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How to Become a Web Administrator

By Anita Akpuoforba

Published:

Web administrators are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, ensuring websites run smoothly, securely, and efficiently. In today’s digital age, the role of a web administrator has become increasingly vital for organizations of all sizes, regardless of the industry. If you’ve ever wondered how to become a web administrator and embark on a career in this dynamic field, here’s your comprehensive guide.

Career Summary

Web Administrator Salary

Web Administrator Salary

Based on data from Glassdoor, the annual base salary for web administrators in the United States averages around $75,707. For those starting their careers, earnings are influenced by factors like company location, industry, and skill level. As one gains experience and progresses along their career path, their salary tends to increase accordingly.

Here is a breakdown of a web administrator salary by experience level:

  • Entry Salary (US$64k)
  • Median Salary (US$81k)
  • Executive Salary (US$103k)

When compared to the average income of workers in the United States, the salary of a web administrator usually falls within the higher bracket of earners in the nation.

Web Administrator Job Description

A web administrator, also known as a website administrator, is responsible for the overall upkeep and maintenance of an organization’s website. This includes ensuring that the website is functioning properly, is secure, and is accessible to users. The web administrator will also be responsible for monitoring website performance, troubleshooting website problems, and making recommendations for improvement.

Web Administrator Career Progression

  • Entry-Level Web Administrator: An entry-level web administrator often starts with basic tasks, such as updating website content, monitoring server performance, and handling routine maintenance. In the process, they gain more experience, expand technical skills, and learn about the organization’s web infrastructure.
  • Mid-Level Web Administrator: Mid-level web administrators take on more significant responsibilities, including server configuration, security management, and troubleshooting complex issues. They have advanced technical skills, server administration expertise, and a deeper understanding of security protocols.
  • Senior Web Administrator: Senior web administrators lead and manage web administration teams. They are responsible for strategic planning, ensuring high availability, and implementing security measures. They also oversee major web projects and contribute to organizational strategies.
  • Manager/Director: At the managerial or director level, web administrators focus on overseeing all aspects of web administration within an organization. They are responsible for departmental budgets, team management, and alignment with business goals.
Web Administrator Career Progression

The Pros and Cons of Working as a Web Administrator

Pros:

  • Varied industries offer exciting career paths.
  • Option to work remotely.
  • Competitive salary.
  • Directly impacts an organization’s online presence.
  • Working in a collaborative environment.

Cons:

  • Round-the-clock availability for critical incidents.
  • Routine maintenance can become monotonous.
  • Acquiring qualifications can be costly and time-consuming.
  • High stress levels from managing users’ frustration.
  • Frequent learning is needed to stay current.

Useful Skills to Have as a Web Administrator

  • Security Expertise
  • Troubleshooting Skills
  • Web Development Skills
  • Network Administration
  • Knowledge of Content Management Systems

Popular Web Administrator Specialties

  • Web Security 
  • Server Management
  • Web Analytics
  • Network Management
  • Cloud Administration
  • CMS Administration
  • Disaster Recovery 

How to Become a Web Administrator

Web Administrator 3 Steps to Career

To get started on the path to becoming a web administrator, you need to learn the skills that would be used in the profession. You can do this by getting a degree or by self-learning through online education.

Step 1: Complete Education

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

If you choose to follow the degree pathway, it’s best to get one in computer science, as it provides a strong foundation in  various aspects of computing, including programming, algorithms, data structures, computer architecture, and software engineering.  All these can be applied to various roles within the tech industry, including web administration.

A typical bachelor’s degree in computer science takes about four years to complete. However, some universities offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as three years, while part-time programs may take longer.  

As for tuition, this can vary significantly depending on the university or college you choose. In the United States, the tuition fee is approximately US$11,000 for in-state students and around US$25,000 for out-of-state students at public universities. However, if you choose to go to a private university, the tuition fee could surpass US$40,000

  • Online Education 

An alternative path to becoming a web administrator is to learn online. Many positions in web administration and related fields are more focused on practical skills and experience than specific educational qualifications.

Start by learning the fundamentals of web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web server management. There are numerous online tutorials and courses available for free or at a low cost that teach all you need to know. There are also books, manuals, and online documentation on topics where you can gain extra knowledge. After that, you can set up a lab environment with virtual machines and experiment with all you have learned.

