Systems administrators are integral members of IT teams, so getting this hire right is imperative. It is their job to ensure the efficient and reliable operation of computer systems and networks within an organisation. Their role involves managing and maintaining various systems, including servers, operating systems, hardware, and software applications. A competent systems administrator is essential for the organisation’s smooth functioning, data integrity, security, and overall productivity of its workforce.
Organisations often classify systems administrators into different levels of support, similar to the first, second, and third-line IT support model. Where they sit within this structure depends on the complexity of the technical issues they handle. Their expertise is crucial in troubleshooting, optimising performance, implementing security measures, and providing technical support to end-users.
This guide explores the key responsibilities, technical skills, soft skills, and challenges of hiring systems administrators.
8 Essential Technical Skills to Look For on a Network Administrator’s CV
Securing the right candidate for the systems administrator role is paramount. Applicants must possess versatile technical skills to handle and upkeep intricate IT landscapes adeptly. The requirements of this role can vary significantly from one company to another. Your tech stack and work environment will influence the specific skill set you prioritise when reviewing CVs. To guide your evaluation process, here’s a compilation of pivotal technical skills often sought after in systems administrators.
Operating systems are the heart of every computer, controlling its functions and managing resources. Familiarity with various operating systems, such as Windows Server, Linux, or macOS, enables individuals to effectively manage and troubleshoot diverse infrastructures. Look for mentions of these specific operating systems on a candidate’s CV, indicating hands-on experience. Proficiency in operating systems is valuable at all levels of systems administration, from basic user systems to complex server environments.
Virtualisation allows professionals in this role to create multiple virtual machines on a single physical server, boosting efficiency and resource utilisation. Candidates with experience in VMware or Hyper-V are likely skilled at optimising hardware resources, increasing flexibility, and streamlining maintenance. This skill is essential for administrators managing large-scale server setups. It holds particular importance at the second and third-line levels, where server infrastructure management is more intricate.
Active Directory is crucial for user management, authentication, and access control in Windows environments. Administrators well-versed in this technology can efficiently manage user accounts, set up group policies, and ensure secure access. A mention of Active Directory on a CV signifies the candidate’s competence in maintaining user systems. This skill is valuable at all levels, as user management is integral across the board.
Scripting using PowerShell, Python, or Bash empowers administrators to automate tasks and efficiently manage system configurations. A candidate’s familiarity with scripting languages indicates their ability to create custom solutions and save time on repetitive tasks. Scripting skills are highly desirable at all levels of systems administration, as automation enhances productivity across various responsibilities.
Networking knowledge is essential for diagnosing connectivity issues, optimising network performance, and implementing security measures. A CV mentioning network protocols suggests the candidate’s ability to troubleshoot networking problems. Networking expertise is applicable at all levels, adapting to the complexity of the systems under administration. Look for mentions of TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP, and VPNs on applicant’s CVs.
Proficiency in cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud is increasingly valuable as organisations transition to cloud-based infrastructures. Candidates with cloud experience can effectively manage cloud resources, ensuring scalability and resilience. Cloud skills are significant, particularly in second and third-line support, where managing cloud infrastructure becomes integral.
Database skills are crucial for maintaining applications and services that rely on data storage. Familiarity with databases like Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, or Oracle indicates the candidate’s ability to manage data-driven systems. This skill applies more to roles where system databases are central, making it pertinent to the second and third-line levels.
Keeping systems up to date with patches and updates is crucial for security and stability. A candidate’s experience in patch management demonstrates their ability to maintain a secure environment. This skill is essential across all levels of administration, as consistent patching is fundamental to system health.
7 Soft Skills That Make The Best Systems Administrators
Beyond technical expertise, mastery of vital soft skills will amplify a systems administrator’s impact within this role. These qualities complement their technical abilities and empower them to communicate, collaborate, adapt, and innovate effectively. In the spectrum of systems administrators, these soft skills serve as the catalyst differentiating the outstanding from the merely proficient.
Strong communication enables systems administrators to bridge the gap between technical jargon and everyday language. This skill empowers them to convey complex concepts to colleagues, end-users, and stakeholders. Clear communication makes for smoother interactions, better teamwork, and clearer problem-solving.
The knack for creative problem-solving lets administrators untangle the most intricate issues. It’s like having a puzzle-solving mindset—seeing patterns, tracing roots, and piecing solutions together—ensuring systems stay resilient and efficient.
