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Sr. Unix System Administrator Salary

With approximately four-fifths of Senior Unix System Administrators in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Senior Unix System Administrators is $92K annually and can range from $69K on the lower end to $129K per year near the higher end. Cash earnings for Senior Unix System Administrators — which occasionally include more than $12K from bonuses and more than $14K from profit sharing — stretch from around $69K to approximately $129K. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Most Senior Unix System Administrators like their work and job satisfaction is high. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
$67,285 - $119,914
(Median)
$67K
$92K
$120K
MEDIAN: $91,868
10%
50%
90%

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$36.54 - $80.93
(Median)
$37
$51
$81
MEDIAN: $51.00
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
$67,285 - $119,914  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,653  
Profit Sharing
$582 - $13,953  
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).
)
$69,306 - $128,507  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,057
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
$36.54 - $80.93  
   
Overtime
$33.70 - $77.55  
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 - $11,653  
   
Profit Sharing
$582 - $13,953  
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).
)
$69,306 - $128,507  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 128
United States (change)

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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At the upper end, Senior Unix System Administrators who move into an Information Technology Architect role may earn more as the latter position has a median salary of $108K per year. Senior Unix System Administrators most often move into positions as Senior Systems Engineers or Information Technology Managers. Senior Systems Engineers actually earn $8K less on average, however, and Information Technology Managers earn $20K less per year than Senior Unix System Administrators do.

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 Solaris, Shell Scripting, Sun Solaris, and Storage Area Networking are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 7 percent and 9 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking, Windows Operating System General Use, and SQL. It is often found that people who know Linux are also skilled in 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.


Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $76K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $91K. On average, Senior Unix System Administrators make $97K following one to two decades on the job. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $103K.

Pay Difference by Location


San Francisco is home to an above-average pay rate for Senior Unix System Administrators, 25 percent higher than the national average. Senior Unix System Administrators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+21 percent), New York (+15 percent), Washington (+11 percent), and Houston (+9 percent). In St. Louis, salaries are 17 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin (10 percent lower) and Dallas (7 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Sr. Unix System Administrator Salaries



National Average
$96,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 21%

Skills That Affect Sr. Unix System Administrator Salaries

Solaris
up arrow 9%


Shell Scripting
up arrow 7%


VMware ESX
up arrow 4%

IBM AIX
up arrow 2%

Cisco Networking
0%

National Average
$96,000

Linux
up arrow 1%

UNIX
up arrow 1%

HTML
up arrow 2%

Network Management / Administration
up arrow 3%

SQL
up arrow 4%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 4%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 5%

Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 225 votes.

Gender

Female
6 %
Male
94 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
17%
10-19 years
57%
20 years or more
24%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 90% dental benefits Dental: 83%
vision benefits Vision: 72% employee benefits None: 9%