Sr. Unix System Administrator Salary (United States)

Seasoned employees—those with more than 10 years of experience in the field—make up the largest chunk of Sr. Unix System Administrators in the United States, more than three-quarters. There is a range in pay— $68,932 to $128,081 per year—with average salary amounting to $95,433 per year. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing—peaking near $12,051 and $13,642, respectively—total cash payment can bottom out near $67,072 or peak near $119,753. Residency and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority in this profession are lucky enough to receive benefits; most get medical and dental insurance, and most get vision plans, too. The majority of Sr. Unix System Administrators claim high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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  
PayScale
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  
PayScale
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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Sr. Unix System Administrators may enjoy an increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder. For example, top-notch roles like Information Technology (IT) Architect can offer an extra $12,249 annually than lower-level jobs in the same field. Sr. Unix System Administrators most often move into positions as Senior IT Systems Engineers or Information Technology (IT) 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

Sr. Unix System Administrators report using a large range of skills 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. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking, Windows Operating System General Use, and SQL. Those educated in Linux tend to be well-versed 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.
Sr. Unix System Administrators do not generally earn higher salaries from more experience in the field—in most many but not all cases, experience is not a driving force behind pay increase. Starting out, salaries are typically $77K, which grows to $90K after five to 10 years. Pay amounts to $100K after 10 to 20 years. Once they've gotten two decades of experience under their belts, Sr. Unix System Administrators encounter slower salary growth; at this point, they earn $102K annually. In this field, workers tend to have anywhere from one to nine years of experience—of those surveyed, more than half land within 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.
San Francisco offers some of the highest pay in the country for Sr. Unix System Administrators, 25 percent above the national average. San Jose, Washington, New York, and Houston also offer top salaries for Sr. Unix System Administrators. Workers in these cities can expect to earn about 21 percent, 10 percent, 9 percent, and 7 percent more, respectively. Falling short of the national average by 16 percent, the area with the worst salaries is St. Louis. Workers in Austin and Dallas earn less than others in this profession; their -10 percent and -9 percent-salaries fall short of the national average.

Related Job Salaries

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%
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