An individual interested in a career working with computers and computer or information systems often wonders what the difference is between a systems administrator and an information systems technician. While they both work with computers, and both work with information, they are two different professionals. They have many similarities but still have different responsibilities. Learn what these two workers are all about.
What a Systems Administrator Does?
Also called sysadmins, systems administrators are in charge of making sure their organization’s computer systems are running smoothly and well-maintained. They handle backup procedures, perform security monitoring, perform regular checkups, and help set up, delete or maintain user accounts as necessary. They also provide technical support related to computer systems within the company and oversee the work of information systems technicians and computer support specialists.
Systems administrators are in charge of upgrades and installing security patches. Other duties include recommending hardware and software improvements; providing hands-on system admin support; providing operations support and system maintenance; and diagnosing and fixing computer systems problems.
What an Information Systems Technician Does
Information systems technicians work on computer systems, teach clients how to manage computer programs and provide technical support. Their duties are very similar to that of an information technology (IT) specialist, and they’re often referred to as IT specialists or information technologists. They also maintain the secrecy and security of an organization’s data information and may also maintain IT components and equipment. Information systems technicians create and maintain information database systems. They may also take care of networking computers within an organization, including LAN and WAN networks.
How They Differ
Information systems technicians and systems administrators are very similar in knowledge and duties, but there is one major difference. In most cases, the systems administrator is the one in charge and the one that oversees work performed by the information systems technicians. When a problem arises in an organization’s computer system, an information systems technician may be called upon to fix the problem. However, the system administrator is the professional whose job it is to ensure the problem doesn’t come up.
They monitor the company’s system as well as the company’s needs and make the appropriate recommendation. For instance, the system administrator might recommend the company use certain security software and may even install it. If there is a security issue, the information systems technician may fix it, but the systems administrator usually ensures that the problems don’t happen.
A perfect example is a restaurant that hires a cooking staff and a head chef. The head chef (similar to a systems administrator) oversees and supervises the kitchen as well as planning the meals, but it’s the cooking staff (information systems technicians) who do the cooking.
Systems administrators are expected to see a six percent job growth during the 2016-2026 decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics while information systems technicians should experience an 11 percent growth in jobs during that same period. This growth will continue as companies expand their businesses and invest in new technology. According to PayScale information systems technicians earned an average annual wage of $67,464, and systems administrators earned $87,070 as of May 2018.
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With the technology-filled world we live in, computers will continue to play an important role in our personal and business lives, particularly with large companies. Systems administrators and information systems technicians will continue to be in demand to keep computer and information systems running as smoothly, efficiently and securely as possible.