings and educating department heads on what is and is not possible with regard to the company's computer system is a duty of the network manager. For example, the network manager can address questions about adding more printers to the current system.
Another role of a network manager is to be educated in all aspects of running a networking system. In some cases, the network manager is expected to oversee the running of several systems. Maintaining professional relationships with industry experts is something many network managers consider essential to performing their duties. It is through those relationships that the manager is privy to coming news regarding the latest technology.