It is generally recommended that every organisation has one full time IT administrator for every 50 employees and you'll come across IT job vacancies in all kinds of companies with this job. But what do they actually do?
Putting it simply, IT administrators are responsible for a wide range of admin tasks which keep the company's IT network, servers and security systems in good health.
So, what will I actually be doing?
This job includes investigating and diagnosing network problems, collecting IT usage stats, making recommendations for improving the company's IT systems and carrying out routine configuration and installation of IT solutions.
You'll help employees with some of their more basic computer needs, like setting up new users and managing back-up, security and passwords. You are also the company's internet police, monitoring internet and email use to make sure everyone is behaving.
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The finer details...
Most of the time you'll work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday but you may need to work out of office hours when needed.
It's an office-based role, but you'll do regular circuits of the office seeing to various users' needs.
There are part-time jobs out there if you're looking for job flexibility. You may also be able to work from home if you can get online.
Money, money, money
The average industry salary for someone with some experience and qualifications is £28,700.
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The good points...
Your skills will equip you for a move into many types of IT jobs. If you want to stay on the technical side, you could pursue a career as a technical architect, but if you enjoy the people management side of the job you could focus on becoming an IT manager.
...and the bad
Expect to work over-time or unusual shift hours occasionally as you might have to fix a technical problem or to do some maintenance work to the IT systems without disrupting daily business.
Is there study involved?
There's no single path for becoming a system administrator. Many IT administrators have a degree in a related field: computer science, information technology, computer engineering, information system management.
To be successful you'll probably have worked in a similar position previously, either as an IT administrator or in technical support.
And you'll certainly need relevant qualifications in the IT systems you are going to manage. Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle are the most widely used technologies in business so these are the probably the best qualifications to get and most professional courses will be centered around them.
Training is really important in the fast-moving IT business and employers are usually very proactive about offering you training.
You'll need to keep up with all the latest developments in the IT packages your company uses. Because of the practical nature of IT administration and the information provided by the IT companies you'll often be able to teach yourself from manuals or can learn from other experts in your IT department.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
You'll need to be proficient with IT to get started as an IT administrator. The other essential skill is problem solving because as soon as the network goes down you'll need to swing into action to get it fixed as quickly as possible as downtime is very costly for businesses.
When applying for a job, these are the skills to play up on your CV or in an interview:
- Confident communications skills
- Good knowledge of IT operating systems, especially Windows, Exchange and Citrix
- Hands on experience of installing IT hardware and software
- Good organisational skills
- Good time management