Role & Responsibilities
The responsibilities of a system admin position could include any of the following:
The primary responsibility of a system admin is to support reliable and effective use of complex IT systems by end users, whether internal or external customers. Activities range from managing identities and access to providing dedicated technical support to individual users. As a system admin, you may be the first contact within IT departments of users to resolve any tech-related issue.
System admins will be responsible for dependable access and availability to IT systems. System admins are therefore required to troubleshoot and fix issues that compromise system performance or access to an IT service. This responsibility also involves regular system improvements, such as upgrades based on evolving end-user and business requirements.
System admins are required to maintain records of IT assets usage. To plan for future IT investments and upgrades, you will document:
- End-user requests
- Business requirements
- IT issues
Documentation also underpins regulatory compliance.
System health monitoring
Most IT issues go unnoticed until the impact reaches end users. System admins, therefore, should monitor system health and identify anomalous network behavior, which may include security-sensitive activities such as unauthorized network access and data transfer. Advanced technology solutions may be used to accomplish these tasks, supporting the wider IT Security and Operations departments.
Backup & disaster recovery
System admins will implement data backup and disaster recovery strategies for different IT systems and SDLC environments. You’ll also facilitate end-users in accessing data that may have been deleted or unavailable.
Activities may involve:
- Implementing automated software solutions
- Replacing hardware and software components
System admins should support various IT teams to ensure that software systems and feature releases are compatible with the IT infrastructure.
For example, as a system admin you may require:
- Testing server load performance
- Install/upgrade hardware components
Web service administration & configurations
System admins should regularly perform web service administration and configuration management activities, including ensuring that configuration changes are documented and following organizational policies associated with access and cybersecurity. Configuration changes may be applied using automation and configuration management tools.
To maintain network integrity, system admins should ensure that network interactions follow organizational policies and protocols. (A background in network engineering may be required to perform mission-critical network administration activities.)
- Security responsibilities are centered on infrastructure and network security, with activities including:
- Identity and access management
- Maintaining the security of hardware components
- Managing software licensing, updates, and patching.
- Sys admins adopting these responsibilities tend to work closely with security specialists and engineers within the organization as well as external consultants.
Sys admins should be responsible for maintaining the integrity, performance, and efficiency of database systems. Database management activities may include migration, design, configuration, installation, and security of the organization’s data assets. Sys admins should act as liaisons with users to address database-related issues, including backup and restoration activities.
Installation & patching
Sys admins should be responsible for managing, troubleshooting, licensing, and updating hardware and software assets. You will ensure that appropriate measures are proactively followed in response to unforeseen issues such as IT downtime or zero-day exploits. Then, you’ll document these activities and follow a strategic approach, per organizational policy.
Usually, sys admins communicate directly with end users to solve technical issues. Sometimes, you may also conduct training programs to bring users up to pace with new software installations or IT system changes. These training programs may not pertain to specialized engineering tools, but the Web portal and procedures required to access the corporate network and IT services.
Common skills for sys admins
Sys admin positions may not require engineering know-how, but a strong background in IT is necessary to perform sys admin duties. You’ll also want to boost effective communication skills, both written and verbal.
Here are some common skills needed to be a successful sysadmin:
Subject matter expertise.
Most organizations employ multiple individuals specializing in specific system administration domains, so you’ll want to be an expert in one or more of the following: Computer system networks Hardware and software troubleshooting of Database Web services
Problem-solving-You’re often the first person called upon to deal with a problem, so troubleshooting and understanding key systems are essential.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills-Both written and verbal, as you’ll deal with technically-minded employees and non-technical colleagues alike. Sys admins in traditional IT departments don’t follow development and engineering responsibilities. Most modern organizations following Agile and Deps ITSM frameworks use automation tools, infrastructure automation, and Infrastructure as a Code practice to operate IT systems. These technology solutions and practices have transformed the way infrastructure is managed and provisioned. Therefore, a strong background in computer science and programming may be essential for sysadmins to succeed