Job Profile: System Administrator

What is a System Administrator?

The question of what is a System Administrator often brings a look of uncertainty. A System Administrator performs all necessary tasks on a daily basis to maintain the highest level of network availability for every system user throughout a company. Their job is to install, organize, support and facilitate the planning efforts for simple or intricate computer information systems. The majority of the industries that rely on their expertise include, telecommunications, manufacturing, computer systems design, finance, insurance and educational services. They work on private, local, state and federal levels. They often hold positions with job titles like, Network Engineer, Systems Engineer, Network Administrator and Technology Officer.

Degree and Training

While some organizations recognize experience and certification, rather than a formal instruction, most require a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Computer Science or Information Science. They also look for current certification in courses including programming, database management, systems analysis and standard communications. Hiring managers want to ensure that they have the proper level of training to respond to a diverse number of tasks with knowledge of wide area and local area or WAN and LAN. A college or university curriculum provides the best preparation. To succeed in this field, problem –solving, attention to small details, analytical, concentration and computer skills are necessary. In addition, the ability to multi-task is crucial because they often complete multiple tasks simultaneously. It is also best to have a minimum of six to 12 months experience working on a Linux or Windows Operating System. Prior employment in a Data Warehouse or Data Center environment is also optimal.


The average median salary is approximately $69,160; 50% of the total workforce makes this amount each year. The highest salary is over $108,090 and only 10% earn this wage. The remaining 40% who choose this profession, average between $42,400 and $51,960 on an annual basis. Those with experience of less than five years and certification only, receive entry- level wages, which are at the lower end until they gain more knowledge. While college-graduates and those with higher levels of skill make the median salary amounts. The top five states with the highest number of employees in this profession include California, Texas, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. As a result, the average annual salary requirements are much higher than other parts of the United States. Of these five, Virginia pays the most at $85,370 per year. California and New York follow closely behind. They pay $82,750 and $82,020, respectively. Pennsylvania pays $76,100 and finally, Texas at $71,450.

Future Prospects

This industry looks promising for the future and growth will continue to soar. Many estimate an average percentage of more than 28% between 2010 and 2020, making this the leading occupation in the United States. As the demand continues to increase, more jobs will be created. During the next decade, the question of what is a System Administrator will no longer have such ambiguity because with every passing day, the need to fight against hackers and Internet terrorism becomes a certainty.