What is a Computer Systems Administrator?

Companies depend on their networks for so much of their work, therefore any problems must be corrected swiftly and completely. A computer systems administrator maintains an organization’s work flow and keeps its lines of communication open. They are responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems; especially multi-user computers, such as servers. Aside from identifying and fixing network issues, computer systems administrators must also make updates to all equipment and software so they’re current.

What does a Computer Systems Administrator do?

A computer systems administrator is the first-point-of-contact for an organization’s network users when they experience technical problems. For example, computer system administrators ensure that the Internet connection in the office is working, and that the mail server is running and processing emails that are sent and received by all staff within the company or organization. The administrator oversees the performance of an organization’s Internet and Intranet networks by constantly maintaining their hardware and software, installing upgrades, and more.

A computer systems administrator is the first-point-of-contact for an organization’s network users when they experience technical problems.

Computer systems administrators gather information from network users in order to define and fix the problem, troubleshoot system hardware and software, and work with vendors to glean more information. A computer systems administrator typically needs to document various troubleshooting attempts in order to pinpoint the solution to specific network problems.

Computer systems administrators ensure that the performance and security of the computers they manage meet the needs of the network users, without exceeding the company's budget. To meet these needs, they may purchase, install, or upgrade computer components and software; provide routine automation; maintain security policies; troubleshoot; train and/or supervise staff; and offer technical support for projects.

There are different types of computer systems administrators based on their roles and responsibilities:

Server Administrator – maintains the operating system of the servers (and sometimes the applications as well), such as the mail services, the web services, etc., and is also in charge of troubleshooting any hardware, operating system or application-related problems.

Network Administrator – maintains the network infrastructure, such as the routers and switches, and troubleshoots network-related problems.

Database Administrator (DBA) – maintains the database system used by the company or organization. In bigger organizations, there is a DBA which is specifically responsible for this role. In smaller organizations, this role would normally be shared by the server administrator.

Security Systems Administrator - maintains the daily operation of security systems, and can handle things like systems monitoring and running regular backups; setting up, deleting and maintaining individual user accounts; and developing organizational security procedures.

Are you suited to be a computer systems administrator?

Computer systems administrators have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

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What is the workplace of a Computer Systems Administrator like?

A computer systems administrator can get paged or called at 3am in the morning when a mail server goes down, or when the Internet connection suddenly stops working. Most computer systems administrators are always on-call; they have system and network infrastructure which needs to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They must ensure that all servers are functioning, and that the network is running and healthy - all the time.

Good computer systems administrators are often overworked, very much in demand, and crucial to the success of Internet app, web application and cloud-based companies.

Computer Systems Administrators are also known as:
Systems Administrator Sysadmin