How to become a systems administrator

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The role of system administrator is very traditional, but its average salary is growing. Here's how to become a sysadmin

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Systems administrators are found in most IT departments, with daily tasks including managing operating systems, enterprise applications, web-servers, email, security protocols, PCs and the network.

Looking for a job as a systems administrator? Find it with Computerworld UK jobs.

The average annual salary of a systems administrator is about £34,000, with growth looking likely.

     
Here's everything you need to know about becoming a systems administrator.

What does a systems administrator do?

At its most basic level, a systems administrator is responsible for maintaining the computer systems of a company.

The role varies a lot from company to company but usually, includes monitoring system performance and troubleshooting issues, as well as ensuring the efficiency and security of the technology infrastructure.

Other titles that fall under the broad umbrella of systems administrator would be IT administrator, network engineer and network administrator.

The day to day duties of these roles are dependent on the size and scope of the company but more than likely involve the installation and configuration of software and hardware, setting up employee accounts, managing updates and training staff.

What type of people are suited to systems administration?

Similar to a product manager, a systems administrator needs to be a good communicator so that they can clearly articulate any issues with the wider team and ensure they are dealt with in a timely fashion.

They also need to be technically minded so that they understand the complexities of the systems they’re dealing with. 

Being a good multitasker is an essential trait, as well as strong analytical and problem-solving skills. 

Other key skills are good time management and the ability to actively listen and comprehend.

What qualifications do systems administrators need?

While there’s no specific educational qualification required, a degree in computer or data science or a degree in a computer science subject like engineering is an advantage when looking for experience.

However, it is possible to become a systems administrator by doing an internship and getting on-the-job training.

Systems administrators also need to be proficient in the products and networks used in their company from Salesforce or Slack, to the phone system, Linux and cloud storage.

In fact, the role of sysadmins has evolved a lot to incorporate the increased use of cloud computing.

What certifications are best for system administrators?

Some of the top-rated certifications for sysadmins are:

LPIC: Linux Professional Institute Certifications, CompTIA Server+, Microsoft MCSA & MCSE: Windows Server and RHCE: Red Hat Certified Engineer.

What’s the career trajectory like?

Sysadmins generally progress to project managers in a tech company, product managers or more senior progression usually involves a strategic, long-term planning role where the key skills required will relate to project improvement, integration and an understanding of SDLC.

How much do system administrators get paid?

While salaries can vary a lot from company to company, the average starting wage for a sysadmin is about £20,000-25,000 with a more senior position earning as much as £60,000, depending on the size and nature of the business.

The national UK average for a system administrator is £34,000.

 Looking for a job as a systems administrator? Find it with Computerworld UK jobs

Find your next job with computerworld UK jobs