System Administrator, Computer / Network Salary
Average Network System Administrators in the United States make around $59K annually. Final cash compensation to Network System Administrators varies from around $37K to approximately $83K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $7K and $5K, respectively. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is career length, though geography and the specific company have a (lesser) impact as well. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a majority. The vast majority of Network System Administrators (88 percent) survey respondents are men. Job satisfaction for Network System Administrators is high. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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
- Establish and document standards and procedures.
- Install, configure, maintain, and upgrade Microsoft Windows server operating systems and applications.
- Recognize and troubleshoot problems with server hardware and applications software.
Common Career Paths for System Administrator, Computer / Network
For Network System Administrators, progressing to an Information Technology Director role may result in a significant raise. On average, an Information Technology Director can earn $103K annually. It is quite typical for Network System Administrators to transition into roles as Information Technology Managers or Senior Systems Administrators, where reported median earnings are $21K and $21K higher per year.
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Popular Skills for System Administrator, Computer / Network
Network System Administrators report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in VMware ESX, Storage Area Networking, Microsoft SQL Server, and Cisco Networking are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office, and Windows Support. The majority of those who know Microsoft Active Directory also know 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.
Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Network System Administrators — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $50K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $58K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $64K in this role. 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 $68K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Network System Administrators in Minneapolis enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 18 percent above the national average. Network System Administrators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Antonio (+17 percent), Seattle (+16 percent), New York (+15 percent), and Chicago (+12 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 11 percent south of the national average, can be found in Austin. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Atlanta and Miami (5 percent lower and 3 percent lower, respectively).
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