What is a Systems Administrator

Systems administrators are essential to most companies. So you could probably find a job almost anywhere. Which is great, especially if you're looking for a career with a lot of job opportunities. Of course, who's going to realistically turn down opportunity?

As a systems administrator, it's on your shoulders to keep the company servers up and working smoothly. Of course, there will be crashes you'll have to deal with. After all, that's why you're there in the first place.

When an employer looks for a systems administrator, they're usually looking for an individual who has a bachelor's degree. But that's not all. This isn't an entry-level position so you're going to need at least 3-5 years of experience under your belt as well. Once you get all of those checked off, you'll be well on your way to your dream career.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Systems Administrator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $38.87 an hour? That's $80,851 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 18,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Systems Administrator Do

There are certain skills that many Systems Administrators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Analytical skills, Communication skills and Problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what a Systems Administrator does

How To Become a Systems Administrator

If you're interested in becoming a Systems Administrator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 60.2% of Systems Administrators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.6% of Systems Administrators have master's degrees. Even though most Systems Administrators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Systems Administrator. When we researched the most common majors for a Systems Administrator, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Systems Administrator resumes include Master's Degree degrees or Diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Systems Administrator. In fact, many Systems Administrator jobs require experience in a role such as Technical Support Specialist. Meanwhile, many Systems Administrators also have previous career experience in roles such as Network Administrator or Network Technician.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Microsoft Jobs (1,071)
  2. DXC Technology Jobs (733)
  3. AT&T Jobs (274)
  4. Lockheed Martin Jobs (363)
  5. Northrop Grumman Jobs (369)
Average Salary
$80,851
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
157,732
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Systems Administrator

Systems Administrators in America make an average salary of $80,851 per year or $39 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $105,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $61,000 per year.
Average Salary
$80,851
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12 Systems Administrator Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Systems Administrator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Systems Administrator resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Systems Administrator Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Microsoft Jobs (1,071)
  2. DXC Technology Jobs (733)
  3. AT&T Jobs (274)
  4. Lockheed Martin Jobs (363)
  5. Northrop Grumman Jobs (369)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Systems Administrator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Systems Administrator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Systems Administrator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Systems Administrator Demographics

Systems Administrator Gender Statistics

male

83.9 %

female

16.1 %

Systems Administrator Ethnicity Statistics

White

64.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.2 %

Asian

11.0 %

Systems Administrator Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

43.6 %

French

9.2 %

German

4.8 %
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Systems Administrator Education

Systems Administrator Majors

13.0 %

Systems Administrator Degrees

Bachelors

60.2 %

Associate

23.9 %

Masters

8.6 %

Top Colleges for Systems Administrators

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

6. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

8. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

9. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,453
Enrollment
4,312

10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451
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Online Courses For Systems Administrator That You May Like

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Top Skills For a Systems Administrator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 8.0% of Systems Administrators listed Windows on their resume, but soft skills such as Analytical skills and Communication skills are important as well.

Best States For a Systems Administrator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Systems Administrator. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Oregon, and Vermont. Systems Administrators make the most in Washington with an average salary of $96,136. Whereas in California and Oregon, they would average $94,475 and $91,934, respectively. While Systems Administrators would only make an average of $88,790 in Vermont, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Systems Administrator Jobs:
1,466
Highest 10% Earn:
$132,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Vermont

Total Systems Administrator Jobs:
156
Highest 10% Earn:
$113,000
Location Quotient:
1.27
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Systems Administrator Jobs:
801
Highest 10% Earn:
$126,000
Location Quotient:
1.21
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Systems Administrators

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Top Systems Administrator Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ Systems Administrators and discovered their number of Systems Administrator opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Wipro was the best, especially with an average salary of $81,652. Amazon follows up with an average salary of $92,993, and then comes Tata Group with an average of $78,558. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a Systems Administrator. The employers include Salesforce, Rockwell Automation, and Jacobs Engineering Group

Most Common Employers For Systems Administrator

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Systems Administrator SalaryAverage Salary
1$112,104
2$102,590
3$100,564
4$98,923
5$98,257
6$92,993

Systems Administrator Videos

Becoming a Systems Administrator FAQs

How long does it take to become a Systems Administrator?

