If you want to change careers, you might wonder if becoming a web developer or network administrator is better. Network administrators and web developers might seem to do the same thing, but there are subtle differences you should be aware of.
This article will explain some of the differences between the two professions so you can figure out which better suits your skills. Read on to learn more about essential information like how much they make, whether they require degrees, and how happy they are with their jobs in general.
Web Developer and Network Administrator Difference
Here’s a table to help you get a bird’s eye view of the key differences between a web developer and a network administrator.
|Designs and creates websites
|Installs, maintains, and updates any software or hardware for a computer network
|Average Salary (US)
|$67,591 / year
|$71,561 / year
|3.3 out of 5 stars
|3.2 out of 5 stars
|Associate’s degree or a bachelor’s in web development
|Associate or bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a similar field.
|Can work as computer and information systems managers, computer programmers, computer systems analysts, database administrators, graphic designers, information security analysts, and software developers.
|Can be promoted to data center managers, senior system administrators, software engineers, and even IT directors
Let’s explore these differences in greater detail below.
As I mentioned, web developers design and create websites. Their main job is to make sure a website looks good and is easy to navigate for most users. They may also be responsible for a website’s performance and capacity, depending on which aspect of the website they choose to specialize in.
There are three main types of web developers:
- Back-end developers create, maintain, test, and fix a website’s back end. This includes the core logic of the application, databases, integration of data and applications, API, and any other back-end processes.
- Full-stack developers work on both the back end and front end of a website. To do their job well, full-stack developers need to know how to code in a wide range of areas such as databases, graphic design, and UI/UX management.
On the other hand, network administrators are in charge of installing, maintaining, and updating any software or hardware a computer network needs to work well. The computer network may include a local area network, wide area network, the Internet, and intranets.
Average Salary (US)
As of July 27, 2022, a web developer’s average salary in the United States is $67,591, while a network administrator’s average salary is $71,561. In the United States, web developers make the most money in Los Angeles, California ($74,147 per year). New York City, on the other hand, pays network administrators the most ($82,897 per year).
Let me just add that once you gain some experience it is fairly common to earn $100,000 or more per year as a web developer. Just follow the steps I describe in that article.
CareerExplorer surveyed a number of professionals and asked how happy they are with their jobs. According to that survey, network administrators rate their job happiness 3.2 out of 5 stars, which puts them in the top 50 percent of jobs. On the other hand, web developers gave their jobs 3.3 out of 5 stars, putting them in the top 43 percent of careers.
Many web developers have an associate’s degree in a related field, while some hold a bachelor’s in web development. Taking a graphic design course can also increase the employability of a web developer since many of the jobs they can apply for are related to web design.
On the other hand, jobs as a network administrator require at least an associate or bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a similar field. A master’s degree in information technology may also give them a competitive edge for higher-level jobs.
According to the qualifications listed for network administrator job opportunities on Indeed within the past three years in the United States, 40% of employers want a bachelor’s degree, while just 31% demand an associate’s degree. In contrast, only 17% percent of jobs for web developers require an associate’s degree, while 55% demand a bachelor’s.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the number of web developers will grow by 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all jobs. Web developers can work as computer and information systems managers, computer programmers, computer systems analysts, database administrators, graphic designers, information security analysts, and software developers.
On the other hand, jobs for network and computer systems administrators are only expected to grow by 5% between 2020 and 2030. Network administrators can be promoted to data center managers, senior system administrators, software engineers, and even IT directors.
Web Developer vs. Network Administrator: Which Is Better?
Be a web developer if you want to work in a greater variety of IT fields and stay in a high-growth industry. Be a network administrator if you want to earn a higher salary and do not mind working behind the scenes.
If you need more information on deciding which one is better, I’ll outline the pros of each in more detail below.
Pros of Working as a Web Developer
- More flexibility. Compared to a network administrator, a web developer has more transferable skills, since they tend to work on various aspects of a website.
- Higher growth potential. Regardless of the current state of the job market, you want to work in a field where you’re guaranteed employment no matter what — and web development happens to be one of those fields.
Pros of Working as a Network Administrator
- Higher salary. Because they’re more specialized compared to web developers, network administrators tend to rake in a commensurately higher income.
- Better chance of landing a senior position. If you don’t mind taking on the reins of leadership, a network administrator position gives you the opportunity to gain titles like data center manager, senior system administrator, and IT director.
In the end, if you’re trying to decide between a career as a web developer or network administrator, it comes down to your preferences. No matter which camp you fall into, both are solid careers.
I personally would not like to do the work of a network administrator, after all, this is a blog primarily focused on web development ;), but my friend is very good at it and it is a perfect job for his personality.