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Grand Canyon University

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What Are Some Courses for Systems Administrators?

Systems administrators keep the computer systems in an organization functioning efficiently, often by troubleshooting problems and performing systems upgrades. If you'd like to work as a systems administrator, you might consider taking courses in computer programming, operating systems, communications and business. Read on to find out more about the education for this career.

Career and Coursework Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, systems administrators commonly begin their careers as computer support specialists, then earn promotions into the administrator position (www.bls.gov). Both roles require wide knowledge of computer hardware components and software as well as problem solving and communications skills. As an aspiring systems administrator, you will likely need to earn an associate or bachelor's degree with a major in computer information systems, computer science or management information systems. Below are just a few of the courses you'll need to complete such a program:

Important Facts About This Occupation

Concentrations Digital Communications and Media/Multimedia , Computer and Information Science, Computer Systems Analysis, Information Technology, Management Information Systems
Certifications Certification courses offered by vendor or vendor-neutral certification providers
Continuing Education Many administrators continue to participate in courses throughout their careers
Online Availability Fully available online
Median Salary (2021) $80,600 (for all network and computer systems administrators)
Job Outlook (2021-2031) 3% growth (for all network and computer systems administrators)

Computer Programming

Although programming may not be one of your core duties as a systems administrator, you may be expected to write small programs or modify existing ones for certain tasks. Courses in programming can be language specific, as in C++ or Java, or generalized to cover the fundamentals of programming. Typical course titles include computer programming, object-oriented programming, fundamentals of programming and programming languages.

Operating Systems

In order to become a systems administrator, you will need to have a familiarity with operating systems used by end users, such as Windows, and those used on back-end hardware such as Unix. Courses on this subject may broadly cover the function and structure of operating systems. There may also be courses focusing on specific operating systems.

Computer Security

Keeping data secure is an important part of managing the computers in a business environment. In this course, you learn about security software, protocols and procedures used to prevent unauthorized access or data loss. This includes discussion of different security technology as well as user-related issues such as computer access and use policies.

Business Operation

Systems administrators keep the organizations they work for current in ever-changing business environments through the computer systems they maintain. This means that as a systems administrator, you may need some understanding of how businesses operate and how the computer network fits into that larger picture. Business courses that address these topics include database management, project management, systems analysis and business ethics.