It takes 5 years of professional experience to become a systems administrator. That is the time it takes to learn specific systems administrator skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 8 to 10 years years to become a systems administrator.

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Do you need a degree to be a system administrator and why?

No, you do not need a degree to become a systems administrator. However, it will certainly help your chances of landing a job.

Only around 6% of systems administrators have just a high school diploma. While 45% of system administrators have a bachelor's degree and 29% have an associate's degree in network systems administration.

The major reason that employers seek out those with a degree is because being a systems administrator requires a strong understanding of multiple systems, including computer systems, hardware and software, networking, programming, and IT security.

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How do I become a system administrator without a degree?

To become a systems administrator without a degree, learn the necessary skills and earn a certification.

Not having a degree does make it harder to land a position as a systems administrator. Around 6% of systems administrators have only a high school diploma.

While the most common path is to have a degree, another path requires learning a great deal about computer systems hardware and software, networking, programming, and IT security.

This information will provide the foundation for the skills needed to build and maintain network systems. After graduation, the next step is to take a certification in network systems. The gold standard is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Once you're certified, you can then begin applying for entry-level positions. If you have trouble finding a job, you should look into working an internship.

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How much money do system administrators make?

System administrators make an average of $63,510 a year. However, the range in earning potential can be as low as $52,370 a year to as high as $132,520 a year.

There is a high degree of variability in the potential earnings of a system administrator. One major factor in this is based on the location of the position does play a big factor in the range in salaries.

Top five states in pay for Systems Administrators:

  • Washington - $82,772na year or $39.79 an hour

  • New York - $78,432 a year or $37.71 an hour

  • New Hampshire - $75,901 a year or $36.49 an hour

  • California - $73,983 a year or $35.57 an hour

  • Massachusetts - $72,236 a ye as or $34.73 an hour

Bottom five states in pay for Systems Administrators:

  • Michigan - $58,381 a year $28.07 an hour

  • Mississippi - $58,352 a year or $28.05 an hour

  • Illinois - $58,097 a year or $27.93 an hour

  • Missouri - $57,156 a year or $27.48 an hour

  • North Carolina - $53,210 a year or $25.58 an hour

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Is a systems administrator a good job?

Yes, being a system administrator is a good job. Systems administrators have great earning potential relative to the level of study required instead of some of the other disciplines in IT.

The need for systems administration positions is expected to grow 36% over the next ten years. There is a lot of pressure in some cases, granted, but the potential for earning a decent living is one of the great things about being a systems administrator.

Other factors that make systems administrator a good job are that it's relatively low stress, has a good work-life balance, and has solid prospects for being promoted and earning a higher salary.

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What qualifications do you need to be a systems administrator?

The qualifications you need to become a systems administrator are a strong understanding of computer systems hardware and software, networking, programming, IT security, and either a college degree or technical certification in systems administration.

Systems administrators are a core technology role, which usually means that a person's technical skills and experience matter more than their formal education.

With that said, almost half of all systems administrators have a bachelor's degree in network systems administration. Another 30% have an associate's degree in the same area. It is important to establish some educational credentials, which at minimum would be a two-year degree.

However, another path is to teach yourself what you need to know via online training courses and programs. Study material should focus on computer systems hardware and software, networking, programming, and IT security.

This information will provide the foundation for the skills needed to build and maintain network systems. After graduation, the next step is to take a certification in network systems. The gold standard is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Network Associate (CCNA) certification demonstrates your knowledge to deploy, maintain, secure, and operate a medium-sized network using Cisco technologies.

The Associate level of Cisco Certifications can begin directly with CCNA for network installation, operations, and troubleshooting and is a prerequisite to the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certifications.

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