Linux Systems Administrator Job Description

Linux systems administrators play a pivotal role in the strength of an organization’s IT infrastructure. They are involved in installation, configuration, updating, monitoring, and resolving any issues with the system. The best candidates for this position have a minimum of a four-year degree in computer science or a related field and experience in supporting Linux servers in a production environment. Employers also seek applicants who can work for long periods of time in front of a computer and are available to work outside of normal business hours. On-call support and travel are often required of Linux systems administrators.

 

Linux Systems Administrator Duties and Responsibilities

Based on job listings we analyzed, duties common to most Linux systems administrators include:

Evaluate Hardware and Software Technologies

Linux systems administrators evaluate hardware and software to determine the best design and configuration for the production environment in which they are employed.

Identify and Resolve System Issues

They are key in identifying any current or potential issues that might hamper the system’s optimal performance and work to resolve these system problems.

Maintain the System

Linux systems administrators help keep the system running smoothly by updating and upgrading network software and hardware and ensuring that necessary backup is provided for the network equipment configurations.

Attend Team Meetings

Information related to IT changes, developments, and future project needs are shared by Linux systems administrators at production team meetings.

Write Documentation

Linux systems administrators write documentation that will help system users and the systems administration team to utilize the system efficiently and effectively.

 

Linux Systems Administrator Skills and Qualifications

Linux systems administrators are computer-savvy professionals with a mind for analytical problem resolution. Employers prefer candidates with at least a four-year degree, prior work experience, and the following skills:

  • Problem-solving skills – technical issues often arise with the system or servers, and system administrators must resolve these issues as quickly as possible to prevent a halt in production
  • Technical aptitude – Linux systems administrators work with various equipment in the maintenance of systems. This equipment changes frequently so they must quickly learn how to use it, often own their own time
  • Research skills – research is often necessary for Linux systems administrators to figure out how to resolve complex system issues
  • Multitasking skills – because Linux systems administrators work on multiple projects simultaneously while also troubleshooting and resolving technical issues as they arise, they must be able to juggle multiple priorities effectively
  • Interpersonal skills – Linux systems administrators work in a team environment and consult with outside vendors, so they must interact with others in a professional and positive manner

 

Tools of the Trade

Linux systems administrators work in production-oriented office environments and use the following technologies:

  • Configuration management tools (Ansible, Puppet)
  • Network tools (tcpdump, iptables, HAP, Linux IPVS)
  • Linux scripting languages (Shell, Perl, Python)

 

Linux Systems Administrator Education and Training

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is a requirement for Linux systems administrators. A master’s degree is a plus. Employers prefer job applicants who have at least two to five years of experience and proficiency in scripting languages.

 

Linux Systems Administrator Salary and Outlook

Location is the biggest factor that affects a Linux systems administrator’s salary. The average national salary for this position is $70,000. Those at the bottom of the pay scale earn $43,000 annually, while top earners take home $102,000. Bonuses for systems administrators range from $300 to $10,000, and profit-sharing averages $200 to $8,000 annually.

Job prospects for Linux systems administrators are favorable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average growth rate of 6 percent through 2026. Prospects will be most favorable for job candidates with a four-year degree in computer science or computer network and systems administration and who are current on the latest technology, particularly cloud computing.

 

Helpful Resources

We compiled a list of resources that will help you continue to explore a career as a Linux systems administrator:

The League of Professional System Administrators  LOPSA is a nonprofit association that offers its members educational and networking opportunities, a forum where they can receive support and feedback on ideas, and a community where they can discuss issues related to systems administration

Association for Information Systems – AIS members hail from nearly 100 countries and have access to current developments and trends in the industry, information systems conferences around the world, career services, and connection to some of the most renowned information system academics and professionals

Linux Cookbook: Practical Advice for Linux System Administrators – author Carla Schroder provides a collection of tips, tools, and scripts that Linux system professionals will find invaluable. She covers topics such as how to deal with odd devices that Linux hasn’t supported well in the past, building multiboot systems, and handling audio and video

Networking for Systems Administrators – written by Michael W. Lucas, this book guides systems administrators in the task of diagnosing their own network issues. It teaches readers the inner workings of modern networks, TCP/IP basics, the correct tools needed to diagnose network problems and how to properly use them, network troubleshooting, how to see traffic sent and received, connectivity testing, and effective communication with your network team

 

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