How Much Does A Linux System Administrator Make?
Updated 24 February 2023
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A Linux system administrator manages the functioning of computers running on the Linux operating systems. They handle the support infrastructure, operating systems, virtual platforms and applications. As a Linux system administrator, your salary depends on your work experience and educational qualifications. There is a growing demand for Linux system administrators who have expertise in building, managing, automating, troubleshooting and maintaining information technology (IT) infrastructures. In this article, we discuss the average salary of a Linux system administrator, explore the essential skills to become a systems administrator and share important certifications to succeed in this field.
How much does a Linux system administrator make?
How much does a Linux system administrator make depends on their technical expertise, educational qualifications, additional certifications and any relevant work experience they may have. The average base salary of a Linux system administrator is ₹19,929 per month. The average base salary of a senior systems administrator is ₹5,77,948 per year.
Metro cities have a higher cost of living, so the average base salary in these cities can be higher. For example, a Linux system administrator based in Delhi earns about ₹30,263 per month, while a systems administrator in Bangalore can earn up to ₹36,397 per month.
Related: How To Become A System Administrator: A Complete Guide
Skills for a Linux system administrator
If you want to become a systems administrator, consider developing the following skills:
Administering computer networks and systems requires a critical mindset to spot problems easily, solve them and predict them before they occur. As a Linux system administrator, you can develop your problem-solving approach to tackle complex technical issues. A standard five-step method recommended by experienced system administrators comprises knowledge of the system, observing the problem, deducting aspects that need fixing, taking action to solve the problem and testing the system to ensure that your solution is workable.
Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples
Having good networking skills means knowing how to interpret system codes and programs with an understanding of computer fundamentals and network hardware to provide effective solutions. As a Linux system administrator, understanding network virtualisation along with various types of networks like software-defined vast area network (SD-WAN), virtual LAN (VLAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) can be helpful. Knowledge of virtual private networks (VPN) is also essential, as remote working has led to a demand for increased network security.
As a systems administrator, proficiency in the cloud is necessary, especially with the rise in a global work culture where you may manage multiple networks of servers, each with a unique function. Having knowledge and understanding of cloud architecture can help you better identify the issues in servers and fix them to provide security. Your job also involves tackling issues that come with storing data on the public cloud while ensuring data privacy so that the company data is safe.
Related: What Is A Cloud Architect? And How To Become One
Automation and scripting
Linux system administrators are proficient in automation and scripting processes where they either develop their automation scripts or automate various network administration tasks using pre-developed computer scripts. Knowing how to manage automated processes using scripting is essential for a systems administrator. An example of scripting is login scripts that run every time a user logs in to the network and performs tasks like mapping network drives.
Security and monitoring
With the rise in data breaches, phishing and ransomware attacks, having necessary security and monitoring skills can be helpful for a systems administrator. Systems administrators keep various computer systems, networks and servers secure using essential administration skills. As a systems administrator, you educate users about best security practices while enforcing protocols to address security issues before they appear.
Account access management
Security comprises managing the user accounts to keep them safe. As a systems administrator, familiarity with security protocols, such as two-factor authentication, to overcome poor password practices and ensure accounts security is essential. System administrators are also familiar with account management applications and software that efficiently manage and secure account credentials and passwords.
Mobile device management
Internet of Things (IoT) devices are the most vulnerable devices in a security network. They have a less-than-average in-built security system that can threaten the overall security of a system's network. The risk from bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) can also be a threat to the computer network. Knowing how to resolve network security issues and managing different BYOD and mobile devices to protect them from threats is an essential skill for a systems administrator.
Systems administrators work with hardware and physical servers as much as they interact with virtual interfaces. Your job also involves setting up physical server connections and racks to ensure they are up to date and abide by all security protocols. You may also manually configure printers or set up ethernet ports to manage essential hardware in a system's network.
Related: What Is A Computer Operator? (With Types And Skills)
Systems administrators use Structured Query Language (SQL) to manage databases in a system's computer network. Systems administrators use SQL to develop an application programming interface (API) to exchange data securely and manage structured data with ease. Knowing SQL can help you with database management as a systems administrator.
As a systems administrator, having excellent communication skills can help you interact with many stakeholders, such as your clients, managers, stakeholders, executives and technicians. As a systems administrator, good written and verbal communication skills ensure you communicate your ideas and complex problems in easy-to-understand ways. This clarity in communication can help build people's trust in your ability to express your vision and security strategies effectively.
Good organisational skills can help you effectively manage your daily monitoring, file management, password management, security and software installation tasks. As a systems administrator, you handle various tasks such as managing your resources, files, hardware and software. Keeping your work organised gives you time to keep track of the latest updates and developments in security practices.
Read more: Organisational Skills: Definition And Examples
Attention to detail
The job of systems administrators requires precision and efficiency. As system administrators, you manage massive amounts of data daily, so having strong attention to detail can help you locate hardware, software, or computer network problems and provide efficient solutions to fix those issues. Solving problems requires accuracy and valuable insights that result from focused action and analysis that help avoid potential risks in a computer network.
Certifications for a Linux system administrator
The following certifications can be of help if you are considering becoming a Linux system administrator:
An LPIC-1 certification can give you an excellent understanding of low-level maintenance tasks such as reboot, backup, restore and shutdown. Before registering for this certification, ensure that you are proficient in Linux, GNU and UNIX command to fully understand and implement maintenance basics taught in this certification. Ensure that you are skilled in installing Linux workstations, monitoring access permissions and understanding basic system architecture before enrolling in this certification.
Linux foundation certified system administrator (LFCS)
The Linux foundation certified system administrator (LFCS) teaches you how to install CentOS 7 and XRDP. As a systems administrator, this certification can equip you with professional skills to manage Linux processes, software, storage and services. This knowledge can further help you develop and manage virtual machines and local groups.
Oracle Linux administration certification paths
This certification provides beginner to advanced level skills and training required to manage an Oracle Linux operating system. It can teach you how to install an Oracle Linux, bare Linux essentials, manage system logging, file sharing, storage devices and users and groups. After completing this certification, you can easily describe Oracle Linux concepts, understand and configure the Linux boot process, automate tasks and manage Linux security.
Job description of a Linux system administrator
Here is an example of a typical job description for the role of a Linux system administrator:
We are looking for an advanced Linux system administrator to install, configure and maintain our Linux operating systems. We seek candidates with exceptional problem-solving skills, attention to detail and organisational abilities to take on this role with an open mind. You may be a perfect fit for this job role if you are persistent in your efforts and are always keen on learning about the latest updates and developments in Linux operating systems and computer networks. As a Linux system operator, your role is to design, implement and monitor the infrastructure.
maintaining and developing all Linux infrastructure technology to deliver 24x7x365 uptime service
providing systems administration-related solutions for various projects and operational needs
maintaining best practices for managing services and computer systems across all environments
monitoring system performance and capacity planning
managing, coordinating and implementing software upgrades, patches, network hardware and workstations
a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems or related field
experience working as a Linux system administrator
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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