Systems administrator

What they do

Systems administrators plan, develop, install, maintain and support organisations' operating systems and associated server hardware, software, and databases. They develop security policies and procedures to ensure optimal database and system integrity, security, backup, reliability and performance. Systems administrators ensure that the design of computer sites allows all components to fit together and work properly, and monitor and adjust the performance of networks. They continually survey the current computer site to determine future network needs and make recommendations for enhancements in the implementation of future servers and networks.

Working conditions

Systems Administrators work in offices or labs. They usually work about 40 hours a week, but evening or weekend work may need to be done to meet deadlines. Telecommuting (working from home) is common for computer professionals. Although database administrators sometimes work independently, they frequently work in teams on large projects. As a result, they must be able to communicate effectively with computer personnel, such as programmers and managers, as well as with users or other staff who may have no technical computer background.

Like other workers who spend long periods of time in front of a computer, database administrators can suffer eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.

Tools and technologies

Tools and technologies used in this occupation may include:

  • Administration software
  • Configuration management software
  • Network monitoring software
  • Network security or virtual private network VPN management software
  • Transaction security and virus protection software

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a systems administrator, you usually need to gain a qualification in information technology or computer science. However, it is possible to work as a systems administrator without a formal qualification. You will generally require at least five years of relevant work experience and/or relevant vendor certification that may substitute for a formal qualification.

The Diploma of Information Technology Networking and Diploma of Information Technology are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.

You can also study a degree in information technology or computer science, or a degree in commerce with a major in business information systems or business information technology. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

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