Sr. Unix System Administrator Salary

More than four-fifths of Senior Unix System Administrators in the United States are seasoned employees who have more than 10 years of experience in the field. Pay ranges from $71K to $129K per year, and the average comes out to $93K per year. In the world of Senior Unix System Administrators, overall income ranges from $71K near the bottom to $129K at the top; this can include more than $12K from bonuses and more than $11K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Geography and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a large number earn dental coverage. For the most part, Senior Unix System Administrators enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$68,821 - $120,691
(Median)
$69K
$93K
$120K
MEDIAN: $92,818
10%
50%
90%

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$36.51 - $81.65
(Median)
$37
$53
$82
MEDIAN: $53.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$68,821 - $120,691  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,803  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $11,074  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$70,660 - $129,311  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 943
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$28$56$84
Hourly Rate
$36.51 - $81.65  
   
Overtime
$32.89 - $75.32  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,803  
   
Profit Sharing
$507 - $11,074  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$70,660 - $129,311  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 110

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Job Description for Sr. Unix System Administrator

A senior UNIX system administrator administers and maintains a company's server hardware and operating systems as well as any required software. They are responsible for designing the company's UNIX infrastructure, while also contributing to the continued maintenance of individual department IT needs and documentation. The system administrator should ensure that the network is kept up to date according to patch and release specifications. More specifically, these duties require that the senior UNIX system administrator perform capacity planning, maintain patching schedules, release deployment, and test to make sure that the systems are ready. It is important that the system administrator be able to see to any problems that may arise, and troubleshoot and resolve departmental incidents as well as system outages and degradations. They must respond to employee requests for technical support and be capable of communicating technical problems in a user-friendly manner. They must also stay abreast of new developments in the field and implement new systems as required by the changing field of technology. This includes learning about new hardware and software developed for the Linux environment. The job requires an awareness of the company's needs and requirements, and the ability to adjust system resources to meet the changing needs of the company during peak periods and periods of quick growth. System security is an important aspect of the administrator's duties. A senior UNIX system administrator must be able to ensure the protection of sensitive information, implement and enforce security policies, and ensure that all employees understand and adhere to these policies. A system administrator may also be required to work with individual vendors in order to obtain hardware and software required by the company. This would involve specifying, quoting, comparing, validating, and purchasing the necessary products. Overall, it is important that the system administrator is available 24/7 to ensure uninterrupted network service. In addition, the system administrator may be required to provide support with other company IT systems (smartphones, PDAs, etc.).


Sr. Unix System Administrator Tasks

  • Set policies for applications and infrastructure including patching schedules, release deployment, testing, and system readiness.
  • Perform capacity planning, infrastructure design, systems administration, and updates according to patch and release specifications.
  • Install, configure, test and maintain new and existing servers, hardware and software components.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve incidents, outages or degradations.

Common Career Paths for Sr. Unix System Administrator


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As Senior Unix System Administrators make advancements in their career path to positions such as Information Technology Architect, their salaries may climb. Information Technology Architects make $108K annually on average. Senior Unix System Administrators most often advance into Senior Systems Engineer and Information Technology Manager positions even though the median salaries are $8K lower and $20K lower, respectively.

Sr. Unix System Administrator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Sr. Unix System Administrator


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Shell Scripting, Storage Area Networking, Solaris, and Sun Solaris are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 6 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking, SQL, and Windows Operating System General Use. Most people who know Linux also know Sun Solaris and IBM AIX.

Pay by Experience Level for Sr. Unix System Administrator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


For Senior Unix System Administrators, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $76K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $92K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $97K. Senior Unix System Administrators who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $102K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For Senior Unix System Administrators, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 27 percent above the national average. Senior Unix System Administrators will also find cushy salaries in San Jose (+20 percent), Washington (+19 percent), New York (+14 percent), and Houston (+11 percent). Falling short of the national average by 9 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Austin. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Dallas and Philadelphia (9 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Sr. Unix System Administrator Salaries



National Average
$96,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 21%

Skills That Affect Sr. Unix System Administrator Salaries



up arrow 6%

Shell Scripting
up arrow 6%

VMware ESX
up arrow 3%

IBM AIX
up arrow 2%

Cisco Networking
0%

National Average
$96,000

Linux
up arrow 1%

UNIX
up arrow 2%

Network Management / Administration
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 3%

HTML
up arrow 4%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 5%

SQL
up arrow 6%

Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 191 votes.

Gender

Female
5 %
Male
95 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
16%
10-19 years
57%
20 years or more
25%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 91% dental benefits Dental: 84%
vision benefits Vision: 74% employee benefits None: 8%