System Administrator 30


A System administrator is responsible for maintaining, up keeping and safe-guarding a steady operation of computer systems in a working environment e.g. Servers.

The role of a system admin as it is also known is curial and is required for the smooth running of IT operations which include prevention of problems and the improvement of system performance; to keep the network running safe and smoothly.

System admins are normally the first to be contacted when problems arise in a working environment or within a


network. The system administrator will collate information and thereafter resolve and issues by carrying out troubleshooting on either the software or the hardware.

System admins carry out various functions like installing, upgrading and monitoring hardware and software of which they can also carry out data backup and recovery.


There are certain job roles that come with dexterity which usually has a time frame to them. Just like being a lawyer or doctor which could be between six – seven years, a system administrator requires a minimum of three years. There are different aspects of system administration role; web technology, network administration or IT management. Stereotypically a BSc in computer science is accepted for this role but many employers actually desire further training when it comes to specific areas and this is where certification comes in and plays a role here; where people take certification exams in specific software or hardware to proof that they can use and manage products from certain vendors in the computing field.

There are different certifications which could be required for working environments in the IT field and the common ones are Cisco Certified Networks Associate, Cisco Certified Network Professional, Microsoft Certified Solution Associate, Microsoft Certified Solution Expert, Sun Solaris certifications and Red Hat RHCT. All these mentioned certifications don not have to be acquired by a system administrator but they serve their purpose for different IT environment. Take for instance Cisco Certified Networks As

sociate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Networks Professional (CCNP) are required in data and storage environment; Microsoft Certified Solution Associate (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) are more used in Server and desktop administration while Red Hat RHCT is for businesses that use Linux. Generally, it is good to be familiar with different technologies to stand out from the crowd.

Other Things A System Administrator Requires:

Must be interactive: A system admin must be ready to liaise with people as well as other department members and must not be shy to have discussions with people in regards to answering questions and as to giving advice to issues that need attention and how the issues could be resolved. Basically, a system administrator must be ready to encounter human interaction.

Must be a problem solver: A system administrator in many cases function as an IT ‘know-it-all’ or guru of a firm which in other words can be nerve-wracking especially in busy working environments like law firms where access to folders and files are needed asap and if colleagues are trying to gain access to resources and unfortunately they realise the link is broken; questions will be asked which will require immediate answers.

Must be confidential:  To be a System administrator and be good at it, one needs to be very confidential because this role comes across loads of confidential data and information especially through data storage or data transfer during network traffic which all have to be kept trusted and be professional.

Setting up new employees/colleagues: System administrators are responsible for creating new users and passwords for new staff that join the company and also organising database privileges and rights that each staff gets in order to access files, folders and resources on a networks. They have to know the quickest way to carry out most of these task because they do not only have to be creating user logins but to also manage other users as well which invariably could be in the thousands. Therefore quick techniques like bulk user creation and management is necessary. Windows Server has the function of bulk creation ranging from server 2008 even to the new windows server 2012 R2 and even to the point of remote server management as well as managing many servers from one desktop which is quite good.

Database Backups: From time to time and most efficiently at the end of a work, the system administrator has to setup a backup of all the data. There are different storage methods and vendors as well as hard drives that are good for carrying out these task.

Purchasing voice: A sys admin would also be required to buy new hardware where needed or in some case would need an input in the purchase of hardware equipment and should therefore be on look out to technologies as well as which works best for the firm’s environment.

Up-to-date with technology: A system administrator should ensure to keep up with the moving technology by reading IT magazines, books/textbooks, networking with people in the IT field to mingle, joining start-up groups, going for seminars and trying new IT gadgets as well following the certifications and laws governing information technology by knowing which certificates are still in use or ones about to retire as well as service packs, software issues, viruses and how to try and get on the ball of resolving unforeseeable issues.


First of all anyone can become a system administrator. Apart from the fact that college and university education is needed but not essential, a basic IT guy can develop into a sys admin by following various steps all coupled with time. First of all college or university studies is not the main strength of a system administrator but the fact that a bloke can start a career in IT from the being a hardware technician to software administration. This is why anyone picking a career in the field of IT has to start from knowing what a computer is, how it functions and what it can do which is simply found in the CompTia A+ syllabus. Although, A+ exam by some IT gurus is not regarded as worth the paper anymore it generally trains in the knowledge of computer hardware and software cutting across the main technologies used in the IT world that is IBM, Dell, windows Microsoft, Macintosh, Unix and Linux. This way anyone starting out would get the feel and within three years that person would be confident to move up the ladder to becoming a network administrator. By then this bloke should have had hands on experience on running pcs, finding faults know as troubleshooting, building pcs and at some point providing desktop support.

 Now a network staff is just a higher level to the desktop support staff or in some cases the same in the sense that desktop or pc support is the hardware side of a computer while a network staff is in the software side of the computer. Remember, a computer is divided into hardware and software and without one, the other cannot function. Therefore, a networking staff configures computers and resources together and takes full responsibility in doing it. There are ways of acquiring skills in networking from various vendors like Microsoft, CompTia etc. After a couple of years in the networking field one can consider moving up the ranks as a candidate for being a system administrator. That is because over the few years some experience have been gained in the various vendor or equipment used which could be vendors like Linux, Windows, Macintosh or equipment like motherboards, CPU, power supply unit (PSU), modems, network cables etc. Basically, one can start a career in IT by being an IT hardware technician who only assembles pc peripherals to a network staff or administrator who takes care of company networks.

Another way to becoming a system administrator is by working in firms that have an interest to developing employees. Always note that some jobs that are offered only pay a minimum of salary while some pay a minimum but have a training package that goes with it. It depends on your choice and how you look at the future. It can sometimes be good to get a well-paying job and train yourself privately in the vendors and equipment used by this company or seek employment in firms that don’t only offer money but other incentives like allowances or self-development trainings or workshops. However, many companies tend to push IT staff in the direction of becoming system admins by setting employees to train and maintain certain servers like a Linux server or windows server which is a good thing and can develop their own in-house candidate for a role as a system administrator for the future and then transition into an IT project manager.

How much do System administrator earn?

System administrator earn between £30,000 – £55,000 depending on the technology they have to manage and experience see


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