Systems administration is an IT practice that ensures that all parts of a system work together seamlessly. Primarily, this field supports businesses and their employees to become efficient and productive. This makes experts in this area valuable to any organization and industry.
If you want to break into the systems administration practice, this guide is for you. You’ll find more information below about entry-level systems administrator jobs, where you can find them, and what skills you need to qualify for them. Read on to assess which systems administrator jobs will suit you best.
What Is Systems Administration and Why Is It Important?
Systems administration involves managing software, hardware, computer systems, and network servers. Its purpose is to ensure that all components of an organization’s IT system work smoothly and efficiently. As a result, companies can focus better on business operations.
What Is the Job Outlook for Systems Administrators?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), systems administrator jobs are expected to grow by five percent between 2020 and 2030. This job outlook may be lower than the average growth compared with other occupations. Despite that, around 24,900 systems administrator jobs are expected to open each year over the next decade.
Top Reasons to Pursue a Career in Systems Administration
- This profession helps you sharpen your system design and engineering skills, which are highly sought-after today and will be for years to come.
- As a systems administrator, you can work on challenging projects that give you high levels of job satisfaction.
- It’s a career that cuts across different industries, as all companies now embrace technological innovations.
- It lets you build a career and advance in in-demand fields, such as computer science, information technology, or cloud and cyber security.
- Even entry-level roles in systems administration are well-compensated, giving you an idea that more senior positions receive lucrative salaries.
What Does an Entry-Level Systems Administrator Do?
An entry-level systems administrator acts as a support to senior systems administrators. Thus, this profession assists in designing, managing, and maintaining systems end-to-end. On a more granular level, entry-level systems administrators are usually tapped for installations, configurations, and troubleshooting issues from end-users.
Types of Entry-Level Systems Administration Roles
An entry-level database administrator’s main task is to manage database systems. Be it in the configuration, testing, or maintenance phase, they must ensure that databases are fully ready to store and protect data. Another critical function of database administrators is creating backups and disaster recovery plans.
Systems administrators or sysadmins have junior roles that assist in system assessments and monitoring. These junior sysadmins suggest optimizations, ensure security, and detect faults. It’s also possible that you’ll be requested to fix codes and troubleshoot as needed.
As an entry-level network administrator, you’re expected to have a good understanding of network designs and functions. Typically, for starters, you’ll be working to ensure connectivity within the company’s local area network and wide area network. Your seniors may also ask you to solve network issues.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Systems Administration Jobs
- Helping oversee the company’s databases, systems, and networks
- Setting up servers that the company needs
- Installing and updating software for users
- Troubleshooting technical issues
- Assisting hardware and software users with their technical inquiries
How Much Do Entry-Level Systems Administrator Jobs Pay?
In the United States, an entry-level systems administrator earns an average salary of $51,639 per year. This is a good starting wage for an entry-level position. Having a systems administrator as your career path will also give you a great earning potential of $84,810 annually on average, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Entry-Level Systems Administrator Jobs That Pay the Most: Overview
|Job||Average Salary||Min. Education/ Training||Associated Mid and Senior Roles|
|Control Systems Engineer||$73,714||Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Applied Science, or a related field||Lead Systems Engineer|
|Associate Systems Administrator||$67,264||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Systems Administrator, Senior Security Administrator|
|Systems Engineer||$67,199||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or Information Systems||Lead Systems Engineer|
|Server Administrator||$63,663||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or a related field||Senior Server Administrator|
|Database Administrator||$56,391||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology||Senior Database Engineer|
|Junior Systems Administrator||$54,052||Technical certificate in Information Systems or Information Technology||Senior Systems Administrator, Senior Security Administrator|
|Network Administrator||$52,167||Associate Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Senior Systems Administrator, Senior Security Administrator|
|IT Administrator||$45,218||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Senior Systems Administrator, Senior Security Administrator|
|Security Administrator||$44,843||Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or a related field||Senior Security Administrator, Senior Systems Administrator|
|Computer Support Specialist||$39,107||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Computer Systems Specialist|
Best Entry-Level Systems Administration Jobs: A Closer Look
Control Systems Engineer
Control systems engineers aim to ensure that company systems run smoothly and safely. To achieve this goal, you may be tasked to do maintenance checks and manage systems for optimal performance.
Control Systems Engineer Responsibilities
- Designs a system that responds well to standardization inputs
- Implements control to dynamic systems
- Troubleshoots and fixes code to avoid system malfunctions
Associate Systems Administrator
This entry-level role mainly assists senior systems administrators. Associate systems administrators provide technical support in resolving hardware, software, and servers issues. They also jump in to fix network connections, so they must be knowledgeable in handling local area networks and wide area networks.
