What Does a System Administrator Do?
What is a system administrator? Well, look at the title. Administrator of systems. A system administrator takes care of systems.
Now, most people read “system” to mean an individual computer, and think that all asysadmin does is clean viruses off your computer and replace your monitor. That’s not wrong — but it is only one page of the whole story.
A real computing system is larger. Very few computers work just on their own anymore; when you use the web, play a game online, share files with a friend, or send email, you’re using a complex and intricate collection of computers, networks and software that come together to do the job you’re asking.
A sysadmin manages these systems — they figure out how to bring storage from one server, processing from another, backups from a third and networking from a fourth computer all together, working seamlessly. For you.
A sysadmin is a professional, with complex skills, ethical challenges, and a daunting job. Many, if not most, people find computers difficult to use, and sometimes they’re unreliable. Being a sysadmin doesn’t absolve someone of dealing with unreliable computers. Oh, one can dream of such a day, but the opposite is true; no one sees more dead computers in a day than a sysadmin. No one sees them doing truly baffling things, and no one has more stories of computers failing, acting possessed, or even catching on fire.
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