What is a Systems Administrator?

Companies are heavily dependant on their networks to keep things running smoothly, therefore it makes sense that any problems that arise need to be corrected quickly. This is the responsibility of a systems administrator.

Systems administrators are responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of a company's computer systems; especially multi-user computers, such as servers. They also keep all equipment and software up to date.

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What does a Systems Administrator do?

A systems administrator is the first-point-of-contact for a company'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.

A systems administrator keeping software up to date.

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 systems administrator typically needs to document various troubleshooting attempts in order to pinpoint the solution to specific network problems.

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 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 systems administrator?

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 Systems Administrator like?

Systems administrators are very much in demand, and crucial to the success of Internet-based companies. Most systems administrators are on-call, as they have system and network infrastructures which need to run 24 hours a day, every day.

Systems Administrators are also known as:
Computer Systems Administrator Sysadmin