How to Get a Job as a Computer Systems Administrator
Joining professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery can help you to keep up with technological developments. Completing certification programs, such as those offered by Microsoft, Red Hat, and Cisco, can give you an advantage for some positions. Sajith Balan, a network engineer for Microsoft Network Design and Deployment, has a master's degree in computer science and completed certificate programs from a variety of companies including Cisco and Juniper. "That really helped me to get a good grip on the role that I have today. Certifications will help you to get your CV chosen over another," he says. "There are a lot of new technologies that are coming into the market every day, so you have to be conscious of what is happening, and you need to keep learning. Keep your certifications updated."
What is the Job Like?
While some of the most sought-after jobs are in computer systems design, a variety of other organizations employ network and computer systems administrators, including educational institutions, hospitals, banks, large corporations, and government agencies. Almost all administrators work full time, and many are required to work overtime to resolve problems. Work outside of normal business hours may be required to update networks without interrupting the work flow of other employees. "I really want people who can understand a system that they might be responsible for in its completeness, and if there's a problem, do they understand how to troubleshoot it and how to fix it?" says Ben Fried, chief information officer at Google. "You need to have a very complete understanding of the systems you are working with." Part of that means making your own job easier. "The most people can do in computing is to automate the systems that they have to use repetitively," Fried says. "I look for people who, if they ever have to do anything twice, try to automate it."