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.

YNM System AdministratorThis 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


CompTIA Security+ covers the key skills a systems administrator needs to secure their systems, which are very similar to the skills needed of a security administrator. Typically, a systems administrator must harden their systems to be more secure and must understand the security implications of proper hardware, software and data asset management. They must also implement security controls to help ensure their systems remain secure, with the ability to report and communicate system status and security incidents.

CompTIA Linux+ validates the skills of IT pros with hands-on experience configuring, monitoring and supporting servers running on the Linux operating system. CompTIA Linux+ can also be a great tool towards becoming a systems administrator.

The exam focuses on the following skills:

  • Security
  • Kernel modules
  • Storage and virtualization
  • Device management at the enterprise level
  • Git and automation
  • Networking and firewalls
  • Server side and command line
  • Sever coverage
  • Troubleshooting
  • SELinux

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.

  • 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

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a systems administrator is $90,520 as of May 2022, which is 95% higher than the median national wage for all occupations.

Systems Administrator Job Outlook

According to Lightcast, there were more than 131,400 job postings by U.S. employers for systems administrators during the 12 month period ending on March 2023.

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. CompTIA certifications hold great value in the IT industry and are highly sought-after by recruiters. They signify a proven competence and expertise in various tech disciplines, making individuals who earn these certifications stand out in the job market.

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, download the exam objectives for CompTIA Linux+ to learn more.

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