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How to Become an IT Systems Administrator

3 Steps To Follow To Advance Your Career To IT Systems Administrator

Most businesses rely heavily on their computer systems to function optimally. IT systems administrators, or IT sysadmins, are responsible for maintaining a company’s computer systems. They need to ensure that they are working reliably so business isn’t disrupted. IT sysadmins are the behind-the-scenes superheroes, making sure the business keeps on running.

Do you think being a systems administrator is the job for you? Or would you like to learn more before making a final decision?

In this in-depth guide, you’ll learn how to become a systems administrator.

To become an IT systems administrator, you need to be knowledgeable about all things computer and IT. In fact, a sysadmin position requires you to be a jack of IT trades.

Build Your Technical Skills

To be an effective IT sysadmin, you need to continuously build your technical skills to stay up-to-date, especially considering that the digital world is ever-changing. You can grow your skillset through real-life IT experience and by getting certified.

Get Certified

There are many certifications out there that are not only relevant but also vital to tackle your IT systems admin duties with success and to advance your career. These certifications range from the cybersecurity and network space to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and cloud computing.

Build Real-World Experience

Building real-world experience can start with an IT systems administrator job. But, it can also start earlier with any other system admin duties you may have performed.

Once you are certified, identify which roles you are most suited for based on your experience and education. Then apply for systems administrator jobs in your area.

Building A Career As An IT Systems Administrator - Frequently Asked Qeustions

More businesses are turning to digital solutions to help run their companies and store their information. As such, the need for IT systems administrators keeps growing.

As a full-time position, a sysadmin is the first point of contact if any IT systems problems arise. They are responsible for maintaining, fixing, and ensuring the reliable, daily operation of a company’s network systems. This includes all of the hardware and software.

Some specific duties of a systems administrator include:

  • Hands-on support and organization of the company’s computer systems, including wide area networks (WANs), network segments, and data communication systems
  • Configuration, troubleshooting, updating, and optimization of the performance of the IT system
  • Recommendation and installation of software and hardware to enhance systems and meet company needs
  • Setting up and maintenance of user accounts and their access
  • Responding to IT systems issues, diagnosing the problem, and correcting these
  • Security of IT systems
  • Educating employees on the proper use of company hardware and software

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of a Network and Computer Systems Administrator $84,810 per year.

However, the number of years of experience you may have, the city you are working in, additional skills, and other factors may affect what you earn.

Indeed states that the top three cities paying the highest salaries per year for systems administrators are:
● Washington, D.C. at nearly $103,000,
● San Diego, CA, at almost $86,000, and
● New York at $83,188.

The BLS estimates that employment in the IT and computer industry, from 2019 to 2029, will increase by 11%. This means that more than half a million jobs are expected to be added to this industry.

A systems administrator is a good career because it is an in-demand profession. It has an employment growth of 4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment is very unlikely in this field as the industry is fast-growing.

With an average salary of $7,000 per month, you will earn more than the average U.S. monthly salary of $5,555.

This job offers an average work-life balance and amount of stress. This makes sense given that you might be on-call to help fix the computer systems should they crash. However, it is a good career to be in as there are plenty of opportunities and room for growth in the IT industry.

An IT systems administrator needs quite a number of skills. Here are the top 3 hard skills a sysadmin needs:

1. Computer Fundamentals Knowledge
This concerns computer hardware and software. For example, as an IT systems administrator, you should be able to install and troubleshoot memory and input/output devices. You should also know how to install, upgrade, and optimize computer operating systems.

2. Network Knowledge, Security, and Optimization
IT systems admins need a sound understanding of network setup and installation processes. Further to this, this role requires the administrator to optimize the network so it works efficiently.

Security is a must for any business, and this extends to their network. Private data must be safeguarded. With the right security protocols in place, the systems administrator ensures the company’s network is safe.

3. Troubleshooting
This is an essential component of a sysadmin job: the ability to diagnose what is wrong and troubleshoot so everything is up and running ASAP.

An IT admin needs soft skills like being inquisitive, realistic, rational, logical, analytic, and methodical. Independence and persistence are two other key skills required to successfully perform sysadmin roles and duties.

The exact qualifications you need to become an IT systems administrator depend on the employer. Some require only an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate.

Most employers, however, require these IT admin professionals to have a bachelor’s degree like a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science, Information Technology, Network Systems Administration, or Management Information Systems.

Many employers also want their IT administrators to be certified in specific products. Some of the most popular IT certifications are CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, and CISSP.

You may be able to get an entry or junior IT admin job with no experience provided you have the required and relevant qualifications and skills. While each company may have specific requirements in terms of your certification and skills, they are generally looking for someone who has:

● A technical certificate (for example, Microsoft MCSE) or a BA degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or IT
● Expertise in database operations and SQL
● CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications
● Analytical, problem-solving, and great communication skills

A comprehensive and interesting résumé is best for any IT job.

First, include a three-line summary detailing how many years of IT experience you have (if relevant), including major job achievements. If you have no experience and are applying for an entry-level job, your summary should focus on how you can meet the job objectives outlined in the job post.

Second, list your job experience in chronological format, with the most recent vocational achievements first. This section should be compatible with the requirements and goals laid out in the job ad. If you have no IT job experience, note relevant side projects, Help Desk jobs, system administrative tasks, freelance projects, and volunteer work.

Third, mention system administrator skills. Include both soft and hard skills here.

Fourth, list your degree and/or IT certifications. Only include your exam scores if they are high and your résumé is on the thin side.

Lastly, include any IT-related conferences you attended or presented at, publications, awards, and additional activities.

There are a few job titles that are similar to that of an IT systems administrator. They are:

● Server administrator
● IT administrator
● IT systems manager
● Systems development manager
● Network administrator
● Network and computer systems administrator

Once you are an IT systems administrator, there are numerous ways in which you can advance your career.

One option is to climb the ranks at your company or apply for a senior system administrator position. Learning a new specialty and getting certified helps you become an even better sysadmin. You can consider investing in a certificate (or two) in database, network, or security administration, cloud technology, project management, or programming.

You can also become a Microsoft Certified Azure administrator, signing up for CompTIA certifications, or a Cisco CCNA or CCENT certification.


Another option is to get a Master’s degree and apply for a management position at your company.

The other career advancement possibilities include becoming a system architect, transitioning into cybersecurity, or becoming an IT consultant.

Get in Touch for More Information on Getting Certified

An IT Systems Administrator is a highly rewarding job for the right tech-minded candidate. If you are interested in pursuing this career path, then get hold of us at CIAT. We offer all of the certifications and courses you need to get qualified and kickstart your career.

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