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.

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 multitasking 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.

Learn More About How To Become a Systems Administrator

Systems Administrator Job Description

Systems administrators are primarily responsible for accomplishing a variety of tasks related to hardware and software such as managing licenses, troubleshooting concerns, and updating. They ensure that all systems are working well by proactively addressing possible concerns and deploying preventive measures to minimize system-related issues.

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Systems Administrator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Systems Administrator

Systems Administrators in America make an average salary of $77,156 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $100,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $59,000 per year.
Average Systems Administrator Salary
$77,156 Yearly
$37.09 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Systems Administrator

The role of a systems administrator includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general systems administrator responsibilities:

  • Hardware/software installation, performing systems configurations, strong skills creating automated scripts for installation/configuration
  • Apply deep expertise to develop and mature the discipline of systems, storage
  • Plan and schedule the installation of new or modified hardware

There are several types of systems administrator, including:

Network Administrator


It is not surprising that many kinds of technology careers nowadays are very in-demand in almost every industry. That's why people are spending money studying technical skills to land a job that pays well in exchange for their expertise. But don't take it the wrong way, though. Being a computer expert isn't rainbows and rays of sunshine. You would probably get a lot of "WTF" moments during network failures and system downtimes. And worse.

A network administrator is just one of the many branches of technology. Network administrators manage troubleshooting procedures, requiring them to have both excellencies in technical skills and customer service. Most companies that need network administrators prefer to hire someone with prior experience, as this job has a lot of responsibility. Though they are usually working within regular business hours, a network administrator does not normally slouch until the end of the shift.

You thought scientists are the people who do experiments? You should see what a network administrator's day looks like. They actually search for the best methods to improve the network's condition and prevent system delays. If you're a frustrated scientist who always loved experiments, why don't you try your luck as a network administrator? Who knows, right?

  • Average Salary: $71,357
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Information Technology Administrator


Information technology administrators manage the day-to-day operations of IT systems to ensure that the systems run effectively. They handle computer or network hardware, software, and security. They analyze enterprise computing system needs and assess computer hardware and software. They design, execute, and maintain technical solutions to enterprise business problems. They extend technical end user support and train and mentor users on desktop application software. They also determine and secure sensitive corporate data.

An information technology administrator should have aptitude for technical activities, good communication skills, and be able to quickly understand complex problems and devise effective solutions. They should be willing to update their own knowledge of IT content.

To become one, you require a bachelor's degree in information technology or computer sciences. There are some self-taught IT specialists who might qualify for the job but they would have to prove their skills to the employer and might not get the same salary as the ones who have gone to college. On average, they earn $67,423 per year or $32.41 per hour.

  • Average Salary: $73,195
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Windows System Administrator


Windows system administrators are professionals charged with the responsibility of installing, supporting and maintaining servers based on different organization's IT-related requirements. They are expected to provide reliable work environments where multi-user computers are associated with LAN network. They offer data security and maintain the stability of the system by responding to outages and other issues.

A Windows system administrator takes part in planning and implementing policies and procedures that are consistent with organization's goals. They should be thorough in their understanding of Microsoft applications and have an ability to communicate effectively with fellow staff and clients. They should also be capable of resolving critical software and hardware issues and be proficient in Windows networking.

A Windows system administrator works 40 hours a week. It is their duty make sure that computer systems are working around the clock. Some administrators may work overtime in the evenings and weekends to ensure systems are running.

  • Average Salary: $79,845
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Systems Administrator Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active systems administrator jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where systems administrators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Systems Administrator Jobs By State

Systems Administrator Education

Systems Administrator Majors

13.0 %

Systems Administrator Degrees


60.2 %


23.9 %


8.6 %

Top Colleges for Systems Administrators

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




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, 7.4% of systems administrators listed linux on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

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 diversity

Systems Administrator Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among systems administrators, 16.1% of them are women, while 83.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among systems administrators is White, which makes up 62.2% of all systems administrators.

  • The most common foreign language among systems administrators is Spanish at 43.6%.

Online Courses For Systems Administrator That You May Like

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1. System Administration and IT Infrastructure Services


This course will transition you from working on a single computer to an entire fleet. Systems administration is the field of IT that’s responsible for maintaining reliable computers systems in a multi-user environment. In this course, you’ll learn about the infrastructure services that keep all organizations, big and small, up and running. We’ll deep dive on cloud so that you’ll understand everything from typical cloud infrastructure setups to how to manage cloud resources. You'll also learn...

2. Linux System Administration with IBM Power Systems


This course introduces administrative tasks that a system administrator can perform with Linux hosted on IBM Power servers. This includes virtualization concepts such as logical partitioning, installation of Linux, command-line operations, and more interesting administration and device management tasks. This course includes hands-on exercises with systems from an IBM data center...

3. Fundamentals of Unix and Linux System Administration


Master Linux/Unix System administration through a practical and hands on approach...

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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 California, Washington, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Systems administrators make the most in California with an average salary of $89,121. Whereas in Washington and Vermont, they would average $83,947 and $83,778, respectively. While systems administrators would only make an average of $81,432 in Massachusetts, 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. Vermont

Total Systems Administrator Jobs: 156
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Washington

Total Systems Administrator Jobs: 1,466
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Oregon

Total Systems Administrator Jobs: 801
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Systems Administrators

How Do Systems Administrators Rate Their Jobs?

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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 $75,820. Amazon follows up with an average salary of $92,385, and then comes Tata Group with an average of $74,749. 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 Booz Allen Hamilton, Forcepoint, and Rackspace

Most Common Employers For Systems Administrator

Systems Administrator Videos

Becoming a Systems Administrator FAQs

System Engineer Vs. System Administrator

A system engineer is someone who focuses on the implementation of a network system, while a system administrator is a professional who manages the ongoing support of a system.

System engineers deal mostly with the planning, design, design changes, and implementation of a network or system. Their job is to determine problems within specific systems. They provide solutions for issues they find in the process, including designing new systems, upgrading hardware, and maintaining an existing system.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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