What Is the Role of a System Administrator?

A system administrator installs and upgrades computer systems and networks. The job involves making sure they are running well and at maximum efficiency. Read on to learn more about the role of a system administrator. Schools offering Computer Systems Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

System Administrating Defined

System administrating is the process of operating and updating computer networks and computer systems. Jobs in this field are typically available in information technology departments. You may work for the government, educational institutions, the healthcare industry, businesses and corporations.

Important Facts About System Administrators

Key SkillsComputer, analytical and communication skills
Professional Certification Available from software firms or product vendors in the industry, such as Microsoft and Cisco
Work EnvironmentOffice; overtime may be necessary to ensure smooth system/network operations
Similar OccupationsComputer programmer, software developer, computer support specialist

Job Duties

In a system administration role, you'll help support your employer's computer systems by installing, designing and protecting them. This includes working on local area networks, network segments, Internet systems and wide area networks. When a problem arises with the systems, it is your job to examine the issue and see that it is fixed. You'll regularly perform routine maintenance and monitor the networks to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Additionally, you'll gather statistical information and figure out how your employer wants to use the computer systems. For example, if co-workers need a faster speed or more memory, you'll help meet those needs by installing additional hardware or software. System security also falls under your responsibilities in many cases. You might work alongside computer security specialists or oversee the security by putting firewalls and other cyber security measures in place.

Education and Training

If you're entering this career, then a bachelor's degree is recommended. However, in some cases, an associate's degree or post-secondary certificate is passable with the right work experience. Before acquiring a systems administrator position, you can obtain work experience through computer support specialist positions. The most common fields of study for a system administrator are information science and computer science.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014, the mean hourly wages for network and system administrators was $38.35. This translated into an annual average income of $79,770. System administrators in the 90th percentile earned $57.69 an hour or $120,000 annually. The industry with the highest level of employment in 2014, according to the BLS, was computer systems design. The top paying industry in that same year was crude oil transportation, with an annual mean wage of $117,120.

From 2012-2022, network and system administrators are expected to grow by 12%. This is about as fast as the average for growth across all vocations. Growth has slowed in this field due to the upsurge in cloud computing. Your odds of finding employment will be best with a bachelor's degree and certification.

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:

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