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What is a Systems Administrator?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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Systems administrators keep a computer system running at maximum performance and efficiency. A person wanting to work in this position will probably need a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. He will also need at least two years of experience with computer systems before being promoted to a systems administrator position. He will usually have worked as a systems technician, learning the basics of how systems work in practice as well as theory.

A systems administrator needs a fairly extensive knowledge of various computer operations to be effective. He must understand how the mainframe server operates and know how to maintain the computer system, install software and patches, resolve problems, maintain data files, monitor the system, and execute systems backup and recovery. In short, the administrator should know how to do nearly everything the system requires for maintenance.

The job description for a systems administrator says that little creativity is required, but this is not necessarily the case. Often, the job requires a great deal of creative thinking in order to solve a problem quickly. If a systems problem crops up, there may be more than one "fix," and it is the job of the systems administrator to determine which solution will be the most effective. He may also be in charge of upgrading the system and deciding which software is the most effective for the job it does. This will be very different from system to system, depending on the needs and functions of each. An accounting department has completely different needs than sales, for instance, and it is up to the systems administrator to tailor the computers to suit the needs they must fill.

A systems administrator will also need to be something of a diplomat, particularly in a smaller company. In smaller businesses, he will usually be working one-on-one with those using the computers and may find himself in the position of tutor or trainer, as well as repairman. In this case, he may be dealing with employees who have little computer experience and understanding, and will have to teach them how to use their equipment without offending them. Chances are, he will be the one employees yell for when their machines are buggy, so patience is another important virtue for a systems administrator.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at EasyTechJunkie. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By anon114816 — On Sep 29, 2010

my computer had a pop-up(?)::Error Singles Sign-On

SSO Assertion with ID of


contact my system administrator for assistance regarding this error.

By anon111700 — On Sep 17, 2010

Find out yourselves. I don't think the blogger is a career counselor.

By anon76408 — On Apr 10, 2010

overall, it's a good article explaining how important the system administrator is for every company!

By anon53642 — On Nov 23, 2009

I understand this article. However I don't understand your post "carrier opportunities" Anyway where do I start? Right now I am a PC technician with no degree or certificates. Do I just enroll at a local college for computer science?

By anon36283 — On Jul 11, 2009

i am srikanth. It is nice explanation but there some carrier opportunities. you should mention means how we can achieve to that position. So that everyone can understand

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at EasyTechJunkie....
Learn more
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