The open source career series from FOSSlife highlights the skills and duties required for an array of open source job titles. If you’re new to Linux or open source or just getting started in your IT career, these articles offer insight and information about the many and varied job roles that are available – from straight-up development or operations roles to marketing and project management.
In this article, we’ll look at the role of a system administrator, including general responsibilities, expected skills, and daily duties, and we’ll provide information about ways in which you can learn more and take the next steps on your open source journey.
Let’s start with a general definition. According to Wikipedia, a system administrator, or sys admin, is responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems. Sounds great, right? That broad definition tells us in general terms what’s expected. But what does it mean in terms of specific skills and duties? To answer that, let’s look more closely at those requirements and responsibilities.
According to Field Engineer, “the System Administrator takes care of the user accounts, permissions, access rights, and storage allocations. They offer technical support and troubleshoot any hardware and software problems related to server and storage devices.” Additionally, they may handle issues involving application and server operations. They also research and maintain current knowledge of products and industry standards in support of system maintenance and development efforts.
A sys admin’s role may also vary widely by company, industry, and level of seniority. Generally, however, a system administrator’s duties will include the following:
Other required skills and experience for the position of system administrator may include:
According to Glassdoor, the qualifications may include:
Many training and certification options are available online to help you acquire the necessary skills and experience. Additionally, certification may serve to validate your skills to a potential employer, may result in higher pay, and may be required by some organizations to meet employment qualifications. There are many different types of certifications to consider, ranging from the general to the specific.
Linux Professional Institute (LPI) offers the Linux Administrator certification (LPIC-1) as the first certification in their series. According to the site, this certification serves to validate proficiency in real-world system administration. To become LPIC-1 certified, you must:
The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) certification, for example, is a general competency test aimed at those who are just getting started in Linux system administration or open source. According to the website, the exam consists of “performance-based items that simulate on-the-job tasks and scenarios faced by sysadmins in the real world,” which fall into several broad skill categories:
The Red Hat® Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) site offers a more specific list of tasks a sys admin should be able to perform to meet certification requirements:
You may also want to research and consider specialty certifications in networking, cloud computing, security, or other areas.
You can learn more about becoming a sys admin and find tutorials and practical guidance to help you build or improve your skills in the resources below.
This article was written by Amber Ankerholz and originally appeared on FOSSlife. It is reprinted here with permission. (Image: Mike Kononov, Unsplash)