Unix Systems Administrator Jobs: Salary & Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for Unix systems administrators. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Computer Systems Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Unix Systems Administrator?

Unix systems administrators manage Unix computer systems, servers and networks. As network and computer systems administrators they install network hardware and software to meet an organization or company's network needs. They also maintain computer networks, assessing the system's performance, managing network safety and solving problems when they arise. Another part of this career is training network users. Glance over the following table to learn about degree programs, job skills and salary expectations.

Degree Required Certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree; depending on experience
Education Field of Study Computer science
Information technology
Information systems
Key Skills Tech savvy, good troubleshooting, analytical
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8%*
Median Salary (2015) $77,810*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Be a Unix Systems Administrator?

Many employers require Unix systems administrators to hold bachelor's degrees. If you'd like to be a systems administrator, a bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology may be most relevant to your career. However, a bachelor's degree in any field would suffice if you take additional computer programming courses while in college. If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, you could enroll in a certificate program in Unix systems administration. Completing such a certificate program could make up for the fact that you don't have a degree in a computer-related field.

Certificate programs in Unix systems administration cover topics in basic programming concepts, shell scripting, Unix system configuration and organization, networking and file-system architecture. You might also learn the Perl and C programming languages, Java, TCP/IP protocols and systems security.

You don't necessarily need a bachelor's degree in order to pursue a career as a Unix systems administrator. Some jobs might only require you to hold an associate degree or obtain professional certification. This is especially true if you already have significant work experience in the field.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

Unix systems administrators are responsible for ensuring that computers or servers using the Unix operating system are running efficiently. You'll be responsible for hardware and software installation, configuration, maintenance and troubleshooting. You could expect to create and delete user accounts, monitor system processes, and allocate disk usage among various users and jobs. Additionally, you might be required to configure computer networks and monitor network security. As a systems administrator, you might also have to provide technical support to users and help troubleshoot their problems.

What Salary Could I Expect?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), systems administrators earned a mean annual salary of $82,200 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Data released by the BLS indicated that in 2015, administrators in the pipeline transportation of crude oil industry had the highest salary at $121,100 per year. Systems administrators working in the securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage also did well, earning a mean annual salary of more than $103,710.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Information technology (IT) project managers coordinate the IT projects of an organization. They assess an organization's IT needs, set goals that will allow them to meet those needs and then delegate resources to complete those goals. These managers usually have a bachelor's degree in either a computer or IT related field. Computer network architects design and install computer networks for organizations. This may include local area networks (LANs) or larger wide area networks (WANs). They too, typically have bachelors degree in a computer related field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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  • Ashford University

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  • Capella University

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    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Full Sail University

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    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Master
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    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Saint Leo University

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    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Master
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  • Keiser University

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    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
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  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
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