If you answer the following multiple-choice question correctly, you may just be qualified to be a System Administrator:

You’re at work and you glance at the clock. It’s 11:45 a.m. Which thought goes through your mind?

A: Oh, thank goodness it’s almost lunchtime.

B: Oh no. It’s almost lunchtime.

C: I wonder if I could take that clock apart and reassemble it during lunchtime.

If you answered “A,” you may be 98% of humans. Well done.

If you answered “B,” you may work in a restaurant. Thank you for feeding all of us who answered “A.”

If you answered “C,” you are probably a System Administrator. And if you’re not, maybe you should consider it.

What is a System Administrator (SysAdmin)?

A System Administrator or more specifically for this article, Remote Systems Engineer, is an interesting blend of technical know-how and hands-on ability. Organizations depend on these folks to keep their networks up and running. That means they’re responsible for everything from monitoring and maintaining security, to cooperatively interacting with teammates to troubleshoot network difficulties.

Though IT experience is essential to success as an RSE, the skills needed are a little different than your average IT Specialist. Primarily, RSEs need to be skilled at installing, configuring and updating hardware. Some general job responsibilities include:

  • Carrying out audits of hardware and software
  • Generating and analyzing reports through monitoring tools
  • Familiarity with a wide range of operating systems, particularly Linux and Windows
  • Ability to establish processes and automate them
  • Assessing and monitoring potential security weaknesses

Overall, the System Administrator must be a good problem-solver who can strategically adapt technology to suit his organization’s unique needs.

Want a career that’s a perfect blend of the tactical and technical? Check out this Remote Systems Engineer position with NDTI.

What Do I Need to Get Hired as a System Administrator?

Every employer will have different requirements. Some may prefer an advanced degree in a field like Mathematics, Computer Science or IT.  However, other employers may just require on-the-job experience.  But for any applicant, hands-on experience is key. Generally, employers will want to see evidence of these skills on your resume:

  • 3-4 years of work experience on multiple operating systems and several years of experience on the operating system used by that organization.
  • Experience with strategic system configuration and a clear understanding of how that fits into the broader mission of the organization.
  • Interpersonal skills. Even in a position with a hard science background, System Administrators must be able to build and maintain relationships with customers and organizational leadership (brush up on your soft skills here).
  • Demonstrated ability to problem-solve under pressure.
  • Work experience ensuring that the system meets security standards.
  • Knowledge of infrastructure and process development.
  • Ability to communicate complex information to broad audiences and understand the end-user needs and experience.
  • Developing and implementing security protocols.

The good news is that System Administrators have an easy skill set to carry into any industry or location. So if you’re a fiddler, tinkerer, dabbler, de-builder or re-builder, this may be an excellent career for you. It will capitalize on your natural skills as a problem-solver who loves knowing the ins and outs of a system.

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Caroline's background is in public policy, non-profit fundraising, and - oddly enough - park rangering. Though she once dreamed of serving America secretly in the CIA, she's grateful she's gotten to serve America publicly - both through the National Park Service and right here at ClearanceJobs.