Saturday, 12 March 2011


Unlike many other professions, there is no single path to becoming a system administrator. Many system administrators have a degree in a related field: computer science, information technology, computer engineering, medieval religion, information system management, or even a trade school program. Other schools have offshoots of their Computer Science program specifically for system administration.

Some schools have started offering undergraduate degrees in System Administration. The first, Rochester Institute of Technology[1] started in 1992. Others such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Marist College, and Drexel University have more recently offered degrees in Information Technology. Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR) in Pune, India offers Masters degree in Computers Applications with a specialization in System Administration.

As of 2008[update], only four U.S. universities, Rochester Institute of Technology[2], New York City College of Technology, Tufts, and Michigan Tech have graduate programs in system administration.[citation needed] In Norway, there is a special English-taught MSc program organized by Oslo University College [3] in cooperation with Oslo University, named "Masters programme in Network and System Administration." University of Amsterdam (UvA) offers a similar program in cooperation with Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) named "Master System and Network Engineering"[1]. However, many other schools offer related graduate degrees in fields such as network systems and computer security.

One of the primary difficulties with teaching system administration as a formal university discipline, is that the industry and technology changes much faster than the typical textbook and coursework certification process. By the time a new textbook has spent years working through approvals and committees, the specific technology for which it is written may have changed significantly or become obsolete.

In addition, because of the practical nature of system administration and the easy availability of open-source server software, many system administrators enter the field self-taught.

Generally, a prospective administrator will be required to have some experience with the computer system he or she is expected to manage. In some cases, candidates are expected to possess industry certifications such as the Microsoft MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, Red Hat RHCE, Novell CNA, CNE, Cisco CCNA or CompTIA's A+ or Network+, Sun Certified SCNA, Linux Professional Institute among others.

Sometimes, almost exclusively in smaller sites, the role of system administrator may be given to a skilled user in addition to or in replacement of his or her duties. For instance, it is not unusual for a mathematics or computing teacher to serve as the system administrator of a secondary school.

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