Systems Administration lacks a clear and concise definition because the field encompasses such a wide range of technical skills and training in computer operations. The duties of a Systems Administrator (or SysAdmin) vary depending upon the company for which a person works. Most are usually responsible for maintaining and supporting computer servers and other computer systems for the company and generally on a per location level. SysAdmins are also generally responsible for dealing with computer problems resulting from power outages, connectivity issues, and other problems common to every organization.
While SysAdmins are usually not required to do any programming, they must understand how various operating systems and computer languages work in order to troubleshoot and make repairs. In fact, problem-solving is probably the most important skill of any SysAdmin.
Areas of Specialization
Some of the most common certifications that are earned by people on a Systems Administrations career path include several from Microsoft. One is the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST), which certifies that a person is skilled at troubleshooting Microsoft Windows hardware and software. There is also the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification. This one also involves Windows software, but it has to do with the Windows Server System software as well.
Another generic Microsoft certification is the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) which is geared towards either the Server Administrator or the Enterprise Administrator and involves planning and maintaining IT infrastructures. There is also the SharePoint Server 2007 certification. To earn this, a person must be very familiar with Windows SharePoint services, Microsoft .NET Framework, and XML documents.
Aside from the Microsoft certifications, there are many others that people can choose to earn. Among these is the Linux+ certification, which tests a person’s ability to install, operate, and troubleshoot vendor-neutral Linux systems. There is also a Unix certification. The exam for this covers basic skills and administration for Unix systems.