IT administrators: what they do and what they make


An IT administrator office

Considering a career in IT administration? You’ve come to the right place. So what job options are available, and what’s the average IT administrator salary?

With barely a single facet of modern life not relying on technology in some way (even if you wanted to hire someone to sweep your chimney, you’d probably find them on an app…) there’s a near-limitless professional scope for IT administrators across a huge number of verticals.

IT administration roles come in many forms; as an IT administrator, you might be managing a company’s local and wide area networks, looking after intranet platforms, or supervising databases. A career as an IT administrator can lead to all kinds of high-paying roles, from Senior Systems Engineer and IT Manager right up to CTO. Depending on experience, a senior IT administrator salary can reach double the UK average.

How much do IT administrators get paid?

Charts showing average IT administrator salary in the UK and US

And with the slow and steady rise of automation, IT administrators are likely one of the few truly future proof job options out there; after all, someone has to keep the robots online. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for IT administrators will swell by up to 8% by 2024, with the average IT administrator salary ranging from $47k to upwards of $120k, depending on experience and location.

System Administrator Salary

Average Salary: $60,000 (US) | £25,000 (UK)

Mid-level SysAdmin salaries tend to be lower than other more specialized IT administrator salaries, but it’s still a great place to start, and there are plenty of more senior roles to progress into after cutting your teeth.

This is generally a fairly broad IT role and usually entails overseeing internal servers, installation of hardware and software, setup and management of user accounts, and performing backups and recoveries. Essentially, a SysAdmin is there to make sure their organization’s computer systems are well maintained and reliable.

Depending on the size of the company (and who’s writing the job description) there is often some crossover between the titles of System Administrator and Network Administrator. But strictly speaking, Network Administrator focuses on how the computers working together, while a System Administrator deals with the computer system itself.

If you work for a smaller organization that doesn’t have a large IT department, the role of administrator can get a little blurry; you may also be relied upon to look after networks, install and maintain peripherals, and fix Sandra from Accounting’s phone when she drops it in the sink.

A degree in Computer Science, Web Technology or similar is usually sought after by employers recruiting for a SysAdmin role, and most will also require a few years’ experience administrating computer systems. You’ll also be your organizations’ go-to troubleshooter, so good communication skills — and a whole lot of patience — are essential. Certifications can also give you a leg-up, with Server+, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, and Red Hat accreditations being the most highly regarded.

Network Administrator Salary

Average Salary: $57,000 (US) | £25,000 (UK)

Network Administrators can often progress onto more senior, technically-astute roles such as Network Engineer or Network Architect, which tend to involve designing and building networks, rather than maintaining them. Network Architects can earn up to £60,000 in the UK, and up to $80,000 in the US.

In an increasingly connected world, the role of Network Administrator has never been more crucial. With modern businesses and organizations relying heavily on the interconnectivity of their hardware both to each other and to the wider world, upholding a safe and reliable network is of vital importance.

As a Network Administrator, you’ll be responsible for setting up, configuring and supervising the network, preventing security issues, and managing user access. The larger the organization, the more specific your role is likely to be.

Network Administrator roles often require a degree in computer science or another IT-related subject, and experience with local and wide area networks, routing and switching, and firewalls are often desirable.

While practical job experience is the key factor in getting a higher salary, there are also plenty of qualifications and certifications that can increase a Network Administrator’s value, and help them nail down a bigger paycheck. Vendor-neutral accreditations such as the foundation courses from CompTIA offer a solid base of general network administration knowledge, and you can also opt to get certified in widely-used network service providers such as Microsoft and Cisco.

Database Administrator Salary

Average Salary: $70,000 (US) | £30,000 (UK)

Top-end salaries for Database Administrators can climb to $150,000, with many larger companies such as Microsoft, Home Depot, and American Express paying well over the $70,000 average.

In this digital age, the storage and management of data has become an industry in its own right. Almost every organization will operate a database management system of some description, and if they’re sizable enough, they’ll likely need a Database Administrator to oversee it.

Whether it’s patient records at your local doctors’ surgery, financial accounts at a bank, or registers at an educational institution, an organization’s database houses all of its vital transactional and historical data, and as much, is the backbone of its operations.

A Database Administrator oversees the database, ensuring the security, integrity, and accessibility of the data within. As a DBA you’ll be expected to stay ahead of the curve in terms of new developments, and changes in legislation, that could improve and impact the storage of data.

Usually, a DBA will have obtained a degree in Computer Science and will be expected to have experience with SQL, PowerShell, Linux, and Bash.

SharePoint Administrator Salary

Average Salary: $85,000 (US) | £35,000 (UK)

Depending on experience, salaries for SharePoint administrators can often reach upwards of $100,000. Those advancing into a SharePoint architect role can expect an average salary of $110,000, with the top end of SharePoint pay scale reaching around $150,000.

A web-based, collaborative platform integrated with Microsoft Office, SharePoint is primarily used for document management and storage, but its highly configurable nature means many organizations employ IT administrators solely to manage their SharePoint solution.

SharePoint is employed by about 80% of Fortune 500 companies and boasts more than 200 million worldwide users. With more and more businesses turning to the cloud to store their data and promote communication between their teams, SharePoint usage is only expected to grow; and with that comes increased opportunities for SharePoint administrators.

SharePoint is hugely scalable and can be used as anything from a document sharing area to a full-scale company intranet. Its internal structure can be complex, with a web of pages and sub-sections, and many users requiring different levels of access. This is where the SharePoint administrator comes in.

A SharePoint administrator manages and analyses the SharePoint platform, ensuring it’s secure and up to date, as well as providing support for its users.

Requirements for a SharePoint Administrator role will include experience with major SharePoint versions; either 2010, 2013, 2016 and/or Online. As SharePoint integrates closely with other Microsoft technology products, familiarity with the likes of Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business and PowerShell scripting can be a bonus.

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