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What Are the Necessary Skills for a Systems Administrator?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2016
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A systems administrator is responsible for the operation, maintenance, and security of a computer system and must possess a wide variety of skills. An extensive knowledge of computer operating systems and applications as well as hardware and software is required for this profession. This professional must have the skills needed to troubleshoot and repair problems, as well as implement all necessary security measures. In addition to these technical skills, a systems administrator must be able to work well under pressure and communicate effectively with other professionals. These individuals are required to hold an array of professional certifications and participate in continuing education programs to keep up with changing technology.

An extensive working knowledge of computer operating systems is one of the most important skills needed for a systems administrator. This individual must fully understand the abilities and limitations of various operating systems to keep equipment running smoothly at all times. Administrators should also be skilled in the use of different computer applications to meet the needs of a particular organization. In addition to these skills, they must be very familiar with the actual hardware used in computers to provide up-to-date, efficient operation. A broad knowledge of various types of software is also needed to choose programs that are suited for specific business operations.

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Another important skill that a systems administrator must have is the ability to quickly identify and repair common problems. These professionals are typically called upon by members of the workforce to identify and correct various issues such as error messages and software conflicts. Administrators must be able to act quickly to keep business services operational and prevent the loss of important data. These individuals are also required to have up-to-date knowledge of the various security measures available to prevent data theft and other computer system intrusions, and should also possess the skills needed to identify, repair, and assess the damage caused by a security breach.

Along with these technical abilities, a systems administrator should possess certain personal skills. This individual must be able to work well in a stressful situation such as an entire system malfunction. An organization’s daily business activities are often brought to a halt while the administrator attempts to locate and repair a problem with the system, so excellent problem solving skills are required to quickly and effectively remedy the situation. This professional must also have effective communication skills to work as a team with other administrators and to train members of the workforce in the proper use of the system.

A network administrator is also required to hold a wide variety of different professional certifications. These certificates are issued by the manufacturers of software and operating systems to ensure that an administrator’s skills are up-to-date with current versions. In addition, an administrator for a large organization may need to be certified in more than a dozen different types of software. As the industry continues to advance and change, continuing education classes are frequently needed to keep pace with advances in technology.

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