The average UNIX System Administrator in the United States earns approximately $73K annually. Total cash compensation to UNIX System Administrators varies from $49K to $111K; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $10K each. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$49,520 - $107,081
(Median)
$50K
$73K
$110K
MEDIAN: $72,964
10%
50%
90%

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$19.53 - $56.17
(Median)
$20
$37
$56
MEDIAN: $37.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$49,520 - $107,081  
   
Bonus
$202.73 - $10,067  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $10,000  
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).
)
$49,434 - $110,588  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 277
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$19.53 - $56.17  
   
Overtime
$28.26 - $59.18  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$202.73 - $10,067  
   
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $10,000  
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).
)
$49,434 - $110,588  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 48
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Job Description for UNIX System Administrator

A Unix system administrator works in an office, where the Unix multiuser operating system is used. The administrator will be responsible for installing software and hardware relating to the system. It is essential to manage risks and to eliminate them before problems arise. It is also important to monitor the system’s performance and to carry out routine maintenance so that the system operates smoothly. Sometimes, this may require debugging and troubleshooting of the system.

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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 may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Senior Storage Engineer. The latter position pays an average of $101K annually. When UNIX System Administrators are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Senior Unix System Administrators or Senior Systems Engineers. Those roles pay an additional $16K and $15K, respectively.

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Popular Skills for UNIX System Administrator


Survey results imply that UNIX System Administrators deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, skills in Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, VMware ESX, and Shell Scripting are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 3 percent and 15 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like HTML, SQL, and Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking. Most people experienced in 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.


UNIX System Administrators with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $64K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $74K. UNIX System Administrators bring in $91K after working for 10 to 20 years. UNIX System Administrators who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $101K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $74,512

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For UNIX System Administrators, Houston provides a pay rate that is 19 percent greater than the national average. UNIX System Administrators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+14 percent), Los Angeles (+14 percent), San Jose (+10 percent), and Raleigh (+9 percent). Compared to the national average, Pittsburgh UNIX System Administrators have considerably lower salaries, 26 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are San Antonio (23 percent less) and Chicago (17 percent less).

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
$75,000



Skills That Affect UNIX System Administrator Salaries


IBM AIX
up arrow 4%

VMware ESX
up arrow 3%

Shell Scripting
up arrow 1%

Linux
0%

UNIX
0%

National Average
$75,000

Network Management / Administration
up arrow 2%

Internet Information Server (IIS)
up arrow 4%

Cisco Networking
up arrow 7%


Microsoft Office
up arrow 7%

Solaris
up arrow 8%

Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 12%

SQL
up arrow 14%

HTML
up arrow 16%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 50 votes.

Gender

Female
11 %
Male
89 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
31%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
29%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 85%
dental benefits
Dental: 79%
medical benefits
Vision: 74%
dental benefits
None: 12%
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