System administrator

system administrator , or sysadmin , is a person who is responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems ; especially multi-user computers, such as servers . The system administrator seeks to ensure that the uptime , performance , resources , and security of the computer or the budget of the users , while exceeding the budgetwhen doing so.

To meet these needs, a system administrator may acquire, install, or upgrade computer components and software; provide routine automation; maintain security policies; troubleshoot ; gold train supervises staff; or offer technical support for projects.

Related fields

Many organizations staff other jobs related to system administration. In a larger company, these positions may be divided into two or more separate positions within a computer support or Information Services (IS) department. In a smaller group they can be shared by a few sysadmins, or even a single person.

  • A database administrator (DBA) maintains a database system, and is responsible for the integrity of the data and the efficiency and performance of the system.
  • A network administrator maintains network infrastructure such as switches and routers , and diagnoses problems with these or the behavior of network-attached computers.
  • A security administrator is a specialist in computer and network security, including the administration of security devices such as firewalls, and general security measures.
  • A web server maintains web server services (such as Apache or IIS ) that allow for internal or external access to web sites. Tasks include managing multiple sites, administering security, and configuring necessary components and software. Responsibilities may also include software change management.
  • A computer operator performs routine maintenance and upkeep, such as changing backup tapes or replacing failed drives in a redundant array of independent disks (RAID). Such tasks usually require a presence in the room, and while the tasks are less likely than others, they may require a similar level of trust, since the operator has access to possibly sensitive data.


Training at a system administration conference

There are multiple paths to be part of becoming a system administrator. Many system administrators have a degree in a related field: computer science , information technology , electronics engineering , computer engineering , information systems, or even a trade school program citation needed ] . IT certification is now required. Other schools have their computer science program specifically for system administration.

An alternative path to becoming a system administrator is to simply dive in without formal training, learning the systems they need to support, as they do other non-IT work. This is a common road for informally trained administration, and is often the result of small organizations that lack. For example, a shared desktop computer also serves as a server for the purpose of the needs of everyone . This then spreads to other people, and they find solutions to those problems, and they are slowly becoming more comfortable with the management of the organization.hackers , citation needed ] but they do their work in support of the needs of their organization and customers.

Some schools have started offering undergraduate degrees in System Administration. The first, Rochester Institute of Technology [1] started in 1992. Others such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute , University of New Hampshire , [2] Marist College , and Drexel University . Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR) in India, Pune, India offers master’s degree in Computer Applications. The University of South Carolina [5] offers an Integrated Information Technology BS degree specializing inMicrosoft product support.

Several US universities, including Rochester Institute of Technology, [3] Tufts , [4] Michigan Tech [5] and Florida State University [6] have graduate programs in system administration. In Norway , there is a special English-taught MSc program organized by Oslo University College [7] in cooperation with Oslo University , named “Masters Program in Network and System Administration.” There is also a “BSc in Network and System Administration” [8] offered by Gjøvik University College . University of Amsterdam(UvA) offers a similar program in cooperation with Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) named “Master System and Network Engineering”. Many schools in the world, such as networks and computer security.

One of the primary difficulties in teaching a discipline is that the industry and technology changes much faster than the typical textbook and coursework certification process. By the time a new textbook has been written, it has been written down and it has become obsolete.

In addition, because of the practical nature of system administration and the availability of open-source server software, many system administrators enter the self-taught field. Some learning institutions are reluctant to teach, what is in effect, hacking to undergraduate level students citation needed ] .

Generally, they are expected to be required to manage. In Some cases, candidates are expected to Possess industry certifications Such As the Microsoft MCSA , MCSE , MCITP , Red Hat RHCE , Novell CNA , CNE , Cisco CCNA or CompTIA ‘s A + or Network + , Sun Certified SCNA , Linux Professional Institute , Linux Foundation Certified Engineer or Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator [9] among others.

Sometimes, almost exclusively in smaller sites, the role of system administrator may be given to a skilled user.


Some of this section is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook , 2010-11 Edition, which is in the public domain as a work of the United States Government .

The subject of system administration includes computer systems and the use of people in an organization. This entails a knowledge of operating systems and applications , as well as hardware and software troubleshooting , but also knowledge of the application for which people in the organization uses computers.

Perhaps the most important skill for a system administrator is problem solving . The sysadmin is on call when a computer system goes down or malfunctions, and must be able to quickly and correctly diagnose what is wrong and how best to fix it. They may also need to have teamwork and communication skills; as well as being able to install and configure hardware and software.

Sysadmins must Understand the behavior of software in order to deploy it and to troubleshoot problems, and know Generally Several programming languages used for scripting or automation of tasks routine. A typical sysadmin’s role is to design or write new application software but when they are responsible for automating system and / or application configuration with various configuration management tools, the lines somewhat blur. Depends on the sysadmin’s role and skillset they can be expected to understand the equivalent key / core concepts of a software engineer understands. That said, system administrators are not software developers or developers , in the job title sense.

Particularly when dealing with Internet -facing or business-critical systems, a sysadmin must have a strong grasp of computer security . This includes not-yet-deploying software patches, but also preventing other break-ins and other security problems. In some organizations, computer security administration is a separate responsible role for overall security and the upkeep of firewalls and intrusion detection systems , but is responsible for the security of computer systems.


System administrator’s responsibilities might include:

  • Analyzing system logs and identifying potential issues with computer systems.
  • Applying operating system updates, patches, and configuration changes.
  • Installing and configuring new hardware and software .
  • Adding, removing, or updating user account information, resetting passwords , etc.
  • Answering technical queries and assisting users.
  • Responsibility for security .
  • Responsibility for documenting the configuration of the system.
  • Troubleshooting any reported problems.
  • System performance tuning .
  • Ensuring that the network infrastructure is up and running.
  • Configuring, adding, and deleting file systems.
  • Ensuring parity between dev, test and production environments.

In larger organizations, some of the tasks may be divided among different systems or different organizational groups. For example, a dedicated individual (s) may apply all system upgrades, a Quality Assurance (QA) team may perform testing and validation, and one or more technical writers may be responsible for all technical documentation written for a company. System administrators, in larger organizations, systems architects , systems engineers , or systems designers .

In smaller organizations, the system administrator may also act as technical support, Database Administrator , Network Administrator , Storage (SAN) Administrator or Application Analyst .

See also

  • Service management application
  • Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH)
  • DevOps
  • Forum administrator
  • Information technology operations
  • Large Installation System Administration Conference
  • League of Professional System Administrators
  • LISA (organization)
  • Professional certification (computer technology)
  • Superuser [10]
  • sysop
  • System Administrator Appreciation Day


This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government’s ” Occupational Outlook Handbook , 2010-11 Edition” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  1. Jump up^ [1] ArchivedApril 2, 2015 at theWayback Machine.
  2. Jump up^ BS Information Technology | Computer Science. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  3. Jump up^ [2]. (2013-01-04). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  4. Jump up^ COMP 114 Network and System Administration,
  5. Jump up^ [3]. Retrieved on 2014-10-21,
  6. Jump up^ FSU Computer Science – Masters Degree Computer Network and System Administration. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  7. Jump up^ (in Norwegian) HiOA – Studiesøk. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  8. Jump up^ (in Norwegian) Drift av cleanverk og datasystemer – Høgskolen i Gjøvik. (2013-04-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  9. Jump up^ [4]
  10. Jump up^ Cite error: The name referenceundefinedwas invoked but never defined (see thehelp page).

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