Before deciding to become a System Administrator full-time, you might ask yourself, what is the system administrator salary and what can you expect? And, it is reasonable to research if becoming a System Administrator full-time will be a lucrative career. But the answer is that it all depends on your education, certifications, skills, location, and how many years you’ve spent in IT. In short, there’s no one correct answer.
Another question you might have is, how do I gain some experience as a System Administrator? Let’s answer these questions to understand how to gain experience and how much you can earn at the different job levels of system administration.
As with every career, you need to start somewhere, and the most natural way of learning a new skill nowadays is by enrolling in an online self-paced course. You can learn at your own pace, whenever you have the time, and learn the material when you decide.
At Server Academy, we have courses for students who wish to transition into the System Administration field of work, especially with Windows Server. The courses offered at Server Academy range from the basic beginner-level system administration, showing you how to build your home IT Lab, for example, up to a more advanced level, and teaching you how to use tools like System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to manage systems remotely.
System Administrator Salary breakdown based on different skill levels
Entry Level Salary
You don’t need to be a fully experienced system administrator to start working in the sysadmin field. According to CareerExplorer, the starting System Administrator Salary level for a newbie sysadmin begins at around $22.38 per hour or $46,547 per year. You will enter the system administration field by doing the essential tasks at this level. These tasks are similar to what you can do while learning through a Windows Server course in Server Academy. Typical duties can include (but are not limited to) creating a user, resetting user account passwords, configuring Microsoft Outlook on end-user workstations, monitoring alerts, etc.
In mid-size organizations, a Junior-level sysadmin can be the entry-level system administrator position. The System Administrator’s salary at a Junior-level can increase to $28.03 or $58,312 per year. Junior sysadmins might be doing all the previous tasks at the starting level of a system administrator role, plus Windows Server updates or patch management, installing and configuring a server role, installing a new Windows Server, etc.
These entry-level tasks can be learned when enrolling in our Server Academy courses since you will learn fundamental tasks like Installing and Configuring Windows Server and Active Directory & Identity with Windows Server. These foundational skills are the ones you need to master to earn an entry-level System Administrator Salary.
The salary for Mid-level system administrators starts at $36.01 per hour or $74,901 per year, according to CareerExplorer. At this level, the things you might be doing can be troubleshooting operating system errors, assessing the security of the operating systems and configurations, deploying and maintaining specialized roles in Windows Server like Hyper-V, Storage, high availability of these roles, and PowerShell scripting, among others.
Suppose you aim for a Mid-level System Administrator salary. In that case, you are expected to know all the possibilities of what a Windows Server operating system can do. You have the experience doing the entry-level duties we have described before. After two to three years of working as a system administrator doing entry-level tasks, it can be said that you are at this level of knowledge and experience.
Because learning while working as a system administrator never stops, we at Server Academy have courses that keep on expanding your knowledge, teaching you specialized tools like Administration and Automation with Windows PowerShell, Group Policy & Security with Windows Server, Installing and Configuring Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Installing and Configuring System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and deploying and configuring Windows Server roles like Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, and Windows Server Backups among others.
Senior Level Salary
System Administrator Salary at the Senior-level begins at $46.25 per hour or $96,210 per year. With more than three years of experience in doing all the previous sysadmin tasks and duties described, the Senior System Administrator oversees all computer system operations. He might be deciding which servers and roles will be deployed in which locations, monitoring the health of the Windows Server infrastructure, keeping a high uptime of the infrastructure’s services, and even supervising other System Administrator duties down to the Junior or entry-level positions.
The salary of a Top-level sysadmin begins at $57.95 per hour or $120,526 per year. At this level, you might have sysadmins with more than five years of experience in doing all the previous sysadmin job duties. You will know about Windows and Linux operating systems, appliances, cloud computing, etc.
The Top-level sysadmin might even be in a type of managerial role coordinating the efforts of other sysadmins and deciding which new technologies to add to the infrastructure or which ones to remove to maintain a healthy infrastructure.
System Administrator Salary Average Pay
Overall the average System Administrator Salary, as we can see, is around $75k, with a growth of 6% each year. There’s an increasing demand in this field, and it’s worth investing in your education if you plan to transition into this field. It offers great opportunities at all levels if you come from another industry and is typically the base of other more specialized careers like Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity. It is undoubtedly a rewarding career and a great starting point if you plan to move to another role long term. It is the right choice as sysadmins have great earning potential relative to the study effort they have to put in.
System Administrator Salary Comparison to Other Careers
The System Administrator Salary is comparable to or above other entry-level careers like Network Administrator or IT Support/Helpdesk. With some skills overlapping, you can choose the one you like the most. If you are new to the IT world, have a passion for working with systems, and want to grow your career, a system administrator position is the right choice.
If you are researching online for a career with a good salary, demand, and growth opportunities, becoming a system administrator may be what you are looking for. The benefits are many, every year, there’s an increasing demand, and you will have a bright future if you decide to take the opportunity and start today. You will surely be able to find a job as a sysadmin no matter where you live. Given the average salary, it’s bound to be a rewarding career. Just remember that everywhere where there’s an organization, it will always need the help of a system administrator, no matter if the organization has Windows Servers on-premise or in the cloud.
Of course, there is no guarantee that a nice-paying job will give you a good work-life balance. A system administrator may need to be available after office hours in case something goes wrong, for example, when scheduling maintenance on the weekend, installing a new appliance, or deploying a new configuration.
We hope that this article was helpful and that you feel ready to transition to the IT field. For most of us, transitioning to System Administration has been the best decision when looking back at the beginning of our careers. Being a sysadmin for so many years has been a wonderful journey with fantastic pay, and can be for you too.
If you’d like to start learning today and building your System Admin career, you can start for free with Server Academy.
Sign up free and start learning today!
Practice on REAL servers, learn from our video lessons, interact with the Server Academy community!