5 Key Traits for a Career in Systems Administration
- Ability to Communicate and Collaborate
- Organizational Awareness
- Advanced Technical Expertise
- Pursuing Professional Development
- Flexibility and Problem Solving
There are many essential characteristics of a systems administrator that cover a wide spectrum of personal and professional traits. Despite the unassuming job title, these professionals often face a diversity of challenges that test their mental and physical ability. Administrators are primarily problem-solvers and coordinators, so they need to leverage technical, social and organizational skills on a routine basis. These characteristics can be learned through practice and self-application, but students and prospective professionals should consider the demands of the profession as they prepare for a career.
1. Ability to Communicate and Collaborate
Even though systems administrators are technical experts who are responsible for the performance of computer and network equipment, they also stand at the intersection between the leaders of their organization, personnel from other departments and their team members. Administrators need to understand the various perspectives within their work environment so they can effectively communicate key information and collaborate with non-technical professionals. Strong personal communication ability is also always an asset in administrative roles.
2. Organizational Awareness
Just as administrators need to understand the perspective of others within their organization, they also need a solid grasp on the overall processes and objectives of their employer. Senior professionals often provide advice directly to decision-makers based on their knowledge and experience. They need to at least understand the major factors at play, like financial or logistical concerns, and their potential impact on the entire organization.
3. Advanced Technical Expertise
Above all else, systems administrators are technical experts who are expected to know more about the computer and network systems than anyone else. They are often the go-to person for problems and decisions regarding the organization’s systems, so they need to have a comprehensive and cutting-edge understanding of the technology. While they usually aren’t expected to be completely familiar with the hardware and software immediately, applicants do need to demonstrate fundamental skills.
4. Pursuing Professional Development
A strong foundation of academic and internship experience is a good start for job seekers, but getting hired is certainly not the end of the learning experience. A consistent desire for professional development is one of the most important characteristics of a systems administrator. Continuing education and development also creates opportunities to develop advanced skills to seek specialized careers. Focusing on cybersecurity can open up opportunities as a data security administrator, which has strong career potential in the years ahead, according to Forbes.
5. Flexibility and Problem Solving
Administrators solve problems of all shapes and sizes, ranging from simple cases of operator error to devastating technical difficulties. It’s hard to predict these issues, so administrators don’t usually have a normal daily routine. Adapting to sudden or difficult circumstances is just part of the job. As a senior expert on the organization’s computer systems, administrators need to be able to work under pressure or under demanding deadlines.
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Almost every kind of modern organization, from startup companies to government departments, relies on its computer and network systems to function. Adopting these fundamental characteristics of a systems administrator helps prepare professionals for their pivotal role within the workplace.