It’s all in the details. This skill helps administrators meticulously configure systems and pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. Like digital detectives, they ensure every cog is in place, enhancing system security and performance.
Time management is their organisational superpower. Juggling multiple tasks, from troubleshooting to updates, ensure every job gets its spotlight. This skill keeps systems humming while they tackle tasks efficiently.
Collaborating isn’t just about teamwork; it’s like sharing a code-breaking challenge. Professionals in this field should work harmoniously with colleagues. A collective effort enables them to bounce ideas, share knowledge, and keep systems optimised and resilient.
Systems Administrators are the tech heroes that speak human. Patience and empathy help them assist users of all tech levels. Explaining tech solutions in understandable terms fosters a smoother user experience and builds trust.
Should Systems Administrators be Degree Qualified?
A formal degree should be a flexible requirement for systems administrators. Many professionals acquire relevant skills through self-study, certifications, and practical experience. Relying solely on degrees may limit access to top candidates with extensive hands-on experience and specialised certifications.
5 Unique Challenges of Hiring Systems Administrators
Hiring for this role presents unique challenges that make it different from hiring for other positions. This job needs a mix of technical expertise and people skills, which makes recruiting for these vacancies more complex. Because systems administrators play a significant role in keeping technology running smoothly, finding the right person is essential. Candidates who can handle fast-changing tech, have technical and people skills, and understand your organisation’s tech stack is challenging.
The tech landscape moves swiftly, with new technologies emerging regularly. Staying updated and knowledgeable about the latest trends, tools, and solutions is challenging for systems administrators. Up-to-date expertise is vital in this role because systems are often complex, involving existing and cutting-edge technologies. Discovering candidates who can manage technological advancements and have current expertise can present a significant challenge in hiring.
Talented systems administrators are highly sought-after. Their skills are in high demand, which, unfortunately, can lead to a high turnover rate. With tempting offers from different companies, retaining skilled administrators can be difficult. Such competition leads to the challenge of finding the right fit and keeping employees engaged and committed despite outside opportunities.
Systems administrators are crucial to protecting your organisation’s sensitive data and critical infrastructure. Ensuring that candidates grasp the gravity of security measures and prioritise safeguarding valuable information is vital. The challenge lies in identifying those with technical expertise and understanding the crucial importance of securing digital fortresses.
The IT environments of many organisations resemble intricate labyrinths of systems, networks, and services. So applicants need experience handling such complex setups, technical skills and the ability to navigate various components seamlessly. Finding candidates who can adeptly manoeuvre within these complex landscapes can be a significant hurdle to hiring.
While tech skills are crucial, communicating effectively and collaborating within a team is equally important. As their job is collaborative, they must convey technical matters clearly, cooperate with different departments, and ensure smooth teamwork.
How We Can Help
Working with Adria Solutions, a specialist IT recruitment agency offers several advantages. We deeply understand the tech industry and have a wide network of skilled candidates at our fingertips. This helps make the hiring process smoother and tackles the specific challenges in the tech field. Our approach minimises obstacles and increases the chance of finding candidates who match your technical needs and company culture.
We stay at the forefront of the ever-changing tech landscape with our pulse on emerging trends, tools, and solutions. Tapping into our pool of candidates who are up-to-date and passionate about embracing new technologies. This significantly reduces the challenge of finding candidates with the latest know-how.
Our specialism is IT, so we deeply understand the tech job market dynamics. This specialist knowledge enables us to craft attractive job offers that attract the right people. Moreover, these insights can play a pivotal role in identifying candidates who are skilled and motivated to stay long-term.
We take security seriously and carefully assess candidates for their grasp of security practices and dedication to protecting sensitive information. By partnering with us, you tap into a database of pre-screened candidates who are committed to data security.
We maintain a network of skilled professionals with diverse expertise and excel at aligning them with our clients’ distinct environments. This approach eases the difficulty of locating candidates capable of handling complex setups. We achieve this by introducing hiring managers to individuals with proven proficiencies in analogous technology environments.
It is difficult to showcase effective communication and collaboration skills on a CV. That’s why we conduct thorough interviews that reveal these soft skills. Leveraging our expertise will help you select candidates with technical capability and who can communicate effectively with your team.
The information on this page is correct at the time of publication. However, as technology evolves so rapidly, the requirements of this role may change. For tailored hiring advice unique to your circumstances, please speak to our expert team of IT, Digital and Marketing recruiters.