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UNIX System Administrator Salary (United States)

Men represent the vast majority of UNIX System Administrators in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $68K per year nationwide. With some bonuses approaching $10K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $12K, overall incomes of UNIX System Administrators spread between $47K and $99K depending on individual performance. Residence and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A solid majority enjoy medical while a fair portion get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. 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.
)
$47,820 - $95,476
(Median)
48K
56K
68K
81K
95K
MEDIAN: $68,229
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.
)
$16.52 - $51.32
(Median)
17
24
31
42
51
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
$47,820 - $95,476  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,696  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $11,745  
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).
)
$46,684 - $99,292  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,062
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
$16.52 - $51.32  
   
Overtime
$20.56 - $61.89  
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 - $9,696  
   
Profit Sharing
$511 - $11,745  
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).
)
$46,684 - $99,292  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 156
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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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Though it's uncommon, some UNIX System Administrators move into roles as Senior Systems Engineers, where pay is usually $99K per year. UNIX System Administrators typically move into roles as Senior Unix System Administrators or Senior Systems Engineers, and those positions pay $21K more and $19K more, respectively.

Systems Administrator Job Listings

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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 VMware ESX, Sun Solaris, Shell Scripting, and IBM AIX are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 10 percent, 6 percent, 3 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include SQL, HTML, and Windows Operating System General Use. The majority of those who know 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.
More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $60K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $71K. UNIX System Administrators claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $77K. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; an UNIX System Administrator with more than 20 years of experience can earn $84K on average. Between one and nine years of experience is the norm for people in this field — a majority of those surveyed fit this bill. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up approximately one in three of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than two percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining less than 10 percent.

Pay Difference By Location

Seattle
up arrow 22%
San Jose
up arrow 19%
New York
up arrow 12%
Denver
up arrow 10%
Cincinnati
up arrow 9%
Fairfax
up arrow 9%
Boston
up arrow 8%
Washington
up arrow 6%
up arrow 5%
National Average
$69,000
Houston
up arrow 3%
Raleigh
up arrow 3%
Chicago
up arrow 4%
San Antonio
up arrow 20%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Surpassing the national average by 22 percent, UNIX System Administrators in Seattle receive some of the highest pay in the country. San Jose, New York, Denver, and Cincinnati also offer top salaries for UNIX System Administrators. Workers in these cities can expect to earn about 19 percent, 12 percent, 10 percent, and 9 percent more, respectively. In San Antonio, salaries are 20 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Chicago (4 percent less) and Houston (3 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
$69,000

Skills That Affect UNIX System Administrator Salaries

VMware ESX
up arrow 10%
Shell Scripting
up arrow 3%
IBM AIX
up arrow 3%
UNIX
up arrow 1%
National Average
$69,000
Cisco Networking
up arrow 1%
Virtualization
up arrow 1%
Linux
up arrow 2%
Network Management / Administration
up arrow 3%
Windows NT / 2000 / XP Networking
up arrow 5%
Microsoft Office
up arrow 5%
Internet Information Server (IIS)
up arrow 5%
Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 7%
SQL
up arrow 10%
HTML
up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 256 votes.

Gender

Female
8%
female alumni
 
Male
92%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
26%
5-9 years
32%
10-19 years
32%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 80%
vision benefits Vision: 66% employee benefits None: 10%