What Does a Systems Administrator Do?

When a company’s Information Technology (IT) system is down, it costs them productivity, revenue, and downtime expenses. These expenses can be costly for any company, big or small. Situations like this are where the systems administrator comes in. They monitor the system to ensure everyone in the company and its systems can function correctly.

What Does a Systems Administrator Do?

A systems administrator, a sysadmin, is responsible for the IT infrastructure’s stability, security, and performance. The specific duties of a Systems Administrator can vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization but generally include the following: systems installation and configuration, maintenance and monitoring, security management, user support, troubleshooting and problem resolution, capacity planning, documentation, and automation.

Operating Systems

A System Administrator works with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems and manages the connected computer operating systems. The systems administrator also manages firewalls, chooses operating systems, and secures systems.

Application Software and Computer Hardware

A system administrator upgrades, installs, and configures application software and computer hardware. They review the organization’s needs and choose the right technology to support that organization. They determine what technology to use and how to integrate it into the system by incorporating software with policies and procedures for installation and updates. The systems administrator also tests functionality and connectivity to ensure system operability.

Technical Support

System administrators troubleshoot and provide technical support to employees. They create and manage system permissions and user accounts. The systems administrator may run support on the IT help desk. They provide technical support for systems they work on while answering support tickets and responding to phone calls from employees who need help. The systems administrator identifies potential challenges, manages heavy traffic, and responds to interruptions in network operations. They are in charge of user permissions and administration of applications and services. They may also manage passwords, single-sign-on (SSO), and two-factor authentication policies and practices.

Network Management

System administrators maintain networks and network file systems. They perform server installation, configuration, and administration, including LAN switching and wireless networks. They monitor system performance and troubleshoot issues. Every second a server is down, it means lost productivity, revenue, and costs. The systems administrator keeps enough disk usage, reduces latency, and improves uptime.

Database Management

The systems administrator ensures data is organized and consistent using policies and procedures for sharing and organizing files with the organization. They also help keep data secure, offering user permissions to access data depending on their level.

Network Security

System administrators play a crucial role in ensuring the security of computer systems and networks. Here are some standard practices they employ to enhance system security:

  • Regular Software Updates and Patch Management
  • Enforce strong password policies
  • Antivirus and Anti-malware Solutions
  • Data Encryption
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Security Audits and Monitoring
  • Security Policies and Training
  • Incident Response Planning
  • Network Segmentation
  • Vulnerability Scanning
  • Secure Configuration
  • Physical Security

Computer Programming

C++ and Visual Basic are two programming languages a systems administrator will use to work with application software and computer hardware.

What Certifications Help Systems Administrators?

Many specialized CompTIA certifications are available for those who want to expand their IT knowledge. The CompTIA certifications that the Systems Administrators focus on include the following:

CompTIA A+

A+ is a foundational certification provided by CompTIA. It covers the fundamental elements of information technology, including desktop and mobile devices. It also covers essential aspects of networking and network security.

CompTIA A+ certification is earned by passing two exams: 220-1001 and 220-1002.

CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Exam includes: (mobile devices, networking, hardware, virtualization, cloud computing, and hardware and network troubleshooting)

CompTIA 220-1002 A+ Exam includes: (operating systems, security, software, troubleshooting, and operational procedures)

CompTIA Network+

The CompTIA Network+ certification builds upon the networking covered on the A+ exam. The Network+ certification prepares you for more advanced network infrastructure. The exam includes: (networking concepts, network infrastructure, network operations, network security, and network troubleshooting and tools).

It provides a more extensive look into networking hardware, virtualization, and network security.

What are the Different System Administrator Roles?

Depending on your interest, there are different system administrator roles. These roles include:

Network Administrator

The network administrator installs, configures, and manages computer infrastructure, routers, switches, and cables. They will take the time to identify the network and system needs of the organization and install the hardware and software. They will upgrade the network to keep it running at top efficiency. The network administrator maintains network and computer system security. They may add users to the network and assign security permissions. They will also train and educate users on properly using network and computer systems.

Database Administrator

The database administrator creates and organizes computer systems to store and secure an organization’s data. They will make and administer databases to meet employees’ needs. They may design and build new databases. Security is a top priority for database administrators. Data backups help to restore it if lost. The database administrator may also update user permissions to access the data.

Cloud Administrator

A cloud administrator develops, maintains, and troubleshoots the network connections of cloud resources. The role may implement patches, firewalls, and other updates to secure the cloud system.

Storage Administrator: 

Manages storage systems and devices, handles storage allocation, backup, and recovery, and optimizes storage performance and capacity planning.

Virtualization Administrator:

Manages virtualized environments using technologies like VMware or Hyper-V, configures and maintains virtual machines, and optimizes virtualization performance and resource utilization.

Desktop Support Administrator:

Provides support for end-user computing devices (desktops, laptops, etc.), installs and troubleshoots hardware and software issues, and manages software updates and patches.

IT Operations Manager: 

Oversees the overall IT operations of an organization, manages a team of system administrators, ensures smooth functioning of IT services, and develops and implements IT policies and procedures.

Backup and Recovery Administrator:

Manages data backup and recovery processes, implements backup strategies to ensure data availability, and tests and verifies backup and recovery procedures.

Monitoring and Performance Administrator:

Monitors system performance, identifies bottlenecks, implements system monitoring and alerting tools, and optimizes system performance based on monitoring data.

These roles can overlap, especially in smaller organizations where system administrators may handle multiple responsibilities. In larger organizations, these roles may be more specialized, with dedicated teams or individuals focusing on specific areas of expertise.

What are Some Common Systems Administrator FAQs?

Do System Administrators Code?

Most system administrators have a basic knowledge of coding and programming languages like C++ and Visual Basic. However, most system administrator roles do not require coding skills. System administrators manage computer environments so that they may support developers and software engineers with some code.

Who Does a System Administrator Work With?

A system administrator works with the IT department and reports to the Head of IT. They also work closely with colleagues to educate them on systems and security protocols.

Eager to Learn More?

This Networking System Administrator program offers students technical training and an essential foundation for designing, installing, configuring, and supporting a computer network. Our graduates are ready to get entry-level System Administrator, Network Administrator, LAN Administrator, and Help Desk Support positions. The program also includes a fifteen-credit-hour component of General Education/Liberal Arts courses and offers the foundation to continue a Bachelor’s Degree. The university awards an Associate of Science Degree upon graduation.

If you are interested in systems administration, let Florida National University answer any questions. Contact us today to learn more about our Network System Administrator Degree programs.