10 Best States for Network and System Administrator Jobs

  • If you're in the early stages of your career as an infrastructure professional, the big tech hubs might not be your best option for finding a job. While states like California, New York and Washington hire a lot of developers and analysts, some of the more rural -- and often overlooked states -- hire a higher percentage of systems administrators and network administrators.

    In CompTIA's Cyberstates 2017 report, published earlier this year, researchers listed the top three tech occupations for each state. Nationally, the three leading technology occupations are software developers (applications), computer user support specialists, and computer systems analysts. However, in 10 states in the country, network and computer systems administrator is one of the three most common technology job titles. In its study, CompTIA lists network and computer sysadmins as a single category, the same classification used by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Of course, other states in the country probably also have a lot of job openings for sysadmins and entry-level networking. However, this article focuses on states where network and systems administrators make up an unusually high percentage of the overall IT job force, according to CompTIA's research. Interestingly, these states tend to be more rural and are not generally considered "hot spots" for technology jobs.

    All the data for this ranking comes from the CompTIA Cyberstates 2017 report. Only states where network and systems administrator was one of the top three leading tech occupation are included. Those 10 states were then ranked based on six key criteria: total technology industry employment in the state; the number of network and systems administrator jobs in the state; total technology job openings; recent technology job growth; technology industry wages; and the technology wage premium  -- how high technology wages are compared to the average state wage.

    Based on those criteria, people seeking entry-level infrastructure administration jobs might want to consider these 10 states.

    (Image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock)

  • Kansas

    While it's better known for its rich farmland than its technology industry, Kansas had the highest number of tech jobs and the highest number of network and systems administrators-- by far -- of any of the states in this list. Although the number of technology jobs in Kansas shrank slightly over the last 12 months, the state still has a lot of job openings. And compared to the average worker in the state, technology workers here can expect to make 81% higher salaries.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    49,762

    5,220

    4,063

    -1.7%

     $79,350.00

    81%

    (Image: SilverEdge/Shutterstock)

  • Arkansas

    Arkansas placed right behind Kansas when it comes to total tech employment, network and system employment, and total tech job openings. In addition, it's also experiencing some significant growth in technology jobs. On the negative side, salaries tend to be low in this part of the country. However, that might be balanced somewhat by the state's low cost of living and extremely affordable housing.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    26,900

    3,220

    2,536

    2.7%

     $69,345.00

    68%

    (Image: Timothy M Wyer/Shutterstock)

  • Rhode Island

    For higher wages, infrastructure job seekers might want to consider Rhode Island. This part of the northeast had the third best employment numbers and is also experiencing notable technology job growth. Moreover, network and computer systems administrator was the most popular technology occupation in the state, edging out software developers (applications).

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    20,189

    1,890

    1,852

    0.6%

     $82,685.00

    63%

    (Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

  • Maine

    Although it doesn't employ as many technology workers as the other states mentioned so far, Maine has been experiencing significant job growth. And while the average tech wages in Main are about average for those on this list, technology workers make significantly more than other types of workers in the state.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    16,190

    1,550

    1,245

    1.1%

     $77,586.00

    84%

    (Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

  • Hawaii

    Like Maine, Hawaii also pays a fairly high premium to technology workers, and the island paradise was noteworthy for the number of tech job openings in the state. Of course, the cost of living is astronomically high, but when you factor in the beautiful weather, it might be worth it.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    15,380

    1,340

    1,375

    -0.3%

     $81,269.00

    72%

    (Image: emperorcosar/Shutterstock)

  • Vermont

    Somewhat surprisingly, of all the states on this list, Vermont pays the highest technology wages and the highest premium compared to the state average. However, job seekers should also consider that the cost of living is slightly higher than average in this state. It also doesn't have a lot of technology job openings (which might be related to its small population).

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    13,376

    1,420

    950

    -1.1%

     $83,277.00

    87%

    (Image: SNEHIT/Shutterstock)

  • South Dakota

    Compared to the other states on this list, South Dakota had the highest technology job growth. However, it also pays the lowest wages to technology workers of any state in the country. Network and computer systems administrator is the most common technology occupation in the state.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    10,595

    1,570

    1,277

    3.9%

     $61,947.00

    53%

    (Image: Tom Reichner/Shutterstock)

  • West Virginia

    Like Arkansas, West Virginia boasts extremely affordable housing and a low cost of living in general. However, in the factors considered for this ranking, the state was only average at best.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    15,460

    1,050

    1,210

    -0.8%

     $66,400.00

    60%

    (Image: Steve Heap/Shutterstock)

  • Alaska

    Among the states listed here, Alaska was near the bottom in most categories, except for technology industry wages. However, job seekers should note that salaries for tech workers aren't that much higher than for other occupations in the state.

    Total Tech Industry Employment

    Network & Sysadmin Jobs

    Tech Job Openings

    Tech Job Growth

    Tech Industry Wages

    Tech Wage Premium

    10,610

    1,150

    813

    -2.2%

     $79,579.00

    47%

    (Image: Rocky Grimes/Shutterstock)