Associate Systems Administrator Responsibilities
- Manages computer and equipment assets
- Detects problems in an organization’s computer systems
- Repairs hardware, updates software, and maintains servers
Systems engineers manage the end-to-end lifecycle of systems. They design, deploy, and maintain all aspects that support systems to perform their best. An entry-level role for this profession involves on-the-job training in project management. Thus, it requires leadership potential and working with cross-functional teams.
Systems Engineer Responsibilities
- Installs, configures, and tests systems
- Monitors and recalibrates software, connections, and computers
- Track system implementation’s progress and manage executions
Server administrators primarily set up, configure, and maintain servers. They ensure that IT infrastructure runs efficiently. They also help develop and implement standard operating procedures for server management and maintenance.
Server Administrator Responsibilities
- Executes standard operating procedures for server management
- Detects and fixes hardware and network issues
- Ensures that security firewalls are updated regularly
This role is responsible for the integrity, security, and performance of database management systems. Database administrators are involved, from designing a database system to troubleshooting technical concerns. They also ensure that a company’s database is secure enough to prevent data leakage and other cyber security attacks.
Database Administrator Responsibilities
- Tests, installs, and maintains database management systems
- Manages user access levels and security permissions to databases
- Ensures data security, backup, and disaster recovery
Junior Systems Administrator
This entry-level job is basically a direct training ground for being an experienced systems administrator. Junior systems administrators provide more experienced systems administrators with the support they need to run systems efficiently. They also help monitor and manage software, hardware, networks, and servers.
Junior Systems Administrator Responsibilities
- Configures computers and systems equipment
- Installs systems software and network connections
- Provides technical support and application demos to users
Network administrators configure, monitor, and maintain network systems. They’re also expected to propose network upgrades as needed. While managing network hardware and implementing network connectivity, they must also ensure strict security compliance.
Network Administrator Responsibilities
- Ensures that the organization’s networks are reliable and flexible by design
- Monitors network performance
- Recommends upgrades and integrations for network scalability and security
IT administrators handle technical concerns, suggest solutions to users, and recommend improvements to the company’s IT systems. They configure and install different types of IT software and applications. They also check network and application usage to ensure they’re running as expected.
IT Administrator Responsibilities
- Sets up user accounts, including the required installations
- Manages a company’s IT systems and networks
- Diagnoses and troubleshoots technical issues
This entry-level role’s primary goal is to ensure that all system-related aspects that companies use are safe and secure. Security administrators play a critical role in protecting user devices, systems, and networks from cyber attacks. They are expected to be strict in implementing security controls and features at all levels of an organization.
Security Administrator Responsibilities
- Creates secure accounts for new users
- Maintains data, network, systems, and servers security
- Responds proactively to possible cyber security threats and breaches
Computer Support Specialist
A computer support specialist’s main task is to manage computers and network connections. This role primarily supports what users need to make their computers work and get connected to their teams to be productive. Computer support specialists are also known to come up with quick solutions to resolve computer-related problems.
Computer Support Specialist Responsibilities
- Ensures availability of computer system-related equipment
- Performs routine maintenance for computers and networks to function well
- Troubleshoots computer hardware, software, and network issues
What Types of Companies Hire Entry-Level Systems Administrators?
Several entry-level systems administrators typically work in IT-related domains. However, they’re also present in other sectors, such as finance, retail, and manufacturing. Companies usually require systems administrators to process large datasets efficiently and secure connections within their systems. Amazon, IBM, and T-Mobile are popular companies that hire systems administrators.