Web Resources to Learn Skills to Become a Web Administrator

  • Mozilla Developer Network (MDN): A comprehensive resource for learning about web technologies, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web servers. MDN is a wiki-based project, meaning that anyone can contribute to its content. This makes it a valuable resource for staying up-to-date on the latest web development trends.
  • W3Schools: A popular tutorial site for learning web development basics. W3Schools offers a wide range of tutorials on topics such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, and PHP.
  • freeCodeCamp: A non-profit organization that offers interactive coding tutorials and challenges. The tutorials are gamified, making them engaging and motivating.
  • The Odin Project: A free, open-source curriculum that teaches web development fundamentals. The Odin Project’s curriculum is based on the idea that the best way to learn is by doing. Students are encouraged to build projects as they learn new concepts.
  • Udemy: Udemy has a wide range of web administration courses, from basic to advanced topics. Some of them include Apache Tomcat for sys and web admins and building websites from scratch with HTML and CSS.
  • DigitalOcean Tutorials: DigitalOcean provides a vast library of tutorials on web server setup, Linux administration, and more.

Step 2: Gain Practical Experience

After learning all you need to know, you can apply for internship jobs that will give you real-life experience of what it means to be a website administrator.

What are the Internship Opportunities for a Web Administrator?

  • Web Administrator Intern: A general web administration internship involves assisting in routine web server maintenance, content updates, and user support.
  • IT Support Intern: Many organizations offer IT support internships, where you may gain experience helping users with technical issues related to web services.
  • Server Management Intern: This type of internship focuses on server administration, involving tasks like server configuration, performance monitoring, and security management.
  • Web Security Intern: Web security internships allow you to work with security professionals to learn about and address security threats, vulnerability assessments, and incident response.
  • Network Administration Intern: You can gain experience in network administration by interning with the IT team, assisting with network configurations, troubleshooting, and optimizing network performance.
  • Content Management System (CMS) Intern: You can intern with organizations using CMS platforms to learn about content publishing, customization, and user management.
  • E-commerce Administration Intern: E-commerce internships involve working with online retailers to assist in managing e-commerce platforms, product listings, and online sales processes.
  • Web Analytics Intern: Gain experience in web analytics by interning with organizations focused on monitoring and optimizing web performance, user behavior, and engagement data.

What Skills will I Learn as a Web Administrator?

As a web administrator, you’ll need to acquire a diverse set of skills to manage and maintain web servers and related infrastructure effectively. 

  • Web Server Management: Install, configure, and manage web servers such as Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS, or LiteSpeed.
  • Network Administration: Understand and configure network protocols, IP addressing, DNS, and firewall settings.
  • Server Operating Systems: Proficiency in operating systems like Linux (e.g., Ubuntu, CentOS) and Windows Server.
  • Security and Cybersecurity:  Implement security best practices, including SSL certificates, intrusion detection systems, and firewalls. Protect against DDoS attacks and other threats.
  • Load Balancing: Set up load balancers to distribute web traffic efficiently and ensure high availability.
  • Database Management: Manage databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB) and ensure data integrity.
  • Scripting and Automation: Script repetitive tasks using languages like Bash, Python, or PowerShell.
  • Monitoring and Analytics:  Implement monitoring tools (e.g., Nagios, Zabbix) and analyze web traffic data with tools like Google Analytics or similar solutions.
  • Web Development Basics: Basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can help when troubleshooting website issues.
  • Version Control: Use version control systems like Git for managing code and configurations.

Step 3: Get Certifications

Apart from education and practical experience, website administrators typically need certifications to excel in their roles. While the specific requirements can vary depending on the job and the employer, here are some common certificates and qualifications that can benefit a web administrator:

What’s the Career Outlook for Web Administrators?

As the internet continues to grow, the demand for web administrators is expected to increase. Businesses and organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve their online presence, and web administrators play a key role in ensuring that websites are effective and user-friendly.

Hence, it is not surprising that the employment of web administrators is projected to grow 5% from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. 

About 18,000 openings are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Some of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or retire.

Web Administrator Popular Career Specialties

What are the Job Opportunities for a Web Administrator?

