Sr. Unix System Administrator Salary (United States)

Sr. Unix System Administrators in the United States tend to be well-versed in their field, and close to four-fifths have more than 10 years of experience. Salary is expected to be around $95,433 per year, but may range from $68,932 to $128,081 per year. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. A strong majority enjoy medical while the greater part get dental coverage in this occupation. Vision coverage is also available to most. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
Sr. Unix System Administrator Salary (?
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.
)
$67,072 - $119,753
(Median)
67K
78K
92K
100K
120K
MEDIAN: $91,587
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Sr. Unix System Administrator Salary (?
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.
)
$36.42 - $80.50
(Median)
36
43
51
65
80
MEDIAN: $50
10%
25%
50%
75%
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
$67,072 - $119,753  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $12,051  
Profit Sharing
$608 - $13,642  
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).
)
$68,932 - $128,081  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,110
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$27$54$81
Hourly Rate
$36.42 - $80.50  
   
Overtime
$33.80 - $77.39  
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 - $12,051  
   
Profit Sharing
$608 - $13,642  
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).
)
$68,932 - $128,081  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 132
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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 Sr. Unix System Administrators make advancements in their career path, salaries may climb. Those in less important roles may make $12,249 less annually than those in higher-end positions, such as Information Technology (IT) Architect. Sr. Unix System Administrators most often move into positions as Senior IT Systems Engineers or Information Technology Managers, where they typically take pay cuts of $7,438 or $19,716 per year.

Sr. Unix System Administrator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Sr. Unix System Administrator

Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Shell Scripting, Sun Solaris, Solaris, and Storage Area Networking (SAN) are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 10 percent, 7 percent, 6 percent, and 6 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking, Windows Operating System General Use, and SQL. Those familiar with Linux also tend to 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.
Sr. Unix System Administrators with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy higher salaries, as pay increases are mainly incremental. After five to 10 years, starting salaries jump from $77K to $90K. Earnings total $100K after one to two decades. Sr. Unix System Administrators who stay in the field for several decades see their salaries grow less quickly after 20 years, with incomes eventually hovering around $102K. Age distribution in this workforce is concentrated between one and nine years of experience; more than half of respondents fall in this range.

Pay Difference By Location

San Francisco
up arrow 25%
San Jose
up arrow 21%
Washington
up arrow 10%
Houston
up arrow 7%
Seattle
up arrow 1%
National Average
$95,000
up arrow 1%
up arrow 1%
Boston
up arrow 1%
up arrow 1%
Minneapolis
up arrow 3%
Philadelphia
up arrow 3%
Dallas
up arrow 9%
Austin
up arrow 10%
St. Louis
up arrow 16%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Sr. Unix System Administrators, working in the bustling city of San Francisco has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. San Jose, Washington, New York, and Houston are a few other cities that offer generous salaries, with Sr. Unix System Administrators earning around 21 percent, 10 percent, 9 percent, and 7 percent more than average. The smallest paychecks in the market, 16 percent south of the national average, can be found in St. Louis. Below-median salaries also turn up in Austin and Dallas (-10 percent and -9 percent, respectively).

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Experience Affects Sr. Unix System Administrator Salaries

National Average
$95,000
Entry-Level
up arrow 20%

Skills That Affect Sr. Unix System Administrator Salaries

Shell Scripting
up arrow 10%
Solaris
up arrow 6%
IBM AIX
up arrow 4%
VMware ESX
up arrow 4%
Cisco Networking
0%
National Average
$95,000
Linux
up arrow 1%
UNIX
up arrow 1%
HTML
up arrow 2%
Network Management / Administration
up arrow 3%
Microsoft Office
up arrow 3%
SQL
up arrow 4%
Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 6%
Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 251 votes.

Gender

Female
5%
female alumni
 
Male
95%
male alumni

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
17%
10-19 years
58%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 90% dental benefits Dental: 83%
vision benefits Vision: 71% employee benefits None: 9%