How could I become a system administrator?

Professional objective system administrator: These qualifications are in demand

Hardly any other professional field has grown as quickly as that of system administration. The job prospects in this area are extremely good, as there is a shortage of around 41,000 IT experts in Germany. But what exactly is a system administrator?


The job title varies and so there are many other names for the network manager in addition to the system administrator: network administrator, network administrator, system manager, system administrator, operator or even sysop. Whatever the employer calls this professional field, the main task of the administrator is the management of the computer systems. Therefore, he also receives extensive access rights to the system to be managed.

A system administrator plans, develops, installs, configures, optimizes and maintains the IT infrastructure of his company. Special programs for network monitoring make his work easier. For many companies, the smooth functioning of their IT structure is essential in order to survive in the market. Accordingly, network specialists are often rewarded well. But what requirements should interested parties have in order to be able to take up this profession?

Career entry: many roads lead to a job

Does an apprenticeship or a degree qualify as a system administrator? We can only answer this question with an “as well as”. No formal training or examination certificates are currently required. Very few educational institutions in Germany specifically train system or network administrators. In practice, however, most system administrators have completed one of the following training courses:

  • IT specialist
  • IT specialist system integration
  • IT clerk
  • IT technician
  • IT systems clerk

University and technical college graduates can also be found in this profession. Mostly with a degree in computer science, but graduates from other technical / scientific fields are also represented among the administrators. The latter in particular are actually lateral entrants.

However, the manufacturers of network systems also offer such lateral entrants the opportunity to spice up their lives through specialist training courses and certificates. Here is a small selection of the certificates offered:

  • Apple certificates ACTC and ACSA
  • Cisco system certificates CCNA, CCNP and CCIE
  • Linux Professional Institute Certificate LPIC
  • Microsoft certificates MCSE, MCSA, MCTS and MCITP
  • Novell certificates CNE and CNA
  • Red Hat certificates RHCT, RHCE, RHCA and RHCSS
  • Sun Microsystems certificates SCSA, SCNA and SCSECA

It is also possible to have your competence as an expert certified by certain institutions in accordance with DIN EN ISO / IEC 17024 (Cert-IT offers an overview of various certification options especially for IT specialists). However, this certificate is only valid for a maximum of five years. In order to renew it, the system administrator has to prove that he has kept pace with the times and is also able to deal with modern networks and programs.

Practical requirements

As in every professional field, there are technical and non-technical requirements for the admin. Points such as the ability to work in a team, independence, discretion, loyalty, precise and careful work should be a matter of course - they apply to almost every professional field anyway. The technical skills include extensive server knowledge. Microsoft Windows Server and Unix / Linux Server should be known. In addition, a system administrator should of course be able to handle the common database management systems (e.g. MySQL). Knowledge of script programming and the associated programming languages ​​PHP, Java or Perl complete the professional profile.

Salary prospects

The average salary of an IT professional is currently 52,259 euros per year (according to an article in Computerwoche). If the employee has personnel responsibility, the income can rise to 89,000 euros. These are of course only average values, the actual salary depends on your own qualifications and previous professional experience. But the company also has a say in this issue, because the size, location and industry of the company also have a decisive influence on the salary.

Author: Bettina Weiss
Published on December 1, 2014

Tags: career entry, career choice, network administrator, Austria, system administrator, certificates