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What Does a Systems Administrator Do?

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Think being a systems administrator is the job for you? Learn what systems administrators do and what is expected of them. This way, you can prepare appropriately for the job and your interview.

Systems Administrator: Job Description

A systems administrator takes care of a business’ network and computer systems. From installing new equipment to maintaining the network and software used. These professionals work for businesses of all types and sizes; from small businesses to large enterprises and they work for public, private, and governmental organizations.

The salary range for a systems administrator in the US ranges from $23,000 to $182,000 per year, with the average salary sitting at $83,620 per year.

What do Systems Administrators Do?

So, what is the day-to-day like for a systems administrator? As the backbone of a company’s IT team, the systems administrators are responsible for:

  • The installation, configuration, and maintenance of all computer systems
  • Identifying and correcting issues
  • Making the necessary updates to software and equipment
  • Providing technical support
  • The daily monitoring of all systems, processes, and equipment
  • Resolving and handling help desk requests
  • Reviewing application logs and keeping track of backups, and more

Additionally, a systems administrator is skilled in understanding what types of technologies can be implemented and utilized for a particular business’s benefit. For example, in regards to communications, they may consider using VoIP to develop a customized business phone system, which can be tailored to the company’s specific needs. They will also be knowledgeable of different automated systems, such as interactive voice response, as well as other tools like simultaneous ring to streamline that calls that come into the business.

How to Become a Systems Administrator?

To apply for a systems administrator position, you will need to have the necessary prerequisites and experience. Here we will look at what education, licenses, and certificates are needed for this position.


Some employers only ask for a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree. However, some employers will also require a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science-related field. A degree in computer or electrical engineering may work as well since the job requires you to work closely with computer systems.

Additionally, you can obtain a degree from programs that focus specifically on computer network and systems administration. Furthermore, many administrators go on to take additional IT courses and attend computer network conferences to stay up to date on the latest technology. Keep in mind, some companies may require a master’s degree as well, so it may be a good idea to be prepared.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registration

Licenses and certifications indicate that a potential hire has the required knowledge and skills needed to do the job efficiently.

As a standard, businesses require their systems administrators to be certified in the products used by the company. You can get certifications through product vendors or vendor-neutral certification providers. You may even look at getting your certifications from Microsoft or Cisco.

You can also get certifications from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a worldwide provider of IT certifications. Popular certifications they offer include CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+.

Field Experience

Obtaining experience is an important part of landing your dream systems administrator job. Typically, employers expect or prefer to see at least 2 or more years of experience. Start by seeking internships or part-time opportunities right after you complete your bachelor’s degree. You can start out as a help desk rep or an IT specialist and gradually advance into the systems administrator role.

Desirable Qualities

Along with network and computer skills, you will also need personality skills and traits to be a good systems administrator. Here are some desirable qualities employers look for in systems administrators:

  • Technical and Analytical skills — the ability to evaluate and analyze networks and processes and identify issues.
  • Multitasking skills — the ability to work on multiple tasks, issues, and concerns at the same time.
  • Problem-solving skills — the ability to quickly and efficiently resolve issues.
  • Communication skills — the ability to describe goals, standards, issues, and solutions to IT and non-IT employees.

Is Being a Systems Administrator Right for You?

If networks and computer systems dominate your life, then you should find a job that lets you apply your skills and love for technology. And being a systems administrator can help you achieve this. So what are you waiting for? Get the right education, the right certifications, and build your professional experience to position yourself as the ideal candidate for these types of positions.

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