Linux systems administrators, who are typically referred to as “sysadmins” within a company, are responsible for the configuration, maintenance, and overall function of computer systems that run Linux. These tasks relate both to hardware and software aspects of the network. The scope of the position may vary widely according to employers' needs. For example, smaller businesses might use a system composed of a limited number of peer-to-peer connections and perhaps a modest central server. Linux systems administrators who work for large corporations are likely to work as part of a sizable team that maintains a network including thousands of workstations and numerous servers. If the company includes multiple sites, administrators are also likely to maintain a virtual private network.
For an average employee of a company, Linux systems administrators are individuals who keep operating systems updated and install end-user software. For example, in a large corporation, administrators are likely to use remote deployment applications to push software installations to workstations simultaneously from central servers. Beyond the visible aspects of the position, these administrators also control the system hardware that defines the network, such as wireless routers and switches. Linux systems administrators are responsible for the consistency and overall management of hardware devices on the network. This also includes identification of security threats and subsequent resolutions.
Though administrators typically maintain desks in an office environment and work regular business hours, their duties often take them into the field to work on network hardware or workstations.
At minimum, most employers require their Linux systems administrators to hold an associate’s degree in network administration or a related information systems field. Advancement in rank and pay often favors administrators with bachelor’s degrees and candidates with advanced technical training. This might include special certifications from companies such as Cisco or Microsoft. Common certifications include the MCSA, the MCSE, and the CCNA.
Linux Systems Administrator Tasks
- Back up, recover, maintain and migrate data and programs.
- Identify and resolve service problems ranging from disaster recovery to login problems.
- Maintain, enhance and create tools for the Linux environment and its users.
- Create and update documentation, including maintenance logs and end user training.