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Career profile Systems Adminstrator

Also known as Information Analyst, Information Systems Manager (IS Manager), Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist), LAN Specialist (Local Area Network Specialist), Local Area Network Administrator (LAN Administrator), Network Administrator, Network Coordinator, Network Manager, Systems Administrator

Systems Adminstrator

Also known as Information Analyst, Information Systems Manager (IS Manager), Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist)

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$52,830 - $134,970 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Judgment and Decision Making
Knowledge Areas
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Engineering and Technology
Core tasks
  • Maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware, systems software, applications software, and all configurations.
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations.
  • Diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve hardware, software, or other network and system problems, and replace defective components when necessary.
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What does a Systems Adminstrator do?

Systems Adminstrators install, configure, and maintain an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), data communications network, operating systems, and physical and virtual servers.

In addition, Systems Adminstrators

  • perform system monitoring and verify the integrity and availability of hardware, network, and server resources and systems,
  • review system and application logs and verify completion of scheduled jobs, including system backups,
  • analyze network and server resource consumption and control user access,
  • install and upgrade software and maintain software licenses,
  • may assist in network modeling, analysis, planning, and coordination between network and data communications hardware and software.

What kind of tasks does a Systems Adminstrator perform regularly?

Systems Adminstrators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware, systems software, applications software, and all configurations.
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations.
  • Diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve hardware, software, or other network and system problems, and replace defective components when necessary.
  • Configure, monitor, and maintain email applications or virus protection software.
  • Operate master consoles to monitor the performance of computer systems and networks, and to coordinate computer network access and use.
  • Monitor network performance to determine whether adjustments need to be made, and to determine where changes will need to be made in the future.
  • Plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures to protect data, software, and hardware.
  • Analyze equipment performance records to determine the need for repair or replacement.
  • Design, configure, and test computer hardware, networking software and operating system software.
  • Confer with network users about how to solve existing system problems.
  • Recommend changes to improve systems and network configurations, and determine hardware or software requirements related to such changes.
  • Perform routine network startup and shutdown procedures, and maintain control records.
  • Load computer tapes and disks, and install software and printer paper or forms.
  • Train people in computer system use.
  • Maintain logs related to network functions, as well as maintenance and repair records.
  • Gather data pertaining to customer needs, and use the information to identify, predict, interpret, and evaluate system and network requirements.
  • Coordinate with vendors and with company personnel to facilitate purchases.

The above responsibilities are specific to Systems Adminstrators. More generally, Systems Adminstrators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Systems Adminstrator salary?

The median salary for a Systems Adminstrator is $84,810, and the average salary is $89,460. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Systems Adminstrator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Systems Adminstrators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Systems Adminstrators earn less than $52,830 per year, 25% earn less than $66,340, 75% earn less than $107,610, and 90% earn less than $134,970.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Systems Adminstrators is expected to change by 5.4%, and there should be roughly 24,900 open positions for Systems Adminstrators every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$52,830 - $134,970
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Systems Adminstrators?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Systems Adminstrator are usually higher in their Investigative, Realistic, and Conventional interests.

Systems Adminstrators typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Systems Adminstrators typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Systems Adminstrators typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Systems Adminstrators typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Systems Adminstrator tend to value Working Conditions, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Systems Adminstrators strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Second, Systems Adminstrators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Systems Adminstrators moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Systems Adminstrators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, analytical thinking, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Systems Adminstrators, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Systems Adminstrators need?

Many Systems Adminstrators will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Systems Adminstrators usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Systems Adminstrators

  • 0.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 6.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 22.0% completed some college coursework
  • 16.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 41.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 12.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Systems Adminstrators

Systems Adminstrators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as computers and electronics, customer and personal service, or engineering and technology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Systems Adminstrators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

Important Abilities needed by Systems Adminstrators

Systems Adminstrators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Systems Adminstrators need abilities such as problem sensitivity, written comprehension, and information ordering in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Systems Adminstrators, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Systems Adminstrators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Systems Adminstrators frequently use skills like reading comprehension, critical thinking, and judgment and decision making to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Systems Adminstrators, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Systems Analysis
Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.