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What is a Computer Systems Administrator?

Also known as: Sysadmin, Systems Administrator.

Companies depend on their networks for so much of their work, therefore any problems must be corrected swiftly and completely. A computer systems administrator maintains an organization’s work flow and keeps its lines of communication open. They are responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems; especially multi-user computers, such as servers. Aside from identifying and fixing network issues, computer systems administrators must also make updates to all equipment and software so they’re current.

What does a Computer Systems Administrator do?

A system administrator is the first-point-of-contact for an organization’s network users when they experience technical problems. For example, system administrators ensure that the Internet connection in the office is working, and that the mail server is running and processing emails that are sent and received by all staff within the company or organization. The administrator oversees the performance of an organization’s Internet and Intranet networks by constantly maintaining their hardware and software, installing upgrades, and more.

System administrators gather information from network users in order to define and fix the problem, troubleshoot system hardware and software, and work with vendors to glean more information. A system administrator typically needs to document various troubleshooting attempts in order to pinpoint the solution to specific network problems.

System administrators ensure that the performance and security of the computers they manage meet the needs of the network users, without exceeding the company's budget. To meet these needs, they may purchase, install, or upgrade computer components and software; provide routine automation; maintain security policies; troubleshoot; train and/or supervise staff; and offer technical support for projects.

There are different types of computer system administrators based on their roles and responsibilities:

Server Administrator – maintains the operating system of the servers (and sometimes the applications as well), such as the mail services, the web services, etc., and is also in charge of troubleshooting any hardware, operating system or application-related problems.

Network Administrator – maintains the network infrastructure, such as the routers and switches, and troubleshoots network-related problems.

Database Administrator (DBA) – maintains the database system used by the company or organization. In bigger organizations, there is a DBA which is specifically responsible for this role. In smaller organizations, this role would normally be shared by the server administrator.

Security Systems Administrator - maintains the daily operation of security systems, and can handle things like systems monitoring and running regular backups; setting up, deleting and maintaining individual user accounts; and developing organizational security procedures.

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What is the workplace of a Computer Systems Administrator like?

A system administrator can get paged or called at 3am in the morning when a mail server goes down, or when the Internet connection suddenly stops working. Most system administrators are always on-call; they have system and network infrastructure which needs to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They must ensure that all servers are functioning, and that the network is running and healthy - all the time.

Good system administrators are often overworked, very much in demand, and crucial to the success of Internet app, web application and cloud-based companies.

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Further Reading

  • 4 Traits to Look for When Hiring a System Administrator www.businessbee.com

    A system administrator is an integral part of a strong enterprise IT team. Because of the hands on nature of this job, certain personalities tend to be a better fit for the position than others.

  • A Day in the Life of a Systems Administrator blog.martin.edu.au

    Are you considering pursuing a systems administrator career? Here is an outline of some of the daily tasks that may be required of a systems administrator in fulfilling their role.

  • What Is The Job Of A System Administrator? www.interworx.com

    The value of the Internet is difficult to quantify, but it is safe to say that much of the world’s economy depends on the knowledge and work of the system administrators that keep everything running smoothly.

  • Computer Systems Administrator: Job Description & Requirements study.com

    Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a computer systems administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and professional certifications to find out if this is the career for you.

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