Senior Systems Engineer Salary
Job Description for Senior Systems Engineer
The senior systems engineer tends to involve more design and build-out work than an standard systems administrator position. While both jobs contain responsibilities for day-to-day administration and upkeep of servers and storage, a senior systems engineer will also have been the one who original designed the solution; this can range anywhere from choosing a server platform to details related to processors, RAM and network cards.Read More...
In addition to general Windows/Linux servers, a senior systems engineer will generally have some type of specialty. Typical specialties include storage (with additional focus on particular vendors, with Netapp, Hitachi and EMC being the most common), virtualization (Vmware Vsphere first, Hyper-V second), or specific large-scale platforms. These large platform specialties, such as SAP or SaaS, tends to leave the job choices a bit more limited (whereas storage and virtualization tend to be more universal), but it also often leads to the more secure and higher-paying jobs.
The best senior systems engineers tend to have at least touched on multiple facets of the systems world. Ideally, a senior systems engineer in a Windows shop will have at least passing experience with Active Directory, Exchange, storage, virtualization, basic networking (ideally Cisco), at least one antivirus solution, and at least one enterprise backup solution. In a Linux or Unix Environment, the list is essentially the same, just replacing Active Directory with Samba/EDir and Exchange with something like Zimbra. Because of the fact that a senior systems engineer is designing platforms, instead of just maintaining them in an ongoing fashion, the broad experience ensures that they have the knowledge needed to come up with designs for new projects and platforms.
Senior Systems Engineer Tasks
- Oversee the planning, design and implementation of system engineering projects.
- May be responsible for designing a data contingency plan or data disaster recovery plan.
- Install, configure and upgrade and enhancements to software/hardware/network systems.
Common Career Paths for Senior Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineers may progress into high-paying roles like Principal Systems Engineer, where median compensation is $124K annually. As Senior Systems Engineers progress in their field, many go on to become Information Technology Managers. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and median pay for the role is $77K. Another common career choice for Senior Systems Engineers is to move into an Information Technology Architect role — this promotion usually pays $110K.
Senior Systems Engineer Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Senior Systems Engineer
Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Inc., and Raytheon Missile Systems are top-notch employers for Senior Systems Engineers in this area. The biggest paychecks can be found at The Boeing Company — the median salary there is $132K; however, employees are subject to a wide range in pay, with the lowest salaries sitting near $94K and highest ones in the neighborhood of $174K. Senior Systems Engineers will also find cushy salaries at Booz, Allen, and Hamilton (+$126K), Northrop Grumman Corporation (+$120K), and General Dynamics C4 Systems (+$113K).
With a reported median salary of only $75K, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems easily takes the cake for lowest-paying firm in town; earnings are 76 percent lower than the top payer. Motorola, Inc., BAE Systems Inc., and Dell, Inc. are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($87K, $88K, and $99K respectively).
Popular Skills for Senior Systems Engineer
Survey takers working as Senior Systems Engineers report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in UNIX, Requirements Analysis, Project Management, and Linux are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 3 percent and 5 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Microsoft Active Directory, Windows Operating System General Use, and Storage Area Networking. For most people, competency in Engineering Design indicates knowledge of Requirements Analysis.
Pay by Experience Level for Senior Systems Engineer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Senior Systems Engineers, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. At career start (within the first five years), average income sits near $89K, and the average for folks who have worked for five to 10 years is only slightly higher at $97K. After one to two decades on the job, professionals can reap plentiful salaries that average out to the six-figure sum of $106K. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Senior Systems Engineers with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $119K.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 23 percent, Senior Systems Engineers in San Francisco receive some of the highest pay in the country. Senior Systems Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Arlington (+23 percent), Washington (+20 percent), New York (+11 percent), and Los Angeles (+10 percent). Cedar Rapids ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 7 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Atlanta and Tucson (6 percent lower and 4 percent lower, respectively).
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