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Decoding Your IT System Administrator Career Pathway

System administrators keep a company’s IT systems running. Their severe role assures that employees can access what they need when they need it.

What Is a System Administrator?

A system administrator’s responsibilities include:

  • Assuring the company hardware and software are working as intended.
  • Installing all the applications required to support the organization.
  • Updating systems when new software is released.
  • Managing user accounts and access.

Some functions of a system administrator may overlap with the company’s network administrator, depending on the extent of the company. While a network administrator’s primary center is the company’s servers and network, a system administrator primarily concentrates on other working parts of the IT system, including the computers themselves and software.

Become a System Administrator

Most employers look for system administrator with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field. Employers typically need three to five years of experience in systems administration positions. Adding certifications such as QlikView System Administrator and Qlik Sense System Administrator will show employers you have the current skills to be active as a system administrator.

Career Requirements

  • Degree Level: Bachelor’s degree
  • Degree Field: Computer science, information science, information systems, or another related field
  • Essential Skills: Problem-solving, communication, multi-tasking, and analytical skills; knowledge with relevant software, configuration management, network monitoring, and security; ability to utilize tools like network analyzers, cable accessories, and server load balancers.

The fundamental skills for system administrators include problem-solving, communication, multi-tasking, and analytical skills, familiarity with related software, configuration management, network monitoring, and security, and the ability to use tools like network analyzers, cable accessories and server load balancers.

Job Titles Related to Systems Administration

  • Network Administrator
  • IT Administrator
  • Systems Development Manager
  • IT Systems Manager
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Acquire the Required Education

Several educational routes can lead to taking a career as a system administrator. According to the BLS, many employers prefer a system administrator with a bachelor’s degree.

In some cases, if an applicant has prior work experience, a professional certificate or an associate’s degree is acceptable. A system administrator can choose from any computer-related major, such as information science or computer science. Typical coursework for these programs covers computer programming, systems design, and networking.

Complete an Internship

To get the most from your education, complete an internship. Some college training programs offer students the option of participating in an internship program to get industry skills and knowledge while in school. These positions usually have initial job training that allows a potential system administrator to become familiar with computers in a work setting.

Find a System Administration Position

Aspiring candidates that have developed a post-secondary training program will find that there are entry-level positions in system administration. Some examples of job tasks listed for entry-level positions include designing and developing systems, as well as follow-up testing and troubleshooting networking system problems.

After working in a system administration position, other career opportunities become available with additional experience and training.

It is essential to consider professional certification. Many certifications and designation opportunities are available to system administrators. These certifications are usually with specific product manufacturers.

Stay Current with the Latest Technology

Additionally, given the fast pace of the industry, stay current with the latest technology. System administrators require to keep current with ongoing advancements and changes in technology, which can be accomplished through continuing education. Master’s degree programs in this field are also available and can give advanced training in system administration.

What Exactly Does a System Administrator Do?

Network and computer system administrators are responsible for the day-to-day administration of computer networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including LANs, WANs, network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

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Typical Job Responsibilities:

Typical job responsibilities for a system administrator cover:

  • Maintaining and administering computer networks, including computer hardware, systems software, and application software.
  • Performing data backups and managing all disaster recovery operations.
  • Controlling the performance of computer systems and networks.
  • Coordinating computer network access and use.
  • Diagnosing, troubleshooting, and resolving hardware, software, or other network and system obstacles and replacing faulty components when necessary.
  • Devising and maintaining security measures to protect data, software, and hardware.
  • Configuring, monitoring, and managing email applications or virus protection software.
  • Implementing and providing technical assistance for voice services and facilities, including unified communications systems, if applicable.
  • Designing, configuring, and testing computer hardware, networking software, and operating system software.
  • Conversing with network users about how to solve current system problems and training new computer system users.

Technical Skills Required for System Administrators:

  • System administrators must have a strong background in computers, electronics, and mathematics.
  • They also want a secure experience in management principles, including strategic planning, resource allocation, and coordination of people and resources.
  • System administrators must be available with many technologies to be proficient.

Personal Skills and Characteristics Required for System Administrators:

Because system administrators are the go-source when network problems occur, one of the most critical own skills required in this profession is the ability to remain calm under pressure. Excellent communication skills are also vital, as part of the job of a system administrator is to educate network users about how to efficiently and safely operate network equipment.

Additional skills required are:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Active listening skills
  • Good time management
  • Excellent judgment and decision making ability
  • Social perceptiveness
  • Active reading and oral comprehension
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System administrators seldom get the glory they deserve. Within any excellent IT and engineering team, there’s a constant balance between rate and reliability.

While developers are often pushing the boundaries on speed, System administrators are doing the difficult job of slowing them down before they go too far, ensuring more excellent reliability and security across all of your applications and services.

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