6 Things to Expect if You’re Pursuing a Career in Systems Administration

IT certifications
A systems administrator may work with a large team or be the only IT professional in a smaller company.

A career in systems administration can be satisfying and rewarding for hardworking individuals capable of managing a complex workload. Systems administrators supervise the maintenance of a company’s networks and servers, software, and hardware. Whether a company’s systems are simple for just a few employees or complex to meet the needs of hundreds or thousands of employees, systems administrators are responsible for it all.

Here are some things to expect if you’re pursuing a career in systems administration.

1. You’ll always be busy.

The complex nature of a systems administrator’s job means that there is always something to do. Systems administrators need to handle all of the company’s servers and networks, software, and hardware, which means managing any problems that come up, keeping everything running smoothly, making frequent updates and upgrades, and constantly trying to make everything work even better than it currently does.

2. You may be supervising a team.

For companies with larger systems, there will probably be a team working to keep everything going. In addition to understanding the technology related to the systems, you will also need people skills to help you manage the team and make sure they work effectively to maintain the system.

3. The buck will stop with you.

Like with most things in life, people may not notice when everything is working well. But when there’s a problem, they will notice and you’ll be responsible for getting it fixed fast. Even if you have a team working with you, the systems administrator is usually the point person to communicate to company leaders what is going on and what efforts are being taken to fix the problems when they do occur.

IT certifications
Being able to solve problems will serve you well in a systems administrator career.

4. You will get paid well for your efforts. 

Systems administrators with experience in larger companies can make six-figure salaries, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for this position is about $84,500. By comparison, the average annual wage for all jobs is about $49,500. Salaries can vary greatly depending on the size of the company and the cost of living in the area the company is located.

5. It won’t be too hard to switch jobs or find another job.

The job outlook for systems administrators is good. Most companies now need a systems administrator in order to function. About 8 percent annual growth is expected as companies continue to grow and need to hire more help in their IT departments.

6. You will need to continue your education.

The IT field is constantly changing, and to keep up with the changes, you will need to keep learning constantly. Many systems administrator jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and some only require IT certifications that provide the skills you need.

While you can learn some of what you need to know outside the classroom, other skills will be best taught by seasoned instructors like those at PC AGE, which provides courses to prepare you for IT certifications that can land you a position as a systems administrator. Contact us about our programs including certifications that could help you get started in a career as a systems administrator.

A Day In The Life of a Network Administrator

IT courses
Network administrators run computer networks and keep them functioning well.

Network administrators are responsible for maintaining computer infrastructures for companies and organizations, with special emphasis on networks. Network administrators may be college educated or have certifications like CompTIA Network + or MCSA that provide the training needed to handle the tasks of a network administrator.

A network administrator’s day may be spent in a number of different ways. If the network isn’t functioning like it should, the network administrator might need to troubleshoot, investigate, and figure out the problem so it can be solved. This can take hours or days, depending on the problem.

For serious problems within the network, administrators may have to work together with security techs or other professionals to get things up and running again. Most days for network administrators are probably the typical eight hours, but on days where the network is down or malfunctioning, overtime may be required.

On days when the network is working well, a network administrator’s day may look something like this:

9:00 a.m.—Check updates that were run the previous night while no one was online, making sure the updates were completed and that the systems continue to be operational.

10:00 a.m.—Conduct a training on an updated software program so that sales reps are aware of the new capabilities of the software and how it will make their jobs easier.

11:00 a.m.—Sit in on a meeting of the board to present a report on the network’s functionality over the previous month, and discuss how the board members would like to see the network upgraded to help achieve goals and objectives over the next 3 months.

12:00 p.m.—Lunch with a colleague to hear concerns and mentor the colleague, who is looking to get promoted.

1:00 p.m.—Look at reports to determine how to improve future network functioning.

2:00 p.m.—Brainstorm applications and software that can be used to make the improvements indicated by the data collected.

3:00 p.m.—Research ways to implement those improvements, looking at possible options and solutions.

4:00 p.m.—Meet with your team to share ideas and get input on more possible options for the improvements you want to make; begin planning a timeline for implementation of the solution you and the team eventually decide on.

5:00 p.m.—Everything is working as it should be, so it’s time to go home for the day.

IT courses
Network administrators need technical and people skills.

One of the great things about the being a network administrator is that there’s a balance between routine tasks (like updating, running tests, and gathering data) and creative tasks like solving problems, making improvements, and conducting trainings.

It’s not far from the truth to say that no two days will be exactly alike, although there will be enough familiarity to develop a routine at least some of the time. In larger companies with robust networks, network administrators will have to juggle many tasks simultaneously, as well as deal with people’s concerns and questions about the network. Contact us about our programs that prepare IT professionals to be network administrators.

5 Ways You’ll Use Your CHFI Certification at Work

IT certifications
Computer forensics and hacking skills are growing needs for many industries and careers.

How would a computer hacking forensics investigator certification be useful in a typical workplace? It seems like something out of an episode of CSI where people need to find the bad guys through their computers or phones.

Believe it or not, CHFI certification can be useful in many different jobs to enhance your skill set so you can meet your employer’s constantly evolving needs. Here are some ways you might use a CHFI certification in your IT job.

1. To figure out whether your network was breached.

IT security professionals and systems administrators can use the skills gained from a CHFI certification to help detect network breaches, should they occur. In many cases, they can also work toward determining who was behind the breach and help law enforcement identify them so they can be prosecuted.

Instead of your company having no idea its security was breached or that customer data was compromised, CHFI-certified staff will have the skills to identify a breach, or hopefully, to prevent or stop it before any information is compromised.

2. To augment law enforcement training.

For police and other law enforcement personnel, CHFI certification can help them investigate cybercrime and catch cybercriminals. Cybercrime is on the rise and law enforcement training has lagged because it is fairly new and constantly evolving.

CHFI certification could help you get promoted to detective or other supervisory positions where greater expertise about cybercrime and data breaches is necessary.

3.  To build a criminal or civil case against hackers, or defend accused cybercriminals.

The CHFI certification may be useful for lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, who may come across more and more frequent cases involving cybersecurity and data breaches. In order to properly prosecute or defend these cases, a thorough understanding of hacking and computer forensics may be needed.

IT certifications
Computer forensics involves gathering evidence to prove that cybercrimes were committed.

4. To ensure that disloyal employees don’t steal information or resources, or to gather evidence that they did so in order to prosecute them.

Disloyal employees could use their access to company servers and networks to steal corporate secrets or give other people access to corporate data and networks. Obtaining a CHFI certification can ensure that your company remains safe, or that disloyal employees who have already damaged company data can be brought to justice.

5. To be sure dismissed employees don’t disrupt the network or any part of the server. 

After employees are dismissed, they may want to strike back at the company by stealing information, data or money from the company. They may also attempt to destroy data or systems. CHFI certification can prevent these attacks or enable the collection of evidence to prosecute them after the fact.

PC AGE can prepare people for the CHFI certification through thorough, interactive courses. PC AGE instructors know just what will be on the exam and how to best prepare professionals for a successful performance. Contact us about programs for CHFI and other certifications that today’s jobs demand.