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Career profile: Sysadmin

Career profile: SysadminSystem administrators, or sysadmins, make the IT world go round, setting up and maintaining computer systems, networks and servers.

What is a sysadmin?

Sysadmin is short for “system administrator”. The job involves setting up and maintaining computer systems. This could mean running the servers that host a company’s website, managing a university network or operating a complex database system.

Often - and particularly in smaller organisations - a sysadmin will have to perform a wide range of tasks, and will have to respond to new demands effectively.

Where could I work?

Anywhere with complex enough computers will need a sysadmin. You could work anywhere from businesses to government departments to universities.

Systems administration is also a great field if you want to work overseas, as the principles and work involved are very similar around the world.

What qualifications do sysadmins need?

You don’t necessarily need specific qualifications for a career in system administration, but particular job opportunities might ask for specific qualifications. Some qualifications that might be useful include:

  • Degrees in Computer Science, IT or Information Systems are demanded by some jobs, and the course will involve some relevant material.
  • Higher National Diplomas can offer a more hands-on qualification.
  • Certifications in particular technologies can be valuable, provided the job you are applying for uses that technology

However, for many sysadmin positions, experience is more important than qualifications, because the IT world changes so quickly. Building experience can be tough, but remember that a huge number of organisations need sysadmins. You might be able to get part-time or volunteer work with a charity, school or small local business to help build up your CV and find a full-time position.

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