Your Next Move: Systems Administrator

If you are interested in working with the day-to-day operations of computer networks, a career as a systems administrator could be your next move.
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This article is part of an IT Career News series called Your Next Move. These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications. Each article will include the responsibilities, qualifications, related job titles and salary range for the role. As you consider the next move in your IT career, check back with CompTIA to learn more about your job prospects and how to get there.

While there are many critical roles within an organization, systems administrators keep the IT systems running. Their critical role ensures that employees can access what they need when they need it. Systems administrators work with physical computer networks, allowing them to be highly employable by many different organizations. If you are interested in working with the day-to-day operations of computer networks, a career as a systems administrator, or SysAdmin, could be your next move.

What Is a Systems Administrator?

A systems administrator’s responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the company hardware and software are working as intended
  • Installing all the applications needed to support the organization
  • Updating systems when new software is released
  • Maintaining user accounts and access

Some functions of a systems administrator may overlap with the organization’s network administrator, depending on the size of the organization. While a network administrator’s primary focus is the organization’s servers and network, a systems administrator primarily focuses on other working parts of the IT system, including the computers themselves and software.

Systems administrators also organize, install and support an organization’s computer system, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments and other data communication systems.

How to Become a Systems Administrator

Most employers look for systems administrator with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer and information technology. Employers usually require three to five years of experience for systems administration positions.

However, because system administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering can be beneficial. Systems administrators have opportunity for career advancement as well, such as later becoming a computer network architect.

Adding certifications such as CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Network+ will show employers you have the current skills to be successful as a systems administrator. Check out the CompTIA Career Roadmap for a comprehensive list of certifications that can help you become a systems administrator.

CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Network+ focuses on the following skills:

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Network+

  • Attacks, threats and vulnerabilities
  • Architecture and design
  • Implementation
  • Operations and incident response
  • Governance, risk and compliance

 

  • Network fundamentals
  • Network security
  • Network implementations
  • Network troubleshooting
  • Network operations

 

 

In addition to certifications, CompTIA offers a full suite of training products to help you learn the technical and professional skills needed to become a systems administrator.

Sign up to receive a discount on CertMaster or an exam voucher
  • CertMaster Learn: Learn at your pace with interactive lessons and videos
  • CertMaster Labs: Get hands-on practice using real software applications
  • CertMaster Practice: Test your knowledge and find out if you’re ready for the exam
  • The Official CompTIA Study Guide: Learn and review exam objectives with our comprehensive textbook
  • CompTIA Live Online Training: Train in real time with experienced instructors online

The Details

Systems Administrator Salary Range

The median annual salary for a systems administrator is $84,810 as of May 2020 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).

Systems Administrator Job Outlook

From 2020 to 2030, the BLS projects an increase of 5% for system administrators, with 18,800 net new jobs expected during that 10-year period.

Job Titles Related to Systems Administration

+ Means More

At CompTIA, + means IT careers. That means you can consider us your partner on your journey to becoming certified, finding, interviewing for and winning that new job role.

  • We help you save money. Getting a CompTIA certification is an investment in your career but getting a discount can help. There are several ways you can save money on your CompTIA purchases.
  • We help you decide how to take your exam. Scheduling your exam is the easy part. CompTIA exams are offered at testing centers around the world as well as through online testing, which is available 24/7, so you can test in person or at home. Learn more about your testing options.
  • We help you land your next job. We’ve teamed up with ZipRecruiter so you can get access to job alerts, digital badging and more. Be sure to sync your credentials on ZipRecruiter as you continue to grow within the tech industry.

Need more job inspiration? Check out CompTIA’s Tech Job Report video series now premiering on CompTIA Connect. Learn more about the latest data and trends in tech hiring and the implications for employers and the U.S. workforce with new episodes each month.

Read about more IT jobs featured in Your Next Move.


Will your next move be systems administrator? If so, check out the CompTIA Career Roadmap, and discover how to get there.

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