System Administrator
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This course describes 6 different positions in the cloud computing industry, all of which are in high demand as established companies move to cloud technologies, companies expand IT departments, and new companies form. There’s great opportunity for fulfilling work with great pay. Overall it’s a great time to be in the cloud computing industry (which is rapidly becoming the IT industry).


Earlier in the course, I introduced sys admins as ground keepers. They're responsible for keeping various IT systems up to date and working. Traditionally, we expect the sys admin to be the one managing accounts or configuring your email, but things are changing these days. Now this may mean automating infrastructure using cloud providers and some programming to glue it all together.

Sys admins must know how to maintain many different kinds of systems. This talks about understanding operating systems. Linux admins should know the major distribution families like Red Hat or Debian, also Bash or Shell Scripting goes without saying. Windows admins should be equipped with PowerShell as well. Now, also expect experience working with different virtualization technologies, container technologies, configuration management, and cloud providers. Now, something actually has to run the applications so expect to touch many different technical domains as a system administrator. Sys admins tend to be quite unfortunately the lowest paid position in the course. They also overlap a lot with the next two positions. Now, you may find entry-level positions, but be prepared to start doing different kinds of technical work as you progress in the field. There are also useful trainings to prepare entry-level workers and help experienced professionals climb the ladder. However, much of the ladder climbing comes from years in the field. You've got to grow that beard somehow.

Linux admins should target trainings for the desired distribution. You can find trainings and certifications from the major vendor. Microsoft is no different. You should compliment these with trainings in specific technologies like Docker or cloud providers like AWS. My advice is to first pick a Linux distribution, choose a configuration management tool, and then a cloud provider. These three different areas will kickstart your journey to a sys admin position. The sys admin position tends to overlap with a DevOps engineer or site reliability engineer.

These two positions tend to focus more on implementing and running entire systems. Sys admins tend to focus on maintaining systems. I'll leave you with some questions for perspective employers or your current colleagues to better understand what exactly it means to be a sys admin. The next lesson covers the two positions with the most variety, DevOps engineer and site reliability engineer.

About the Author

Adam is backend/service engineer turned deployment and infrastructure engineer. His passion is building rock solid services and equally powerful deployment pipelines. He has been working with Docker for years and leads the SRE team at Saltside. Outside of work he's a traveller, beach bum, and trance addict.

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