Career in IT: Position System Administrator

Career in IT: Position System Administrator


Let’s focus on the profession of system administrator -- a specialist in managing information infrastructures.

The system administrator is an IT specialist who is involved in setting up and ensuring stable operation of the computer park.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The main task of the system administrator is to improve and modernize the entire information infrastructure of the company, as well as monitor its performance and respond to emerging problems.

Administrator is a person who can and must solve almost any problem, but not in rush with short-term “crutch” solutions, but correctly, carefully, efficiently, with a thought of the future.

In small companies, the post of system administrator often implies refilling cartridges, installing OS, purchasing equipment, and interacting with providers. The system administrator is required to prepare the environment for the developer / user / client and simply make sure that everything works. 

It also happens that a system administrator concurrently performs the tasks of a network administrator (working with networks at the level of switches, routers, virtual networks). In the classic case, the system administrator deals with problems at the level of the operating system and application programs, and the network administrator at the level of the network and programs that work with the network. The network administrator knows what BGP is, but may not know what a GPO is, and vice versa.

Depending on the size and specifics of the company, the duties of the system administrator may include:

- Configuring hardware and software for stable operation;

- Configuring servers, fault-tolerant solutions, infrastructure elements;

- Installation of servers / services, modernization of existing ones;

- Maintenance of office computer equipment;

- Writing server software;

- Testing hardware;

- Setting up workstations, networks and network equipment (routers, modems);

- Information Security;

- Organization of backup;

- Organization of remote access;

- Users support;

- Procurement of new hardware and software.

A typical working day of the system administrator includes:

- solution of emerging problems;

- settings for new equipment, testing new firmware / software versions;

- scheduled work on automation and optimization of processes;

- administration of services, servers and infrastructure.

They say that if admin does nothing then this is a good admin, since everything works there are no emergencies. But in fact, even if everything works, there are many things that can be improved and made to work better. 

A typical working day of a good system administrator includes coming to the office, seeing monitoring reports, how things broke and how they were repaired, go to meetings, read new articles on favorite blogs, and see newsletters about updates. A good system administrator automates and configures everything, to be able to solve most of the tasks by pressing a few keys. ”

Advantages and disadvantages

According to the system administrators, the main attractive feature of their position is the ability to work with equipment and solve unconventional tasks. The advantage of the position is the need to work with a variety of technologies, which are constantly changing and improving. This encourages continuous learning.

Admin is the locus of skills and knowledge, having the ability to solve the problem here and now and knowledge to ensure that the problem does not recur.  Almost all the system administrators surveyed noted their fascination with computers since childhood and hence, said that the possibility of working with computers is a definite advantage. 

Among the shortcomings most commonly were named  ... the users. According to system administrators, it is challenging to work with users who don’t want to learn and instead repeat the same questions and requests. 

Another disadvantage of the job is routine and monotony. 

There are complaints about bosses. Many employers see the system administrator as a network administrator, a Windows / Linux system administrator, secretary or something else. Sometimes when admin has everything automated, he or she is seen with suspicion. Bosses prefer admins that are active and make themselves visible. Whereas the effectiveness of an admin is measured by the ratio of saved money, working time, effort or minimized downtime. 

Another problem is the need to always be ready to urgently fix something, even after hours. 

System administrators are also not satisfied with the level of their salary and report slow career growth. 

Another drawback is the lack of qualified colleagues to ensure backstopping for the time of vacation or sick leave. Usually in small companies no one wants to hire a second system administrator, as one is enough in most cases. 

How to become a system administrator and where to go next?

In order to become an admin, you need:

- To know and be able to configure operating systems;

- Understand the principles of operation of network equipment, network protocols;

- Be able to work with domain services, mail services.

Knowledge of programming languages ​​and scripts will be a plus.

The career path usually begins with a junior system administrator or support engineer.

With regard to personal qualities, it is necessary:

- to be able to possess a wide range of knowledge of different systems and technologies;

- to love to learn;

- be able to quickly find information to solve problems;

- be able to predict the consequences of actions;

- be stress-resistant, assiduous, understanding and patient;

- be prepared to bear responsibility.

You need not be afraid to experiment, try all the technologies, all the OS, software that you've heard or read about.

The legend says that the system administrator should have three main qualities:

1) Laziness. The most important and basic quality. If it works - do not touch it. But it is laziness that constantly makes everything automated so that it does not need to be replaced.

2) Pedantry. A task can be considered completed only when you can forget about it forever.

3) Paranoia. Most machines are connected to the network, so any software can be hacked. 

The career prospects of system administrators can be as follows:

  • Developing as a system administrator, delving into specialization and mastering related technologies;

  • Becoming a software developer or software architect;

  • Re-qualifying as an IT security engineer;

  • Taking the management role, becoming a CIO or СTO.

13:43 Sunday, 6 October 2019


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