Monday, 19 May 2014

Duties of a System Administrator

A system administrator is responsible for the day-to-day running of a computer system. Most of what a system administrator is expected to know is performed only rarely, while only a handful of tasks are performed on a day to day basis. A shrewd system administrator will automate as many of these day-to-day tasks as possible. Automation (using scripting, specialized software, system scheduling or a combination of all three) frees the administrator's time, saves money and mitigates against human error.

A system administrator's duties will vary from one organization to another, depending on factors such as the size of the system, the number of users and the purpose of the organization. Nevertheless, basic tasks remain the same, and as such, a system administrator can move from one industry to another with relative ease.

The system administrator's basic job description would be to install, support and maintain servers and other IT hardware. The administrator must also plan for and respond to service outages and other problems.

The following is an inexhaustive list of the responsibilities and duties of a system administrator:


  • Hardware monitoring (both system and peripherals)
  • Hardware maintenance and repair (usually a call-out to hardware support)


  • System maintenance
  • System performance monitoring
  • System security 
  • Creating file systems
  • Software installation and update
  • Creating backups and ensuring that recovery is fast and accurate
  • Monitor networks and communications


  • User administration
  • Password and identity management


  • Documentation of system and processes

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