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Local Area Network Administration Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Computer Network Support Specialists Career Video



Insider Info

dotA local area network (LAN) is a system of computers that uses a central data bank to allow multiple computers to exchange and share information with each other.

Local area network administration technicians (or LAN techs) work to design and implement these systems. Sometimes they're called computer network administration technicians. If the network includes computers and offices in separate cities, the administrator is called a wide area network (WAN) administrator.

"My job is to design and implement LAN infrastructures," says Ibrahim Hamouda. Hamouda is president of an information technology (IT) company.

dotHamouda has several other responsibilities related to keeping the networks running. He must deploy software to servers and workstations, offer help-desk support, and keep all the equipment in the network in good health.

On top of all those responsibilities, LAN techs also spend a good part of their day dealing with people. To be successful in this career, LAN techs need to have great communication and people skills.

"This area of work can be complex. If you are a people-person who can socialize and ask for help, then half the battle is already won," says Paul Skrzyniak. He is co-owner of a computer services business.

dotWhile many LAN technicians work in all types of corporate and non-corporate settings, some are also branching out and starting their own business. In turn, instead of hiring an in-house IT person, some companies are beginning to contract out the work to these new businesses.

Those working for specialized computer service and IT companies now work more regular hours. These businesses are usually open five or six days a week, during regular business hours.

"However, depending on the company, the hours could involve 24 hours," says Skrzyniak. This takes into account emergency situations.

dotSome of these businesses also do work for companies all over the world. Travel can be a big part of the job. "We have clients with branches all over the world, and it is my responsibility to go to these places to set them up and connect them to our network," says Hamouda.

dotThe impact of wireless technology on the computer networking world is still up for debate. Olivier De Wulf says that, yes, wireless has changed this field of work, but then again, no, it has not. De Wulf is managing partner of an IT service company in San Francisco, California.

"There are definitely more and more wireless technologies available. We install a lot of them but it's more as a secondary technology than the main technology for networking," he says. "Some technologies are, if it's wired, more stable. If it was wireless, it would be more flexible. So depending on that, we will use one or the other."

For Skrzyniak, using wireless technology in computer networking has had its upsides and downsides as well. "Wireless technology has made the networking field easier in some ways and provided extra work in other ways," he says.

"The painstaking task of running cables through walls and ceilings has been cut down considerably due to more wireless devices. However, implementing encrypted security keys for the wireless broadcast signals needs more necessary attention," says Skrzyniak.

Other challenges have included strengthening wireless signals and increasing their rang

At a Glance

Keep computers connected

  • Many LAN technicians are training as programmers
  • Most technicians upgrade with courses every year
  • Strong analytical skills and post-secondary training are a must