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Systems administrator

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Summary of occupation

Systems Administrators plan, develop, maintain, manage and administer organisations' database management systems, operating systems and security policies and procedures to ensure optimal database and system integrity, security, backup, reliability and performance.

Systems Administrators ensure that the design of computer sites allows all components to fit together and work properly, and monitor and adjust the performance of networks. They
continually survey the current computer site to determine future network needs and make recommendations for enhancements in the implementation of future servers and networks.

ANZSCO description: Plans, develops, installs, troubleshoots,  maintains and supports an operating system and associated server  hardware, software and databases ensuring optimum system integrity,  security, backup and performance.
Alternative names: Database Operator, Database Specialist, Database Support, DBA Database Administrator, ICT Systems Administrator, Systems Manager
Specialisations: Business Systems Analyst, Database Analyst, ICT Security Specialist
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

ICT Systems Administrators should:

  • be able to think logically and analytically in a problem-solving environment
  • be imaginative and good at creative reasoning
  • be able to work independently or as part of a team
  • have good oral and written communication skills
  • be able to accept responsibility
  • be willing to continuously update personal IT skills and knowledge
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Working conditions

Systems Administrators work in offices or labs. They usually work about 40 hours a week, but evening or weekend work may need to be done to meet deadlines. Telecommuting (working from home) is common for computer professionals. Although database administrators sometimes work independently, they frequently work in teams on large projects. As a result, they must be able to communicate effectively with computer personnel, such as programmers and managers, as well as with users or other staff who may have no technical computer background.

Like other workers who spend long periods of time in front of a computer, database administrators can suffer eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.

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Salary details

On average, systems administrators can expect to earn between $1 346 and $2 115 per week ($70 000 and $110 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a systems administrator develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 

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Tools and technologies

Tools and technologies used in this occupation may include:

  • Administration software 
  • Configuration management software 
  • Network monitoring software 
  • Network security or virtual private network VPN management software 
  • Transaction security and virus protection software
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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a systems administrator you usually need to complete a formal qualification in information technology or computer science.

The Diploma of Information Technology is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can complete a degree in information technology or computer science, or a degree in commerce with a major in business information systems or business information technology.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

You can work as a systems administrator without a bachelor degree. You will generally require at least five years of relevant work experience in a related field, and relevant vendor certifications may substitute for a formal qualification.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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