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What They Do

Insider Info

E-mail administrators have many responsibilities. They create e-mail accounts for people in their company or organization and make sure security levels are set on databases.

What if you forget your e-mail password or must change it for some reason? No problem! Another part of an e-mail administrator's job is to reset passwords.

They monitor servers, replication and mail routing to ensure the system is functioning properly. The e-mail administrator must "troubleshoot" to find and fix any problems that might come up.

Chris Earing is a systems engineer. He says troubleshooting is definitely the biggest challenge of this job. "Figuring out why someone can't e-mail someone else. Why your server is running too slow. Things like that," he says.

Although they work with computers, they need people skills, too. An e-mail administrator must answer users' questions in a timely manner. "You will be dealing with the public on a regular basis," says Earing.

E-mail administrators must perform routine maintenance on their messaging systems. They are responsible for making sure that it is performing the best that it possibly can. This also involves installing programs and system updates.

Nik Okuntseff is an author with WR Consulting. "E-mail administration here means determining how to set up e-mail systems," he says.

"This means [determining] the best connectivity options [and] software to use, setting up systems, thinking about what to do in case of system failures [disaster recovery], doing backups."

Any business with lots of e-mail accounts would want an e-mail administrator. "A business that has only five addresses doesn't need one," says Mike Caplan. He is the student e-mail administrator at the University of Miami.

"The best opportunities are companies just getting into e-mail and Internet. That could be an existing company migrating to the new technologies or a start-up company."

He says there will also be vacancies in Internet companies that are expanding, but he thinks that is less common.

E-mail administration is not a 9-to-5 job. "System maintenance must be done at a time that inconveniences the fewest users as possible [late nights and early mornings]," says Caplan.

An e-mail administrator's job might not be physically strenuous. But there are some discomforts that are associated with long hours spent typing in front of a computer screen. Some examples are eyestrain, back pain, and hand and wrist pain (carpal tunnel syndrome).

At a Glance

Keep electronic communication flowing

  • Besides setting up accounts, you're also responsible for troubleshooting
  • People skills are important
  • A degree in some branch of computer science or information technology will serve you well


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.