As an IT administrator, you’ll be responsible for maintaining the company's IT network, servers and security systems. This role is absolutely essential within any organisation to ensure business continuity – if an IT network fails, the impact on the day to day running of the business can be significant, sometimes catastrophic.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, you'll be responsible for investigating and diagnosing network problems, collecting IT usage stats, making recommendations for improving the company's IT systems and carrying out routine configuration and installation of IT solutions.
On a day to day basis, you might be called upon to help colleagues with more basic IT needs. This will mean you’ll need to share your own knowledge to help others, including setting up new users and managing backup, security and passwords. You're also the company's internet police, monitoring internet and email use.
Typically, most companies will employ one full time IT administrator for every 50 employees.
The skills you’ll gain from working as an IT administrator will help you to move into a wide range of areas within the industry.
You may choose to stay where you are as an administrator in technical IT, or you could move on to work as a technical architect (designing IT systems, rather than maintaining them). Alternatively, if you prefer management, there are chances to pursue a career as an IT manager.
If you’re looking for job flexibility, experience as an IT administrator would enable you to take on part-time work or work from home remotely.
As well as good problem solving skills, the attributes an employer would look for are:
- Strong communication skills
- A working knowledge of IT operating systems, particularly Windows, Exchange and Citrix
- Hands on experience of installing IT hardware and software
- Good organisational skills
- Good time management
You’ll find there’s no single route to becoming an IT administrator, but like many, you might enter after completing a degree in a related subject. This might include computer science, information technology, computer engineering and information system management.
It is important that you also have qualifications in the particular systemsnd platforms the company operates on. Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle are the most widely used technologies in business, so these are a particularly good starting point.
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As the IT industry changes so rapidly, training will be key to your role as an IT administrator. Employers will want to keep you up to date with the latest developments which may involve courses or self-tuition through manuals and information supplied by IT or software companies.
As your career progresses, opportunities to take training in areas that include management or software will increase your level of responsibility, knowledge and experience in the field.
Hours and environment
You’ll find most IT administrators work between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but you may need to work out of office hours when needed. Often this would be to fix a technical problem, carry out maintenance work or upgrade the system, which can’t be easily done during office hours.
The standard industry salary for an IT administrator with experience and qualifications is £28,700. Many IT jobs are based in London, where you could find the average salary is higher.
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