System administrators are a crucial part of the IT sector. They configure and manage hardware, software, and operating systems, also known as the infrastructure used to support users inside companies. If you are passionate about designing, organizing, modifying, and keeping a company’s computer system, this is the perfect job for you. This guide will give you an understanding of this career, along with templates to build an appropriate resume.
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Job Duties of a System Administrator
A system administrator is a technical professional whose job is to design and install local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and other network segments inside a company or organization. They must keep up-to-date knowledge about new developments in the technology as it directly impacts the business. There are several central roles that a system administrator has to follow. Some of these are:
Installing, supporting, and maintaining servers or other computer systems.
Planning for and responding to server outrages and other problems such as cyberattacks and troubleshooting.
Scripting or light programming.
Project management for system-related projects.
Creating a backup and recovery policy.
Updating system as soon as a new version of operating system and application software comes out.
Setting up accounts and workstations.
Assuring top security through access control, backups, and firewalls.
System Administrator Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the basic annual salary for a system administrator is $84,810 as of 2020.
Top Skills for System Administrators
Modern offices simply are not functional without network and computer systems administrators. This will lead to a 4% increase in demand by the year 2029.
Here are a few of the top skills for you to become a successful system administrator:
- Problem-solving and diagnosing issues: A system administrator’s two most important jobs are anticipating and solving problems in a workspace before becoming an issue. It requires an abstract thought process and a tangible approach. According to the IT site Red Hat, there are five steps for problem-solving as a system administrator: knowledge, observation, deduction, action, and test. This is a simple principle which you can adopt to diagnose and fix the problems related to both hardware and software.
- Hardware expertise: A system administrator must be an expert in physical server connections. It is through physical hardware that they install new devices or manage connections. System administrators must also configure routers, printers, CPUs, and other physical machines. Your skills with technical support and troubleshooting are crucial in this role.
- Up-to-date with security practices: Cybersecurity is maybe the top concern for public and private companies due to the increased probabilities of cyberattacks and data breaches. To become a good system administrator, you must have the skill to address potential risks and weaknesses in a company’s cybersecurity. It is the job of these professionals to create security strategies to avoid fraud in their workspace.
- Project management proficiency: Although not all system administrators are project managers, they must keep an eye on every detail from inception to completion in any team they form a part of. If you need help with this, several paid and free project management tools throughout the internet will save your team time and develop efficiency; some outstanding examples are Bitrix24, Trello, Asana, and Google drive.
- Robust cloud computing understanding: “Clouds,” or digital storage via the internet, have become commonplace in the workspace. Organizations of every type use cloud computing for various cases such as data backup, disaster recovery, software development and testing, and big data analytics. A system administrator needs to manage these cloud servers and secure them to the best of his knowledge to protect the company’s best interest and enable others in the team to do their job.
Educational Requirements for System Administrators
DegreeA system administrator is obligated to study at least a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related fields. Without these courses, system administrators are prohibited from working in this type of job. Several universities offer studies in computer science, such as St. Ambrose University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University.
You can also further your education through a master’s degree in computer networking programs to improve your prospects. For a master’s degree in computer science, you can go to the University of California at Berkeley, Purdue University, or Georgia Institute of Technology, among others.
CertificationProfessional certifications establish your credentials as a system administrator and lead to better opportunities and job offers.
These are only a few of the certifications you can receive as a system administrator:
- Microsoft: As one of the more common operating systems in every workspace, Microsoft is a surefire bet when seeking certifications. You can apply for MTA Microsoft, MCSE Microsoft, MCSA Microsoft, MCSD Microsoft. These certifications will also reinforce your knowledge in the field while also improving your chances of landing your dream opportunity.
- Red Hat: This operating system, akin to Linux Enterprise, is another option for aspiring system administrators. Red Hat prepares you to certify yourself in the field through their courses and assures employers that you can administer systems that run their Red Hat Operating System.
System Administrator Resume-Writing Tips
Many people lose sight that the sole purpose of a resume is to get an interview. So they often make common mistakes when writing one. Check out these tips that can help you create an impactful resume.
- Write a persuasive summary: While writing your resume, keep in mind the recruiter starts by reading the summary. So make a good impression by mentioning your capabilities in the first two to three lines, to sum up your best work or experience followed by the skills you used to achieve that goal. In this way, the recruiter will be able to make an immediate connection.
- Use keywords to define your skill set: The section where you mention your skills is essential. Instead of using long sentences, use crisp and formal adverbs as keywords to show your skills are functional. Read the job description and give the employers what they expect from the candidate by mentioning every technical and administrative skill.
- Make yourself relevant to the industry: Write in all the tools you have practiced to work in the IT sector, such as networking, configuring, maintenance, and management.
- List certifications: You make the hiring manager’s job a little easier by listing all the required certificates. Certifications focus on displaying your conceptual skills and reflect the scale of your work.
What is the difference between a system administrator and a system engineer?
As the name suggests, a system administrator administers the networks and the servers, whereas an engineer could help but is more responsible for the actual design. An engineer is someone who builds the server and hands it over. A system administrator further does the day-to-day administration and monitoring. They check the alerts, ensuring that the logs don’t fill up, and ensures that the disk has enough capacity. A system administrator must check through the logs if a server crashes.
Why choose a system administrator job?
It is a great starting point in IT. It has exposure to everything such as hardware, software, users, and devices. Every team in the organization relies on system administration to ensure their infrastructure usually operates.