This is the Systems Administrator Career Path to get people started in their journey in IT.
What is System Administration?
System administration refers to the field of work where someone manages one or multiple systems including hardware, software, workstations, and servers. The goal of system administration is to ensure the systems are operating effectively and efficiently. Usually, system administration is done by information technology (IT) professionals in an organization.
How Do You Become a System Administrator?
There isn’t one specific path that you need to follow to become a system administrator. While it can be helpful to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or another related field, it isn’t a requirement. Many people become system administrators by working their way up from other positions or via internships. It’s a role that can be obtained through promotions from jobs like service desk jobs or desktop support positions. Potentially, this can be the best option because having experience handling user and system issues, providing solutions, and researching computer systems is very useful for individuals who want to become system administrators.
Most organizations require that their system administrators have some previous experience in the technology industry, possibly in support roles. Additionally, many employers want to see that candidates for the role have certain certifications that verify the individual’s skills. There are three key CompTIA certifications that system administrators should have, A+, Network+ and Security+. In addition to verifying an individual’s competencies in those areas, it also demonstrates to employers their desire to grow and advance in their IT careers.
What Does a System Administrator Do?
Putting it simply, a systems administrator is the first point-of-contact for a company’s network users when they have technical issues. For example, it’s the system administrator that ensures an office has a working Internet connection and that the mail server is operating correctly and emails that are sent and received by the staff are being processed within the organization. The system administrator is responsible for constantly maintaining the organization’s hardware and software, installing upgrades when necessary, and troubleshooting any problems. Essentially, they are charged with ensuring the security and performance of the computer and network systems they manage continue to meet the needs of the users, without exceeding the organization’s budget.
What Are the Duties of a System Administrator?
While it depends upon the specific position, organization, and work experience of the employee, there are some general duties that are typically performed by system administrators. These duties may include:
- Determining a company’s computer and network system needs and implementing those systems
- Installing and upgrading all software and hardware, as needed
- Maintaining computer and network system security and ensure that systems are running correctly
- Adding, updating, and deleting users and permissions to the network
- Collecting data to evaluate and optimize system or network performance
- Training users on the proper use of software and hardware
- Managing the organization’s servers, desktop, and mobile equipment
- Managing telecommunications networks (in some cases)
Additionally, some system administrators help network architects with the design and analysis of network models. They may participate in decision-making about future hardware and software purchases and upgrades and may also supervise computer support specialists who help solve users’ technology problems.
How Much Does a System Administrator Make?
In 2018, systems administrators made a median salary of $82,050. The lowest-paid 25 percent made $64,010, while the best-paid 25 percent made $104,970 that year.
Is a Systems Administrator a Good Career to Get Into?
In today’s technology industry, it’s safe to say that nearly all IT careers are in demand. Because technology is continually growing and advancing, more and more professionals are needed to fill key IT positions like system administrators. According to U.S. News and World Reports Best Technology Jobs rankings, computer system administrators come in at #8. The rank is based on various factors including salary, job market, future growth, stress, and work and life balance.
The system administrator position is one that requires both technical and interpersonal skills to perform well. It’s an ideal role for individuals who enjoy managing and troubleshooting technical issues and working with others, from entry-level employees through senior-level leadership. System administrators are required to work with all users in an organization, so people and communication skills are essential in this role. For those who love working with technology and people, being a system administrator is a solid choice with lots of growth potential.
What Should a System Administrator Know?
It takes a certain type of individual to be a system administrator – they tend to have distinct personalities. They are typically intellectual individuals, who are inquisitive and introspective. They also possess a methodical, analytical, and rational side, with a healthy dose of curiosity and practicality. They are good at working independently, but also have the people skills to work well with others.
If these are qualities that sound like you, then becoming a system administrator may be a perfect fit for you in the IT industry.