What is a Systems Administrator?

If you have ever considered a career in the information technology field, becoming a systems administrator would definitely be a great start! Organizations and businesses of all sizes have sizable network and computer infrastructure and require highly skilled administrators who have the experience and knowledge to manage these seemingly complicated and complex operations. Here is a comprehensive overview of what this profession does and how much one should expect to make.

What exactly does a Systems Administrator do day to day?
System admins are responsible for the daily management, upkeep and configuration of computer systems of an organization or business. This includes installing and managing desktop and laptop computers, servers, networks, IT security systems and other critical components of an organization’s IT infrastructure. System admins are also responsible for determining appropriate IT policies for businesses, supervising lower-level technician staff and also may be in charge of the purchasing of IT equipment. Administrators typically are IT generalists and do not necessarily specialize in any particular concentration. However, much larger organizations may require more specialists as IT needs become more complex over time.

What type of education does one need in order to become a Systems Administrator?
In order to become a systems admin, one needs to go to school and study information technology. However, most colleges and universities offer more specialized concentrations such as network management, database administration and management information systems. Most seeking to become systems admins tend to study management information systems an or network management and obtain certifications in A+, Network+ and Server+. Some even opt to obtain certifications in project management from the Project Management Institute. Salaries will be higher for those who have a master’s degree in computer information sciences and management.

What types of organizations and businesses hire systems admins?
System admins are hired by companies that have a large IT infrastructure. Businesses need dedicated IT support staff to manage the installation and management of desktop computers, off-site networking systems and other critical IT services related to a business. This will include school districts, corporations, universities, hospitals, nonprofit organization as well as government agencies. Those seeking to be systems admins should not have difficulty finding employment as IT needs will become greater over time with the progress of technology.

What is the usual salary for a systems administrator?
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Systems Admins make approximately $72,000 a year. Salary will depend on level of education, years of experience, location, industry and the size of organization. Salaries will be higher in larger metropolitan areas such as New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Salaries also tend to be higher for those with particular specializations. Network administrators who have serious certifications like Cisco, can easily make over $100,000 working for any mid to large-sized organization or agency. Larger corporations and organizations also offer system admins the opportunity to advance into more project-related and managerial positions. System admins can easily become director of IT, chief technology officers and chief information officers. To get into these type of roles, people will need at least five to 10 years of relevant, continuous job experience.

Don’t be afraid to go forward in realizing your dream to become a systems admin. Systems administrators are in high demand will continue to demand great and large salaries.