IT operations are the nervous system of any organization, and the systems administrator is one of the most critical players in keeping IT hardware, software, and applications secure and running. The system administrator owns nearly all IT systems in conjunction with the network administrator. System administrators are some of the most in-demand IT professionals, commanding salaries ranging from $75,000 to over $100,000 per year.  

What Do Systems Administrators Do? 

While the network administrator focuses on a company’s servers and digital networks, the systems administrator is responsible for physical IT assets. The day-to-day responsibilities of the systems administrator can include

  • Physical security of assets like computers, storage devices, and mobile phones
  • Managing user permissions and access levels 
  • Documentation and record keeping of IT assets 
  • Planning and executing disaster recovery and backup plans 
  • Installing and updating applications on user systems 
  • Managing Single Sign On (SSO) and password applications and policies 
  • Monitoring system metrics like disk usage, DNS, and CPU      

Prerequisites to Become A Systems Administrator 

Almost all organizations will require systems administrator applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in computer education, engineering, or information technology. Some organizations may consider applicants with an associate’s degree in computer science or IT field if the applicant has enough supplementary credentials and certifications.

If you’re pursuing a systems administrator job in finance, banking, or with a larger company, a master’s degree may be required. The most commonly sought Master’s degrees for systems administrators are:

  • Master’s of Technology in information technology
  • Master’s of Technology in computer science
  • Master of Science in system administration and networking
  • Master of Business Administration in system management

Systems Administrator Certifications and Credentials 

In almost all cases, education alone won’t be enough to land a system administrator role; you’ll need additional certifications. There’s a wide range of certifications and courses that can help further your knowledge and showcase your skills to employers, but there are four key certifications that stand out.     

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ sets the baseline skills for core IT security functions. It teaches skills like security monitoring, incident response, and the basics of cryptographic standards. Systems administrators can benefit from CompTIA Security+ by learning about risk assessments, responding to security events, and setting up secure systems and infrastructure. 

CompTIA Server+

CompTIA Server+ teaches administrator-level IT professionals the skills to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot servers. System administrators will be able to showcase skills like maintaining and troubleshooting physical server hardware, security practices, and disaster recovery. 

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA certification teaches the entry-level basics of networking concepts. Systems administrator hopefuls will learn critical skills like network monitoring, IP protocol routing, and installing physical assets like switches, firewalls, routers, and wireless access points.   

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

Microsoft has multiple certifications that can benefit systems administrators, and the Azure Administrator course can be one of the most useful. Systems administrators will learn the skills to deploy and manage environmental aspects like governance, storage, and identity monitoring. 

Ready to become a systems administrator? 

If you’re ready to become a systems administrator, ONLC Training Centers is your career education and advancement partner.  With hundreds of training centers nationwide, online options, and expert instructors, ONLC can help you build your career from pre-hire through retirement.   

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