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28 Jul 2023

What is a Sysadmin? Celebrating the Quiet Heroes of IT

Today is system administrator (sysadmin) appreciation day. As a company operating in the tech industry, we want to stop and highlight the crucial, but often underappreciated, work of these professionals that keep our computers and servers alive, our people in communication and organisations around the world in business.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of sysadmins, explore their roles and the traits that make them successful. For those curious about a career in this field, we’ll also provide insights into how to get ahead in the profession.

What Does a Sysadmin Do?

Sysadmins are so ubiquitous and manage so many tasks that it’d be easier to ask, “what don’t they do?” But here are some of the responsibilities their roles may cover on a daily basis.

Build Machines

A fundamental task of a sysadmin is building and configuring machines that meet their business’ specific needs. This includes setting up workstations, servers and other hardware components, ensuring they function optimally to support the company’s operations.

Data Security

Data security is crucial in today's digital landscape. Sysadmins play a critical role in implementing and maintaining security measures to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access, data breaches and cyber threats.

Virus Protection

Protecting systems from viruses and malware is an ongoing battle. Sysadmins are responsible for installing and managing antivirus software, conducting regular scans and promptly responding to any security threats that may arise.

Write Code

Automation is key to improving efficiency. Sysadmins often write code or use scripting languages to automate repetitive tasks, manage configurations and streamline a business’ processes.

Keep Users Connected

Sysadmins are the bridge between technology and end users. They provide technical support, troubleshoot issues and ensure that users can connect and collaborate seamlessly.

Maintain Servers

Maintaining servers is a core responsibility of sysadmins. They monitor server performance, address hardware and software issues and ensure that critical systems operate smoothly.

Configure Servers

Sysadmins also configure servers, which involves setting up user accounts, managing permissions and optimizing server performance.

Update Servers

Keeping software and operating systems updated is vital to their security and performance. Sysadmins are responsible for applying patches and updates to servers and other systems to ensure they remain secure and efficient.

What Traits Do You Need to Be a Successful Sysadmin?

Being a sysadmin requires a unique set of traits that go beyond technical skills. Successful sysadmins possess a combination of technical expertise and personal qualities that allow them to excel in their roles. Essential traits a sysadmin needs include the following.

Clear Communication

Effective communication is essential for sysadmins, as they often need to explain technical concepts to non-technical users. Clear and concise communication helps them provide instructions, troubleshoot issues and collaborate across teams.

Responsiveness

In the fast-paced world of IT, being responsive to user requests and technical issues couldn’t be more important. A successful sysadmin promptly addresses problems and ensures minimal downtime to keep business operations running smoothly.

Curiosity

Curiosity drives sysadmins to continuously learn and explore new technologies. Staying curious enables them to adapt to the ever-changing IT landscape and find innovative solutions to complex problems.

Problem Solving

Sysadmins are natural problem solvers. They possess the ability to analyze issues, identify root causes and implement effective solutions to resolve technical challenges as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Proactiveness

Being proactive is essential for Sysadmins. It allows them to anticipate potential problems and address them before they escalate. Proactive sysadmins implement preventive measures and monitor systems to prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

Patience

Technical issues are frustrating and sysadmins often encounter complex problems that require patience and time to solve. Patience and persistence are essential traits for a sysadmin, equipping them to work through challenges methodically and solve problems - both for users and themselves.

How Can I Become a Sysadmin?

If the role of a system administrator has your attention, there are various skills you can build and paths you can take to embark on a career in this much-demanded area.

  • Education and Training: Pursue a degree or certification in computer science, IT or a related field. Formal education provides a strong foundation in IT principles and concepts.
  • Gain Technical Experience: Obtain hands-on experience with computer systems, networks and operating systems. Internships, volunteer work, or personal projects can help you build practical skills.
  • Develop Problem-Solving Skills: Nurture your problem-solving skills by tackling technical challenges and finding creative, independent solutions to common challenges.
  • Learn Scripting and Automation: Automation is a key aspect of sysadmin work. Familiarize yourself with scripting languages like Python, PowerShell or Bash.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Join IT groups, network within communities, attend industry events and connect with professionals in the field to expand your network and learn from experienced sysadmins.
  • Certifications: Consider completing industry recognized certifications like CompTIA Network+ etc. These certifications validate your skills, catch the attention of recruiters and ultimately, make you more attractive to employers.
  • Stay Updated: Keep yourself informed about the latest trends and developments in IT by reading tech blogs, attending webinars, listening to podcasts and exploring online resources.

Happy Sysadmin Day - Explore Our Open Roles

We hope this blog shows our appreciation for sysadmins everywhere - thank you for all you do! If you’re looking for a career in IT, we invite you to explore our open roles - take a look and apply here.

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