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UNIX System Administrator Salary

Men make up the majority of UNIX System Administrators in the United States, bringing in about $70K per year. Overall cash earnings for UNIX System Administrators vary widely between $48K and $102K; for a few high rollers, the final number can encompass upwards of $10K each from bonuses and profit sharing proceeds. Geographic location and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number enjoy medical while a fair number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. The majority of UNIX System Administrators claim high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$49,283 - $97,618
(Median)
$49K
$70K
$98K
MEDIAN: $69,557
10%
50%
90%

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$16.69 - $52.47
(Median)
$17
$32
$52
MEDIAN: $31.00
10%
50%
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
$49,283 - $97,618  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,773  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $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).
)
$48,382 - $101,930  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 860
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$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$16.69 - $52.47  
   
Overtime
$19.00 - $61.07  
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 - $9,773  
   
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $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).
)
$48,382 - $101,930  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 130

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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.

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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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There are some UNIX System Administrators — though it's uncommon — that transition into Senior Systems Engineers, where earnings are an average $99K annually. UNIX System Administrators moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Senior Unix System Administrators or Senior Systems Engineers. The median paychecks in those roles are $20K higher and $18K higher, respectively.

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Popular Skills for UNIX System Administrator


UNIX System Administrators report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Sun Solaris, VMware ESX, Shell Scripting, and UNIX are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include SQL, HTML, and Windows Operating System General Use. For most people, competency in Linux indicates knowledge of 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 more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. The average beginner in this position makes around $61K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $72K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $78K. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $83K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location


Seattle offers some of the highest pay in the country for UNIX System Administrators, 25 percent above the national average. UNIX System Administrators will also find cushy salaries in San Jose (+18 percent), New York (+14 percent), Washington (+11 percent), and Dallas (+11 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 19 percent south of the national average, can be found in San Antonio. Below-median salaries also turn up in Houston and Chicago (11 percent lower and 9 percent lower, respectively).

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.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects UNIX System Administrator Salaries




National Average
$70,000


Skills That Affect UNIX System Administrator Salaries


VMware ESX
up arrow 3%

Shell Scripting
up arrow 2%

UNIX
0%

IBM AIX
0%

Internet Information Server (IIS)
0%

National Average
$70,000

Linux
up arrow 2%

Network Management / Administration
up arrow 3%

Cisco Networking
up arrow 3%

Solaris
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 6%

Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 7%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 8%

SQL
up arrow 11%

HTML
up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 195 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
29%
10-19 years
33%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 79%
vision benefits Vision: 67% employee benefits None: 10%