I've been wanting to become, or at least get on the path leading to the position of a Network or Systems Administrator for almost 3 years now. I've google searched everything I can about it, I've talked with a few admins and others in similar IT fields, I've read books... I've even got a small Debian server going for my home network. I've already got a plan for certs and school, and I'm keen on what types of jobs are out there for getting into the field. I know what I want, and how to get there, so I'm not exactly asking for advice (though I'm all ears should you have any).

However, I can't seem to satisfy my craving for learning more about the job, and the people that do it every day. I've found a few terribly low-traffic and outdated forums on the topic, I've found a few other forums with a sub topic, but it's mostly just their problems. Maybe I haven't found what I'm looking for because I'm not looking for any specific info. I know the general tasks that most admins do every day, I know about working with hardware, both servers and desktops, I have fundamental understanding of networking... I don't know, I just want to hear what admins have to say about their job. Do you like it? Do you hate it? What tasks do you have to do? I know every company has a different name, and different responsibilities to go along with it, so I'm sure that there's a variety of daily items on your to-do list.

I just want to talk about being a SysAdmin and what it's like.


I'm surprised no one has replied to this yet.

I work for a company that employs three people in its IT department, so I'm pretty much a jack-of-all-trades. The three of us do, however, have "specialties", and mine is Network and Server Systems Admin.

First, I'll give you a run-down of our environment, which I think is pretty typical of companies these days. We run IBM servers, all except for one running Microsoft Server 2003 Standard Edition. The odd-ball runs IBM AIX Unix. We use Cisco Systems network gear for all of our routers and managed switches (there are some smaller switches out in people's offices and such, but we don't worry too much about those), and wireless access points. We have 13 locations which are all linked via dual T1's, all serviced by AT&T. To complicate the issue further, we also run a VoIP system (ShoreTel) over our WAN, which means that all locations are running multiple VLANs.

My job is to make sure all this stuff works right. I've been through Cisco's CCNA Bootcamp (though I haven't taken the test yet), which is how I know how to plumb around in the switches and routers, and I've completed training on Microsoft Server products, so I can work with the servers. The AIX box, fortunately, almost runs itself, but I've got a few years of Linux experience that helps me there. I don't deal much with the actually programming of our phone system, though I am responsible for cabling and telephone lines.

The work is very challenging. Since we "do it all", so to speak, every day is a new day. Network and Server Systems Administration is a lot of maintenance work, however sometimes failures occur, which can make the job somewhat stressful. I've always enjoyed very technical work, and this sort of stuff satisfies that need. It's also very detail-oriented (setting up 20 switches using the exact same configuration template, for example), and documentation-oriented (then making note of all the differences between the configurations on those same 20 switches).

I love what I do. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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