How to Become a Senior Systems Administrator?

Are you thinking of becoming a Senior Systems Administrator or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Senior Systems Administrator, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Senior Systems Administrator job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
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Steps to Become a Systems Administrator

If you're organized and interested in computer hardware and programming, consider a career as a systems administrator. You can help make sure a company's computer hardware and software systems run smoothly, and you can work in a variety of different industries. To become a systems administrator, follow these steps:
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1

Get an education in computer science, IT, or a related field.

To become a systems administrator, you must have some combination of relevant certifications, an associate's degree, or a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science, or a related field of study. Look for a college or technical school with a well-known, respected technology curriculum.

It's also a good idea to get certifications to improve and showcase your skills. The Oracle Linux System Administrator Certification program is one of the most well-respected, and it can teach you the fundamentals of system administration in a high-tech business world. The CompTIA Server+ Certification Program helps show hiring managers that you're familiar with every aspect of large server management. Get as much education as possible to qualify for the most lucrative positions managing large servers and complex system setups.

What skills do you need to be a Systems Administrator?

  • Linux System
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Operating Systems
  • System Configuration
  • Windows Operating Systems
  • Scripting Languages
  • Active Directory
  • PowerShell
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Systems Administrator in the United States.
2

Gain some experience in an entry-level IT position.

To get some experience, apply for an internship with a systems administrator or an entry-level position as a web developer, IT technician, or help desk specialist. After you get some on-the-job training, you can take on more responsibility by applying for positions as a systems administrator at the same company or at a different organization.

3

Get new certifications to keep up with technological advances.

The hardware and software that systems administrators work with are constantly evolving, and people who can't keep up with these changes don't often hold onto their jobs for very long. Continue learning about new programming languages, backup systems for servers, and other advances to make yourself more appealing to potential employers.

Get new certifications often to keep up with software updates and other advances, and learn to use multiple web browsers and operating systems. Knowing how different operating systems and browsers interact with servers and which software the people at a company use most can help you streamline and improve user experiences.

4

Expand your communication and problem-solving skills.

Expanding your skills can help you improve your career and get better reviews from clients. Systems administrators should have excellent written and verbal communication skills to work with clients and other team members. They should also be good at critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving. These professionals are responsible for keeping servers working and fixing issues as quickly as possible.

5

Join a professional organization for technology professionals.

Several professional organizations welcome systems administrators, including the League of Professional Systems Administrators, the Association of Information Technology Professionals, the Network Professional Association, the Professional Association for SQL Servers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. Memberships with these kinds of groups can help you network and build a path to the most lucrative systems administrator jobs. To meet more people in your field, consider joining more than one group.

Senior Systems Administrator Career Path

Senior Systems Administrator

2 - 4Years of Experience
$104K - $161K /yrMost Likely Range
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Systems Administrator IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$81K - $123K /yrMost Likely Range
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Principal Systems Administrator

8+Years of Experience
$114K - $183K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Senior Systems Administrator Career Path

Systems Administrator I
Systems Administrator II
Senior Systems Administrator
Systems Administrator Manager
Systems Administrator IV
Senior Manager of Systems Administration
Principal Systems Administrator
Senior Principal Systems Administrator
Director of Systems Administration
$40K
$98K
$156K
$214K
$330K

Related Careers in the Information Technology Industry

Interested in other Information Technology careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Senior Systems Administrator skills. Discover some of the most common Senior Systems Administrator career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Network Security Engineer
13% skills overlap
17% transitioned to Network Security Engineer