Computer Network Tutorial

Difference B/W Articles

Computer Network Practice

Differences Between Network Administrator and Network Engineer

Discover the key differences between Network Administrators and Network Engineers in our latest tutorial. Understand their skills and responsibilities today! By IncludeHelp Last updated : June 02, 2023

In this tutorial, you will learn:


In today's interconnected world, computer networks play a vital role in the daily functioning of businesses and organizations. Ensuring these networks run smoothly and securely falls to IT professionals such as network administrators and network engineers.

While both roles focus on managing and maintaining network systems, their specific responsibilities vary greatly.

Key Takeaways

  • A Network Administrator focuses on day-to-day network operations, such as troubleshooting issues and maintaining optimal performance. On the other hand, a Network Engineer designs and develops the network infrastructure.
  • The required skills for both roles differ significantly. For instance, a Network Administrator needs to have strong communication skills while possessing knowledge of various operating systems. In contrast, an aspiring engineer requires technical expertise in areas such as data security solutions or routing protocols.
  • Both roles offer competitive salaries depending on experience, certification, industry, and region of work. While entry-level network administrators earn around $50K each year experienced engineers can earn upwards of $80K annually.

Roles of Network Administrator and Network Engineer

A network administrator is responsible for day-to-day network operations, while a network engineer focuses on designing and developing the network infrastructure.

Network Administrator: Responsible for Day-to-day Network Operations

Network administrators play a crucial role in managing and maintaining an organization's computer networks, ensuring their smooth functioning and optimal performance.

As part of these daily tasks, a network administrator might be required to install software updates or patches on various systems within the organization. Additionally, they may need to monitor system logs and reports to identify potential threats or problems that could affect network functionality.

For example, if a company experiences frequent connectivity issues or slow server response times during peak hours of operation, it is likely the responsibility of the network administrator to spot this issue through monitoring tools and resolve it promptly by adjusting configurations or optimizing hardware resources as needed.

Network Engineer: Responsible for Designing and Developing Network Infrastructure

A network engineer is responsible for designing and developing an enterprise network infrastructure. Their job involves analyzing business requirements to come up with a suitable design for the organization's computer network.

Additionally, a network engineer must have extensive knowledge of networking protocols like TCP/IP and VLANs. They must stay current on the latest trends in networking technologies to future-proof their designs adequately.

Moreover, they work closely with other IT professionals like system engineers or security analysts to ensure that all aspects of the infrastructure work together seamlessly.

Key Differences Between Network Administrator and Network Engineer

The key differences between these roles include job focus, required skills, and responsibilities - read on to discover which career path is right for you.

Job Focus

The job focus of a network engineer is primarily on the design, development, and analysis of computer networks. They work collaboratively with other IT professionals to ensure that the infrastructure meets the organization's needs in terms of functionality, scalability, and security. On the other hand, a network administrator has a different job focus altogether. Their primary responsibility lies in ensuring that day-to-day network operations run smoothly.

Regardless of their specific duties, both roles are crucial for any business operation that relies heavily on technology.

Required Skills

To become a network administrator, you need to possess certain skills, including:

  1. Knowledge of computer network systems and architecture
  2. Understanding of network protocols and technologies
  3. Ability to configure and troubleshoot network hardware and software
  4. Familiarity with security procedures and protocols
  5. Strong communication skills to help work with team members or clients
  6. Time management skills to manage multiple tasks at once
  7. Customer service skills to support users or clients in troubleshooting issues

On the other hand, a network engineer will require more in-depth knowledge of the following:

  1. Network design principles such as LAN/WAN architecture, routing, switching, VPNs, firewalls, and load balancing.
  2. Expertise in different operating systems such as Windows and Linux
  3. Ability to develop automation scripts using programming languages such as Python
  4. In-depth understanding of data center infrastructure components including computing, storage, and virtualization
  5. Security best practices for enterprise networks
  6. Business acumen is necessary when designing networks that serve specific business needs.
  7. Soft skills such as problem-solving abilities, analytical thinking, and communication skills are also essential for day-to-day engineering activities.

It's important to note that while there may be some similarities between the required skills for both roles, a network engineer requires more technical expertise compared to a network administrator who is focused on maintenance tasks rather than design or development work.

If you're considering either profession as your career path, it's crucial that you understand the nuances of each role before diving in headfirst based on your current skillset or interests.


Network administrators and network engineers have different responsibilities, which include:

1. Network Administrator

  • Managing user accounts and network permissions
  • Installing, configuring, and maintaining network hardware and software
  • Ensuring data security by implementing firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures
  • Monitoring the performance of the network and identifying any issues that may arise
  • Troubleshooting any problems that occur in the network
  • Providing technical support to users

2. Network Engineer

  • Designing and developing a computer network infrastructure
  • Analyzing performance data to optimize network functionality
  • Creating network protocols for communication between devices
  • Developing disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity during an unexpected outage or crisis
  • Collaborating with other IT professionals to ensure successful implementation of the network design

It is important to note that while some responsibilities may overlap between these roles, their primary focus is different. The engineer designs the system while the administrator maintains it.

Choosing The Right Career: Network Administrator Vs Network Engineer

When it comes to choosing between a career as a network administrator or network engineer, individuals need to consider their skills and preferences. A network administrator is responsible for managing day-to-day operations, ensuring that the network runs smoothly, and troubleshooting any issues that arise. On the other hand, a network engineer focuses on designing and developing the underlying infrastructure of a computer system.

To become a successful network administrator, one needs to have strong communication skills, be detail-oriented, and possess knowledge of various operating systems. Network administrators must also be able to adapt quickly in high-pressure situations while maintaining optimal performance levels.


In conclusion, understanding the difference between a Network Administrator and a Network Engineer is crucial in choosing the right career path. While both roles are essential for maintaining computer networks, they have different responsibilities and required skills.

A network engineer focuses on designing and developing network infrastructure, while a network administrator ensures that the system runs smoothly. It's important to consider your passion when deciding which career to pursue as both roles require dedication and expertise in IT infrastructure management.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether you prefer creating or managing systems.

Network Administrator Vs. Network Engineer: FAQs

1. What is the main difference between a network administrator and network engineer?

A network administrator typically manages the day-to-day operations of a computer network, including tasks such as user management, software updates, and troubleshooting issues. A network engineer, on the other hand, designs and implements networks from scratch or makes significant upgrades to existing systems.

2. What are the typical job responsibilities of a network administrator?

Network administrators monitor the health and performance of their organization's computer networks by performing regular maintenance tasks like installing new hardware or software updates. They also manage databases used for storing essential data like employee information or customer records.

3. Do Network Administrators need formal education in IT?

While many successful Network Administrators do not hold formal degrees in Information Technology (IT), it’s generally advisable to obtain at least a relevant Degree in Computer Science before applying for entry-level positions within this field.

4. How can I tell if I am more suited to be a Network Administrator or Engineer?

If you enjoy building complex networks from scratch and have strong problem-solving skills with regards to technical issues - then pursuing becoming a Network Engineer might be your best bet. However, if prefer focused on making sure that your company’s communication infrastructure remains uninterrupted while ensuring everything runs smoothly- then becoming a Network Administrator could be right up your alley!

Comments and Discussions!

Load comments ↻

Copyright © 2024 www.includehelp.com. All rights reserved.