System Administrator / Network Administrator

  • What is the difference between a system administrator and a network administrator? In theory, for example, system administrators are responsible for the physical and virtual installation, configuration, and maintenance of a company's entire IT infrastructure. In addition to server and PC, this also includes the telecommunications system, printers, projectors, databases and the networks.

    For network administrators, the focus is more on the communication paths that interconnect the individual components and systems. In practice, however, the daily business of network administrators is not just about Wi-Fi, routers, and switches. The activities overlap in many areas with those of the system administrator. Basically, it depends on the requirements of the employer, what knowledge is expected and what tasks and activities determine the job profile in the company. In a system house, more theoretical knowledge and practical experience is required than in a company whose IT department supports the core business. What they all have in common is the relocation of many applications into virtualized cloud environments.

    Activities and requirements

    Administrator definition, often called admins in everyday life, find solutions to problems and develop processes so that any IT problems do not recur or can be resolved faster in the future. The solutions are documented in each case, but if possible also automated. While creating programs or scripts is more of an area for application developers who write and evolve programs, part of them are administrators.

    System and network administrators are often contact persons in first-level support. They support users from various departments, such as marketing and sales for software and hardware issues. They set up workplaces and ensure that all IT systems are coordinated and functioning. For example, if a network fails, it is the network administrator who reboots the server. The support requests are often managed through a so-called issue tracking system, which provides a structured overview of the tasks to be performed. Knowledge in the operation of software such as Jira but also CRM systems are therefore advantageous. In addition, inventorying and ordering hardware is an administrator's job.

    Fields of work and colleagues

    What kind of people a system administrator has to deal with in everyday working life is very dependent on the company. In a system house, he may work a lot with external clients. This is different in a company with a supporting IT department. There, contacts to employees from the company dominate, so there are more opportunities to establish a connection to the people and to help each other. Everyone can learn from each other in a working team. This is an important factor for a positive working atmosphere and good cooperation.

    Entry options into the network administration

    There are several ways to become an administrator. In addition to computer scientists, lateral entrants are very common due to the lack of a formal, structured training path. Many system administrators come from other industries, but have gained a lot of experience within IT. For others, IT topics have been a hobby so far. You have set up many devices and software in the circle of friends and acquaintances. With an affinity to IT and related skills, the employment office can grant a retraining to the system / network administrator and network analyst through a qualification process. The retraining can take the form of a dual education over one to three years, or about a study.

    Software Training

    Acquiring certificates offers a variety of entry-level opportunities that can be used to demonstrate knowledge from a specific area. This is done through training of manufacturers of IT infrastructures, such as Cisco or Microsoft. These of course have different software that a system administrator learns to use and configure in the training. In addition, new versions and options change the software over time. You should always stay up to date and educate yourself through further education, training and self-research. The potential for further development in this area is therefore great. Of course, this depends heavily on the company, because not every certificate is used in every company.


    The profession of system administrator / network administrator is very future-oriented. Most businesses rely on a well-functioning IT infrastructure to ensure the smooth running of their business processes. More and more frequently, the company's core business is not only supported by the IT department but is no longer possible without it, and the IT infrastructure is becoming a business-critical factor. This trend will continue and an end is not yet foreseeable.