System Administrator, Computer / Network Salary
Pay for Network System Administrators in the United States sits in the ballpark of $59K annually. Total cash compensation to Network System Administrators bottoms out near $38K and approaches $83K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $7K from bonuses and almost $5K from profit sharing. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is location, followed by tenure and the specific company. Work is enjoyable for Network System Administrators, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Male Network System Administrators far outnumber their female contemporaries among those who completed the questionnaire. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
Job Description for System Administrator, Computer / Network
A computer/network system administrator is responsible for the maintenance of the technological systems of an organization. The position typically requires a B.A. in a field such as computer science or information technology, and related engineering certifications (for example by Microsoft or Cisco) are also preferred. A system administrator must be flexible, able to manage a variety of tasks and problems, and have good troubleshooting skills. Communication skills, both verbal and written, are also essential. A system administrator will also often be responsible for handling confidential information and data; certain government positions require a security clearance. The specific technological knowledge and skills vary widely according to the specific needs of the business or organization, but will include a range of hardware, programs, and systems, including standard Microsoft business software. The system administrator will install, configure, maintain, and upgrade Microsoft Windows server operating systems and applications and other systems as appropriate, and will recognize and troubleshoot problems with server hardware and applications software. Other responsibilities may include establishing and documenting standards and procedures, maintaining inventory of technological devices, working with outside vendors, and maintaining backup systems. The job requires flexibility to coordinate with other schedules and may require work after normal business hours. Depending on the layout of the business, significant physical activity is also potentially necessary. A system administrator may be hired directly by an organization to provide service for its technological needs, or may work for a technology consulting firm which provides system administration services to a variety of customers.
System Administrator, Computer / Network Tasks
- Recognize and troubleshoot problems with server hardware and applications software.
- Install, configure, maintain, and upgrade Microsoft Windows server operating systems and applications.
- Establish and document standards and procedures.
Common Career Paths for System Administrator, Computer / Network
Though it's uncommon, some Network System Administrators move into roles as Information Technology Directors, where pay is an average $103K per year. Information Technology Managers or Senior Systems Administrators are common next-step roles for Network System Administrators moving up in their careers; annual pay for Information Technology Managers is $21K higher on average, and it's $21K higher for Senior Systems Administrators.
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Popular Skills for System Administrator, Computer / Network
Network System Administrators seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in VMware ESX, Windows 2003 Server, Storage Area Networking, and Microsoft SQL Server are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 6 percent and 9 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office, and Windows Operating System General Use. For most people, competency in Microsoft Active Directory indicates knowledge of Microsoft Office and Cisco Networking.
Pay by Experience Level for System Administrator, Computer / Network
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $50K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $57K. Network System Administrators bring in $64K after working for 10 to 20 years. Network System Administrators who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $69K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Network System Administrators, working in the bustling city of San Francisco has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Network System Administrators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Seattle (+17 percent), San Antonio (+16 percent), New York (+15 percent), and San Diego (+13 percent). Austin is the lowest-paying area, 11 percent south of the national average. Atlanta and Miami are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 5 percent lower and 3 percent lower, respectively.