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UNIX System Administrator Salary (United States)

UNIX System Administrators in the United States are largely men, earning an average of $69K per year. Cash earnings of UNIX System Administrators can occasionally include $10K each in bonuses and profit sharing proceeds; this strong performance component causes pay grades to stretch from approximately $48K to almost $100K. Residence and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most UNIX System Administrators. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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.
)
$48,724 - $96,224
(Median)
49K
57K
69K
82K
96K
MEDIAN: $68,867
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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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.
)
$16.32 - $51.90
(Median)
16
24
30
43
52
MEDIAN: $30
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$34K$68K$102K
Salary
$48,724 - $96,224  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,808  
Profit Sharing
$350.00 - $9,500  
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).
)
$47,738 - $99,937  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 983
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$21$42$63
Hourly Rate
$16.32 - $51.90  
   
Overtime
$20.17 - $62.42  
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$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,808  
   
Profit Sharing
$350.00 - $9,500  
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).
)
$47,738 - $99,937  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 151
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Job Description for UNIX System Administrator

A UNIX systems administrator must be knowledgeable with the UNIX operating system. This is imperative, as the duties of this administrator include installing, configuring, and maintaining the UNIX operating system and all other applications as needed. This worker will be responsible for identifying and troubleshooting all server hardware issues and correcting any problems with application software. In accordance with all of the above, UNIX systems administrator is also responsible for documentation regarding standards and procedures.
Read More...
UNIX System Administrator Tasks
  • Recognize and troubleshoot problems with server hardware and applications software.
  • Install, configure, maintain, and upgrade Unix server operating systems and applications.
  • Establish and document standards and procedures.

Common Career Paths for UNIX System Administrator

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UNIX System Administrators do not often transition into Senior Systems Engineer roles. The role averages $99K per year. The most common next step for an UNIX System Administrator is to become a Senior Unix System Administrator or a Senior Systems Engineer. The former position pays an additional $20K per year on average, and the latter position pays $18K more per year.

Systems Administrator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for UNIX System Administrator

Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in VMware ESX, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, and Solaris are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 11 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include SQL, HTML, and Windows Operating System General Use. Most people familiar with Linux also know Shell Scripting and Sun Solaris.

Pay by Experience Level for UNIX System Administrator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For UNIX System Administrators, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $60K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $72K. After working for 10 to 20 years, UNIX System Administrators make a median salary of $77K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $82K on average.

Pay Difference By Location

Seattle
up arrow 23%
San Jose
up arrow 18%
up arrow 12%
Washington
up arrow 10%
Fairfax
up arrow 8%
Denver
up arrow 7%
Boston
up arrow 7%
Cincinnati
up arrow 7%
Tampa
up arrow 5%
up arrow 4%
National Average
$70,000
Raleigh
up arrow 4%
Chicago
up arrow 5%
Houston
up arrow 7%
Miami
up arrow 16%
San Antonio
up arrow 18%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For UNIX System Administrators, Seattle provides a pay rate that is 23 percent greater than the national average. UNIX System Administrators will also find cushy salaries in San Jose (+18 percent), New York (+12 percent), Washington (+10 percent), and Fairfax (+8 percent). Falling short of the national average by 18 percent, the area with the worst salaries is San Antonio. Employers pay around 16 percent less in Miami and 7 percent less in Houston, below-median salaries for those in this field.

UNIX System Administrator Reviews

What is it like working as an UNIX System Administrator?
UNIX System Administrator in Omaha:
"Compensation."
Pros: The most enjoyable part of my job is the people I work with. Specifically the IT staff. The casual dress environment is nice, as well.
Cons: For the majority of the IT staff, telecommuting is not permitted unless there is schedule work after business hours. Infogroup has made exceptions for a few their IT staff, but getting this approval is difficult to obtain. There have never been scheduled performance reviews. I was hired on to the Unix team as an entry level administrator which did not include a pay increase from my previous position. During the last three years, I have gradually taken on the responsibilities of a Senior UNIX Administrator and have been promised a raise and title to reflect this position, but this has not happened.

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Experience Affects UNIX System Administrator Salaries

National Average
$70,000

Skills That Affect UNIX System Administrator Salaries

IBM AIX
up arrow 4%
Shell Scripting
up arrow 3%
Solaris
up arrow 3%
UNIX
0%
National Average
$70,000
Internet Information Server (IIS)
up arrow 1%
Linux
up arrow 2%
Network Management / Administration
up arrow 2%
Cisco Networking
up arrow 2%
Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 6%
Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 6%
Microsoft Office
up arrow 6%
HTML
up arrow 10%
SQL
up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 233 votes.

Gender

Female
7%
female alumni
 
Male
93%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
32%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 79%
vision benefits Vision: 66% employee benefits None: 10%