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What are the pros and cons of being a systems administrator?

I want to be a systems administrator but I'm not going to go to college straight out of high school.

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david’s Answer

You have to be a precise and logical person and think in terms of the impact you will have, either:

Enhance reliability
Enhance security
Enhance performance
Enhance functional
Maintain or reduce cost and how it impacts the above

What is imperative to this role is change control documents/ roll back and forward / contingency plans and disaster recovery

The pros are - it can be a fulfilling role as you are contributing to either introducing revenue or protecting existing revenue

The cons are - sometime on-call / shift work is required to support out of hours staff

david recommends the following next steps:

Operating system courses
Security courses
ITIL certification
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Timothy’s Answer

Pros: It's an excellent way to go without a formal degree. I recommend taking a few online classes on a platform like Udemy to understand the technology better. "System Administration" is a broad category, so I would choose a few specific areas that interest you. Information Technology will be a hot industry for the foreseeable future. There is a lot of growth potential once you "get your foot in the door."

Cons: Technology changes quickly. You must be prepared to put in the work/education to keep yourself current. If continuous learning is not your thing, this would not be the best career for you.
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Leah’s Answer

You are able to earn certifications online through various websites for various types of software. Different websites such as UDemy, Code Academy, etc. offer courses on tons and tons of different systems. There are also tons of resources online on Youtube or the individual system's website. For example, to learn salesforce, Salesforce has their own website called Trailhead. With that experience and passing an administrator certification test, I was able to work as a Salesforce System Administrator for a small start up.

Getting connected with the roles will come from any kind of networking or outreach you can do. Building that experience with projects or jobs will only help you go further.
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Bubba’s Answer

System Administration is going to continue to be a critical role for companies going forward. I would say there is a tremendous flexibility for learning new programs, job training, job opportunities and there is great diversity in what programs you want to specialize in for your career path.

Some system administrators try to learn every program they can to be very diversified in their experience and education. System Admins can have some stiff requirements for success, and you need to ensure this is a path that fits your love for technology and computers.

Specifically:
1) Technology is always advancing, and you need to be dedicated and passionate about keeping up with current and new trends.
2) Knowing the working of PCs is HIGHLY desirable and learning some programming is also a big plus.
3) You must keep up with your certifications which is how you diversify yourself from others!
4) Being a "people person" is a big plus. Communication is very important when working in System Admin roles. It's not a requirement but being personable will help you stand out.
5) It's generally best to not try and learn everything at once. Focus on 2-3 large programs (Windows Server, Outlook, etc..) and become an expert then branch out to other programs that interest you.
6) Persistence and dedication are key. Hard work will pay off!

Good luck on your journey!
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Pieter’s Answer

I think the entire field of IT is a good choice because there is a shortage of people and compensation is generally good. Twenty years ago, a college degree was a must. Some companies and hiring managers still think that way. Others are becoming more open to modern credentialling, where you gain knowledge and expertise by actually doing the work, and by training through online learning paths and certification from technology companies. You may probably get asked why you took the path you took, and it would be great if you had an answer that describes that you chose the best road for you.
One additional thought is that in the industry there is a big shift towards cloud computing. That doesn't mean that all traditional sysadmin work is going away or that it is not relevant in the cloud. I would just want to make sure that you are aware and that you are going to learn about sysadmin aspects that are in demand, like devops, automation, infrastructure as code, monitoring in the cloud, etc.

Pieter recommends the following next steps:

https://news.linkedin.com/2021/march/linkedin-and-microsoft-skills-commitment
https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/training/
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