  • E-commerce Administrator: Specializes in managing and optimizing e-commerce platforms, ensuring smooth online store operations and payment processing.
  • Web Analytics Specialist: Analyzes web data to monitor and optimize web performance, user experience, and engagement.
  • Security Administrator: Specializes in web security, protecting websites and applications from cyber threats, identifying vulnerabilities, and implementing security measures.
  • Server Administrator: Specializes in server management, ensuring the server infrastructure is secure, efficient, and responsive to web traffic.
  • Network Administrator: Manages network infrastructure to optimize web services’ connectivity and performance.
  • Content Management System (CMS) Administrator: Manages and customizes CMS platforms like WordPress or Drupal for efficient content publication and user management.
  • IT Manager or Director: With experience, web administrators can progress into management roles overseeing broader IT operations.
  • Freelance Web Administrator: Some web administrators choose to work as freelancers, offering their services to multiple clients on a project-by-project basis.
  • Educator or Trainer: Experienced web administrators can teach web administration skills or create educational content for others.
  • Disaster Recovery Specialist: Focuses on planning and implementing disaster recovery strategies to maintain business continuity in the event of web service disruptions.

What Types of Companies Hire a Web Administrator?

  • Technology Companies: This includes software companies, IT service providers, and tech startups that develop web-based applications and services.
  • E-commerce Businesses: Online retailers and e-commerce platforms require web administrators to ensure their websites are secure and provide a seamless shopping experience.
  • Financial Institutions: Banks, investment firms, and insurance companies rely on web administrators to manage web services for online banking, trading, and customer communication.
  • Healthcare Organizations: Hospitals, medical practices, and healthcare providers hire web administrators to manage patient portals, online medical records, and appointment scheduling.
  • Educational Institutions: Schools, colleges, and universities need web administrators to maintain educational websites, portals, and online learning platforms.
  • Government Agencies: Government organizations at various levels (local, state, and federal) employ web administrators to manage official websites, online services, and databases.
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofits use websites for fundraising, community engagement, and outreach, and they require web administrators to maintain these online resources.
  • Media and Entertainment Companies: Media outlets, including news organizations, streaming services, and entertainment companies, employ web administrators to manage content delivery and user experiences.
  • Travel and Hospitality: Companies in the travel industry, such as hotels, airlines, and travel agencies, hire web administrators to manage online booking systems and customer portals.
  • Marketing and Advertising Agencies: These agencies rely on web administrators to oversee websites, landing pages, and digital marketing campaigns.

What is the Work-Life Balance of a Web Administrator?

The work-life balance of a web administrator can vary depending on factors like the organization’s size, the specific job role, and whether they are working in-house or as part of a web hosting or IT services provider.

Some web administrators, especially those managing critical web services or infrastructure, may be on-call outside of regular working hours. This means they must be available to address emergencies or critical issues, even during the evenings, weekends, or holidays. 

However, the nature of web administration often allows for remote work, thereby easing the stress that comes with such a complex job. Overall, good time management is essential. This involves efficiently managing routine tasks, automated monitoring, and having well-documented processes that can help maintain a better work-life balance.

Tips to Advance Your Career as a Web Administrator

  • Contribute to open-source web projects. This is a great way to learn from experienced developers and showcase your skills to potential employers.
  • Networking: Attend tech meetups, conferences, and networking events. Building a network can help you find job opportunities or freelance work.
  • Create a Portfolio: Showcase your work in a portfolio. Having a portfolio of websites you’ve managed or projects you’ve worked on can be more important to employers than a degree.
  • Project Management Skills: If you’re interested in leadership roles, consider gaining project management skills. Certifications like PMP can open doors to managerial positions.
  • Update Your LinkedIn Profile: Keep your LinkedIn profile current with your latest achievements and skills. This can attract recruiters and potential employers.
  • Stay Current with Technology: Web technologies evolve rapidly. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends, tools, and programming languages in web development and administration.

Should I Become a Web Administrator?

Becoming a web administrator is a career choice that carries both pros and cons. On the positive side, it offers a gateway to an in-demand profession with diverse career paths and good earning potential. Additionally, web administrators often enjoy flexibility in work location, with many tasks being suitable for remote work.

On the negative side, web administrators face complex technical responsibilities, which can be demanding and occasionally lead to long working hours. Staying current with evolving technology trends and security measures also requires dedication to continuous learning, which is also quite daunting.

Ultimately, if you have a genuine passion for web technologies, strong problem-solving skills, and a commitment to ongoing education, becoming a web administrator is a good fit. However, before you make a decision, weigh the pros and cons and speak with more experienced professionals in the field.

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Anita Akpuoforba

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