How to Become a System Administrator

A system administrator is an important part of the IT department in any company. They are respected, well paid, and even have a national day named after them! Find out how to become a system administrator in this article.

What Is A System Administrator?

Let’s start by finding out what a system administrator actually is.

A system administrator works in the operations section of an IT department. This section is responsible for monitoring the company’s IT systems, providing a help desk or support function, and installing and upgrading various parts of the system.

The system administrator is responsible for building and supporting the computer system for a company. They upgrade it when it gets old, they fix it when it goes down, they make it run better if it’s having problems.

How To Become A System Administrator

Like many of the roles in the IT industry, there isn’t really a specific degree you can obtain to become a system administrator.

Many system administrators have degrees in computer science or computer engineering. Some system administrators don’t have a degree – they have gotten their positions from internships or promotions from other areas. It’s a role that you don’t necessarily need a degree for, but it certainly helps.

Other than getting a degree in computer science or computer engineering, the next best way to become a system administrator is to work your way up. Many system administrators start out at help desk positions or desktop support roles.

This is actually a good move for the long term – the experience of dealing with user issues, diagnosing system problems, providing solutions and learning about a computer system is a big help to someone looking to eventually become a system administrator.

You can consider certifications from vendors such as CompTIA, Cisco, Red Hat or Microsoft.

What Should I Learn To Become A System Admin?

A system administrator has a wide range of responsibilities and knowledge. If you want to become a system administrator, there are several areas that you should be knowledgeable in:

  • Network technologies – areas such as TCP/IP, routers and switches and general network structures will help a system administrator
  • Web servers – Apache and IIS technologies and their capabilities
  • Operating systems – Unix, Linux and Windows operating system knowledge is helpful for system administration
  • General Troubleshooting – how to diagnose, test and fix various problems in a system

Learn about these areas by visiting web sites, learning from other co-workers or people in the industry, reading forums, magazines, and other industry publications. The more you know, the better you’ll be at your job!