What hat are you wearing today?

If you’re a network administrator, chances are, it’s more than one. The job has evolved since the 1990s, and with it the skills that an administrator has to bring to the table on a day-to-day basis.

“The main trend that we’re seeing between the 1990s and now is we’re seeing less specialization,” says Jason Eckert, longtime tech educator and IT faculty head at TriOS in Kitchener, Ont. “In the ’90s, you could get a job as a DBA, a database administrator. Today, you wouldn’t get a job as a DBA per se. DBA would be one part of an existing job as a general administrator.

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For more of Jason Eckert’s insights on technology careers, visit his Career Corner blog.

“We’re seeing more generalized stuff, and even more scripting. You’re responsible for making something work. So the network admin of today has a lot more pressures than the network admin of the ’90s,” Eckert says. “You don’t get hired for one job, and they pay you this to do that. You’re expected to use your skill set in various areas.”

New technologies such as virtualization are also changing the skills landscape for network admins, Eckert says. Eckert enumerated five skills network administrators need today that they didn’t need a few years ago for Network World Canada.

  1. Database administration
  2. Virtualization administration
  3. Certificate administration
  4. Open source
  5. Scripting