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Working As a Computer Systems Administrator

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $72,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Systems Administrator Do

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Duties

Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:

  • Determine an organization’s network and computer system needs before setting one up
  • Install all network hardware and software and make needed upgrades and repairs
  • Maintain network and computer system security and ensure that all systems are operating correctly
  • Collect data in order to evaluate and optimize network or system performance
  • Add users to a network and assign and update security permissions on the network
  • Train users in the proper use of hardware and software
  • Interpret and solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system alerts them that one exists

Administrators manage an organization’s servers and desktop and mobile equipment. They ensure that email and data storage networks work properly. They also make sure that employees’ workstations are working efficiently and stay connected to the central computer network. Some administrators manage telecommunication networks.

In some cases, administrators help network architects design and analyze network models. They also participate in decisions about buying future hardware or software to upgrade their organization’s network. Some administrators provide technical support to computer users, and they also may supervise computer support specialists who help solve users’ problems.

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How To Become A Computer Systems Administrator

Most employers require network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. Others may require only a postsecondary certificate.

Education

Although some employers require only a postsecondary certificate, most require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. There are degree programs that focus on computer network and system administration. However, because administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering usually is acceptable as well. Programs in these fields usually include classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.

Because network technology is continually changing, administrators need to keep up with the latest developments. Many continue to take courses throughout their careers and attend information technology (IT) conferences to keep up with the latest technology. Some businesses require that an administrator get a master’s degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification programs are generally offered directly from vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates knowledge and best practices required from network and computer systems administrators. Companies may require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the product they use. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.

Other Experience

To gain practical experience, many network administrators participate in internship programs while in school.

Advancement

Network administrators can advance to become computer network architects. They can also advance to managerial jobs in information technology (IT) departments, such as computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Administrators need analytical skills to evaluate network and system performance and determine how changes in the environment will affect them.

Communication skills. Administrators must be able to describe problems and their solutions to non-IT workers.

Computer skills. Administrators oversee the connections of many different types of computer equipment and must ensure that they all work together properly.

Multitasking skills. Administrators may have to work on many problems and tasks at the same time.

Problem-solving skills. Administrators must be able to quickly resolve any problems that arise with computer networks.

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Computer Systems Administrator Career Paths

Computer Systems Administrator
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Consultant Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Manager
Director, Network Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Owner Director Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Owner President/Owner Senior Project Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Owner Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Systems Manager
Senior Manager-Systems
11 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Network Manager
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Systems Manager Network Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Senior Systems Analyst Systems Manager
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Quality Assurance Analyst Quality Assurance Supervisor
Systems Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Senior Network Engineer Information Security Officer
Director Of Information Technology Security
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Technical Support Manager
Data Center Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Senior Network Engineer Infrastructure Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Computer Systems Administrator
Consultant 3.3%
Instructor 2.7%
Top Careers After Computer Systems Administrator
Owner 3.5%
Manager 2.8%

Do you work as a Computer Systems Administrator?

Average Yearly Salary
$72,000
Show Salaries
$57,000
Min 10%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Apple
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
4.6 years
How much does a Computer Systems Administrator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Systems Administrator in the United States is $72,565 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $57,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $92,000.

