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Become A Systems Administrator

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Working As A 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

  • $79,726

    Average Salary

What Does A 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.


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 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.


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.


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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4,088 Systems Administrator jobs More

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Real Systems Administrator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
System Administrator III Pride Technologies LLC Wilton, CT Jul 27, 2015 $208,700
Systems Administrator Google Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 21, 2016 $190,000
Piping Support Engineer Competentia Us, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 12, 2016 $180,000
MTS 1, Systems Administrator EBAY Inc. San Jose, CA Jun 06, 2016 $170,000
Premier Support Engineer Hortonworks, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 30, 2016 $165,000
Systems Administrator Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 12, 2015 $160,000
Systems Administrator Google Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 17, 2016 $160,000
MTS 1, Systems Administrator Paypal, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 18, 2016 $160,000
MTS 1, Systems Administrator Paypal, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 18, 2016 $160,000
MTS 1, Systems Admin Paypal, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 05, 2015 $160,000
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Top Skills for A Systems Administrator


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Top Systems Administrator Skills

  1. Windows Server
  2. New Hardware
  3. Active Directory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Install and administer Microsoft Windows Server versions 2003, 2008 and 2012.
  • Contributed to regional IT strategy migration serving as primary point of contact resolving transition tactics training personnel on new hardware/software applications.
  • Provided level 3 support for Windows 2000 servers and Active Directory infrastructure.
  • Provided consultation on materials and design for network Infrastructure.
  • Assisted customer/vendors with product installation and trouble-shooting network related issues via remote dial up access.

Top Systems Administrator Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Systems Administrator

  1. IBM
  2. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  3. General Dynamics
  4. Lockheed Martin
  5. Northrop Grumman
  6. TEKsystems
  7. HP
  8. United States Marine Repair Inc
  9. Microsoft
  10. Robert Half
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