With so many organizations today embracing all the latest technologies out there, having a solid IT infrastructure matters more than ever. Not only is downtime an inconvenience to organizations, but it can easily drive them out of business altogether. According to a study by Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. This is why organizations need system administrators to keep all their business applications running and up to date.

System Administrator - Overview

A system administrator is responsible for maintaining the entire IT infrastructure of an organization. Their work ranges from maintaining servers to updating software and everything else in between. They are the first point-of-contact for any technical problems that employees face. When no one in an organization faces any issue while doing their job, this means that systems administrators have done their job well. 

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System Administrator - Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of a system administrator can vary widely from one organization to another. Here are the four types of system administrators based on their roles and responsibilities:

Network Administrators

Network administrators manage the entire network infrastructure of an organization. They design and install computer systems, routers, switches, local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and intranet systems. They also monitor the systems, provide maintenance and troubleshoot any problems when they arise.

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBA) set up and maintain databases used in an organization. They may also be required to integrate data from an old database into a new one or even create a database from scratch. In large organizations, there are specialized DBAs who are only responsible for managing databases. In smaller organizations, the roles of DBAs and server administrators can overlap.

Server/Web Administrators

Server or web administrators specialize in maintaining servers, web services and operating systems of the servers. They monitor the speed of the internet to make sure that everything runs smoothly. They also analyze a website’s traffic patterns and implement changes based on user feedback. 

Security Systems Administrators

Security systems administrators monitor and maintain the security systems of an organization. They develop organizational security procedures and also run regular data checkups - setting up, deleting and maintaining user accounts.

In large organizations, all these roles may all be separate positions within one department. In smaller organizations, they may be shared by a few system administrators, or even one single person.

System Administrator - Skills

Since maintaining an entire IT infrastructure is not an easy feat, system administrators need to have a mixture of hard and soft skills. Here are a few skills that companies look for in system administrators.

  • Knowledge of different operating systems (Microsoft, Unix, Linux, etc.)
  • Basic programming skills - (PHP, JavaScript, etc.)
  • Hardware knowledge
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem solving mindset
  • Critical thinking

The most important skill for a system administrator is the ability to solve problems under pressure. Since every minute is critical for the success of a business, a system administrator  should be able to quickly diagnose what is wrong and how best to fix it.

System Administrator - Educational Qualification

The basic requirement for a system administrator is a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, IT, IT systems management, or any other related field. However, you can also opt for certification programs with a core emphasis on hardware, computer networks, and system administration. An updated professional certification is the quickest tool that employers can use to check your skills.

Here are some popular certifications that will help you gain new skills, earn more money, and stay ahead of the competition:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
  • VMware Certified Professional 6-Data Center Virtualization
  • Oracle Linux System Administrator (Oracle)
  • ITIL® Certification
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

System Administrator - Job Description

The career outlook for system administrators continues to grow along with the changes in technology.  Hence, they are required to stay aware of all the latest trends in the tech space. These days, most companies require certification or recertification to ensure that their employees are not falling behind. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, systems administrator roles are projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Here are some common requirements that you would find in a system administrator job description:

  • Install and configure software, hardware and networks
  • Ensure security and efficiency of IT infrastructure
  • Monitor system performance and troubleshoot issues 
  • Identify system requirements and install upgrades 
  • Maintains, secure and upgrade a web system
  • Create a backup and safeguard the data 
  • Perform account setup for new and old employees
  • Track emerging technologies and implement them in the organization

A system administrator’s salary can depend on the location, experience and the type of systems they manage. Here is a list of system administrators’ salaries around the world.

  • Annual average system administrator salary in India - ₹692,255
  • Annual average system administrator salary in US - $82,925
  • Annual average system administrator salary in UK - £25,634
  • Annual average system administrator salary in Canada - CA$59,961
  • Annual average system administrator salary in Australia - AU$68,685
  • Annual average system administrator salary in Singapore - S$44641
  • Annual average system administrator salary in UAE - AED 84,014
  • Annual average system administrator salary in Saudi Arabia - SAR 92,37
Are you looking forward to becoming an ITIL expert? Check out the ITIL Foundation Certification Course and get certified.

Here’s Your Next Step to Success

Systems administration is a career path where experience significantly outweighs a college degree. They need to have proper training and experience before taking over an IT infrastructure completely. ITIL certified professionals can earn up to 40-percent more than their non-certified peers. If you want to understand the concept of ITIL frameworks and enhance the quality of IT Service Management, Simplilearn’s ITIL® 4 Foundation Certification Training Course is the perfect place to get started. This ITIL V4 certification course will help you understand the concepts, languages, best practices, and processes utilized in the ITIL 4 lifecycle. Whether you are just getting started or are a seasoned IT professional, you need to update, renew, and even reactivate your certifications to ensure that you are well equipped with the latest skills in information technology. Get trained and certified today with Simplilearn to help you get ahead in your career.

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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