Real Computer Systems Administrator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Systems Administrator Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 10, 2014 $110,094
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA Dec 18, 2013 $110,000 -
$130,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA May 16, 2012 $110,000 -
$120,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 21, 2014 $104,400 -
$124,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Mprsoft Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 26, 2017 $100,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* ICSA Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 21, 2017 $99,500
Lead Network and Computer Systems Administrators Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 30, 2012 $99,300
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 11, 2012 $99,258 -
$119,258
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA Jul 13, 2012 $99,258 -
$109,258
Network and Computer Systems Administrator Sstech LLC Ashburn, VA Apr 24, 2017 $99,190
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA May 09, 2017 $99,154 -
$119,154
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Verizon Communications Inc., & All Its Subsidiaries & Affiliates Ashburn, VA Mar 22, 2010 $92,000 -
$95,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Disys Solutions, Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 19, 2017 $90,000
Computer System Administrator Tangoe Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 12, 2018 $85,392
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA Sep 09, 2014 $85,000 -
$105,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Inovant LLC Ashburn, VA May 07, 2014 $85,000 -
$105,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Disys Solutions, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 14, 2017 $83,221
Network and Computer Systems Administrator NTT Data, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 20, 2015 $78,603 -
$120,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Tsysus Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 28, 2014 $75,900
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Tachys Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 11, 2013 $73,258
Network and Computer Systems Administrators* Zillion Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 25, 2013 $73,258
Network and Computer Systems Adminstrators Dimension Consulting Ashburn, VA Aug 16, 2011 $70,436
Network and Computer Systems Administrator VIP Communications, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 04, 2010 $65,270 -
$79,996
Computer Systems Administrator Independent Project Analysis, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 01, 2014 $65,000
Network and Computer Systems Administrator MSM Integrated Solutions, Inc. Ashburn, VA Dec 13, 2010 $54,784
Network and Computer Systems Administrator Omneia LLC Ashburn, VA Dec 15, 2010 $54,600
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Omneia, LLC Ashburn, VA Dec 15, 2010 $54,600
Computer Systems Administrator Vastika, Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 05, 2009 $50,600
Computer Systems Administrator Vastika, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 25, 2009 $50,600
Network and Computer Systems Administrators com4 Global Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 15, 2010 $47,029

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Top Skills for A Computer Systems Administrator

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Customer Service
  3. Backup
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Administer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware, system software, and application software.
  • Provided customer service for over 500 employees resolving technical network issues and established communication networks.
  • Execute backup, disaster recovery, and security procedures to ensure privacy, security, and availability of networked resources.
  • Provide necessary pertinent computer networking information to other outside computer professionals that has contracts supplying computer systems to the Courts.
  • Maintained and Repaired PCs, servers, and peripherals according to manufacturers recommended guidelines.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Systems Administrators

  1. Maryland
  2. Hawaii
  3. South Dakota
  4. Virginia
  5. Connecticut
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Texas
  8. District of Columbia
  9. New Jersey
  10. California
  • (2,069 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (3,324 jobs)
  • (319 jobs)
  • (92 jobs)
  • (2,369 jobs)
  • (629 jobs)
  • (854 jobs)
  • (3,804 jobs)

Computer Systems Administrator Demographics

Gender

Male

75.1%

Female

16.5%

Unknown

8.3%
Ethnicity

White

59.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

9.0%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.8%

French

8.5%

Chinese

6.4%

Korean

6.4%

German

4.3%

Mandarin

4.3%

Swedish

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Hebrew

2.1%

Amharic

2.1%

Wolof

2.1%

Serer

2.1%

Carrier

2.1%

Cheyenne

2.1%

Cantonese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%
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Computer Systems Administrator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.2%

Community College of the Air Force

17.7%

University of Maryland - University College

4.4%

Park University

4.4%

Western Governors University

4.4%

Strayer University

4.4%

The Academy

3.9%

Florida State University

3.9%

Kaplan University

3.9%

Capella University

3.9%

Webster University

3.4%

Central Texas College

3.4%

American University

3.4%

Villanova University

3.0%

American InterContinental University

3.0%

University of Houston

3.0%

Bellevue University

3.0%

National University

2.5%

San Jose State University

2.5%

Arizona State University

2.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

21.7%

Business

13.3%

Computer Information Systems

12.0%

Information Technology

11.5%

Computer Networking

5.0%

Electrical Engineering

4.7%

Drafting And Design

3.4%

Computer Engineering

3.2%

Management Information Systems

3.0%

Information Systems

2.7%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Accounting

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Computer Systems Security

2.1%

Computer Programming

2.0%

Finance

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering

2.0%

Project Management

1.7%

Mathematics

1.6%

Education

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.3%

Other

21.5%

Associate

16.9%

Masters

15.4%

Certificate

4.3%

Doctorate

1.8%

Diploma

1.7%
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