Career Progression: Mid and Senior-Level Systems Administration Roles
Mid-Level Systems Administration Jobs
Mid-Level Systems Engineer
- Average salary: $106,257
- Related entry-level roles: Control Systems Engineer, Systems Engineer
- Responsibilities: Manages a system’s life cycle, collaborates with other teams for system development and deployment projects, implements system maintenance and upgrades
Mid-Level Database Administrator
- Average salary: $83,700
- Related entry-level roles: Database Administrator
- Responsibilities: Manages database systems, implements data security protocols, executes backup and recovery
Mid-Level Systems Administrator
- Average salary: $77,015
- Related entry-level roles: Associate Systems Administrator, IT Administrator, Junior Systems Administrator
- Responsibilities: Manages software, hardware, networks, and servers, ensures that all systems run efficiently, recommends optimization initiatives
Mid-Level Server Administrator
- Average salary: $73,010
- Related entry-level roles: Server Administrator
- Responsibilities: Sets up and maintains servers, troubleshoots server issues, updates security firewalls, executes standard operating procedures for server management
Mid-Level Network Administrator
- Average salary: $70,591
- Related entry-level roles: Network Administrator
- Responsibilities: Oversees organizations’ network system, deploys network upgrades and integrations, ensures network’s optimal performance
Senior Systems Administration Jobs
Lead Systems Engineer
- Average salary: $122,481
- Related entry-level roles: Control Systems Engineer, Systems Engineer
- Responsibilities: Designs and leads system development and deployment projects
Senior Database Engineer
- Average salary: $117,473
- Related entry-level roles: Database Administrator
- Responsibilities: Designs database management systems, develops data security protocols, creates strategies for data backup and disaster recovery
Senior Systems Administrator
- Average salary: $106,730
- Related entry-level roles: Associate Systems Administrator, IT Administrator, Junior Systems Administrato
- Responsibilities: Oversees to ensure that overall system efficiency, leads system optimization
Senior Security Administrator
- Average salary: $102,157
- Related entry-level roles: Network Administrator, Security Administrator
- Responsibilities: Designs system security, develops security controls and features, strategizes responses to security incidents
Senior Server Administrator
- Average salary: $97,289
- Related entry-level roles: Server Administrator
- Responsibilities: Designs server management systems and security, develops standard operating procedures for server management
How to Get a Job in Systems Administration
Typically, an entry-level position in systems administration requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. However, you only need to have a technical certificate or an associate degree for select roles. Regardless, you must have technical knowledge, possess soft skills, and get professional certification to advance your career.
Required Skills for an Entry-Level Systems Administrator Job
- Technical Skills: You’ll need to have fundamental technical skills, as you’ll handle various technologies that behave differently but function together in a system.
- Organization Skills: You must be highly organized to spot the aspects of a system that are not performing optimally.
- Communication Skills: Although this job is technical, you must be skilled in communicating your plans, suggestions, and fixes to your seniors and end-users.
- Leadership Skills: You must take ownership of what you do as a systems administrator. You need to influence other teams to support you in ensuring your systems perform well.
- Decision-Making Skills: At times, you’ll be tested to make a call during security breaches or disaster recovery. You must be decisive and exercise good judgment.
Top Certifications for Entry-Level Systems Administrator
- Certified System Administrator (CSA): This certification proves entry-level sysadmin’s skills in efficiently administering SCO UNIX products.
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): CCNA is the first level of Cisco Career certification, marking a sysadmin’s knowledge of basic networking concepts.
- Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT): This certification vouches for the basic skills of entry-level network administrators in managing networks.
- Certified Network Computer Technician (CNCT): CNCT certifies people who demonstrate knowledge of basic computer electronics, the Internet, and networking technologies.
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate (MDAA): This certification verifies competence to troubleshoot Microsoft Windows operating system.
Can You Get an Entry-Level Systems Administration Job with a Coding Bootcamp?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you get an entry-level job in systems administration. Even if you already have a related bachelor’s degree, a coding bootcamp can help you brush up on your technical knowledge and skills. It also enables you to develop more soft skills along the way.
Top Systems Administration Bootcamps
Best Resources for Systems Administrators
Several professional communities exist on various platforms, including social media and collaboration apps. Use these communities to interact with fellow sysadmins as you learn the profession. You can also get tips from when these professionals to overcome any issues you may come across.
Learn from visiting informative sites for systems administrators like StackOverflow. You can browse through over a hundred questions and answers. These cover a wide range of topics about systems administration and closely related fields.
Research who the top professionals in systems administration are. Then, find time to attend their webinars. It’ll be worth it as you get a lots of notes from the firsthand experiences of these experts. There are also lots of free webinars available to the public.
Is a Career in Systems Administration for You?
Yes, if organizing and fixing systems and their parts are your innate talent, being a systems administrator will suit you well. On top of being well-paid, you get to help a lot of companies and users adapt to changing technologies, which can be pretty overwhelming. So now’s the best time to use your technical talent and problem-solving skills to help more people.
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Entry-Level Systems Administration Jobs FAQ
Some of a junior sysadmin’s responsibilities include configuring computers and systems equipment, installing systems software and network connections, and providing technical support and application demos to users. This technical role requires a thorough knowledge base of systems design, mobile networks, and operational computer systems.
Yes, apart from enjoying a high income, you’ll also have higher chances of advancing your career. Being a systems administrator challenges you to become a critical thinker and gives you growth opportunities.
Junior systems administrators earn $54,052 annually, on average. However, mid and senior administrators make more based on education and experience levels.
Yes, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, network and computer systems administrator jobs are expected to increase by five percent from 2020 to 2030.
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