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What Are Redhat Systems Administrators?

Redhat administrators are systems administrators with expertise in Redhat Enterprise Linux systems. They install, deploy, and configure systems, handle security issues, and perform backup and restoration.

Red Hat certifications are among the most common for systems administrators. ~ BLS

The term systems engineer sometimes refers to a more advanced systems position; however the terms are often used interchangeably. There are opportunities for advancement. Senior administrators may take on various duties including collecting data and conducting trainings. They may be involved with virtualization administration, operating system modifications, and project management. Systems administrators may need five or ten years of experience to move up to senior positions. Some Redhat experts eventually become consultants.

Redhat administrators are employed in a variety of sectors. Redhat cites financial services, health care, government, and telecommunications as industries that heavily use their solutions. A number of educational institutions also use Redhat for their technological infrastructure.

Tech Republic has listed the Redhat engineer certification among the highest paying certs for IT professionals.

Education

The typical entry point for a system administrator is the four year degree though (as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes) lesser levels of education may be accepted if a person has prior work experience. IT degrees are available at the associate’s level; it is even possible to specialize in systems administration. Still, not having a bachelor’s can be a job liability for a would-be Redhat administrator. One recent nationally advertised job posting for Redhat administrator/ engineer noted that six years of experience beyond the stated minimum would be accepted in lieu of a bachelor’s; an associates counted for only one year (as did certification).

Typical bachelor’s degrees are computer science and information science. [Check out a list of accredited Computer Science degrees] Advanced training in security is helpful for some positions. A recent scan of job postings reveals a wide range of desired skills: familiarity with Netbackup and Cisco switches, ability to write shell scripts and Perl, database knowledge. Candidates may need training in Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery.

Both written and oral communication skills are valued, particularly if the job entails documentation or training responsibilities.

Certifications

Systems administrators may pursue certifications to increase their employment options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Red Hat certifications are among the most common for this occupational group. Certification is based on testing -- but not the multiple choice kind. Candidates complete performance tasks. Thus, Redhat certifications can be a better indicator of real-world performance than some other tech certifications, particularly at the entry level.

Red Hat certifications are among the most common for Systems Administrators. ~ BLS

There are multiple levels and types of Red Hat certification.

Redhat Certified System Administrator certification can look good on a first resume; there are additional perks for the person who’s looking to change jobs or attract clients. Earning the certification gives a professional the opportunity to use the logo on business cards. She /he can also participate in the Redhat LinkedIn community.

Initial certification requires a candidate to pass a 2 1/2 hour exam. Redhat does not require a particular training, but does list recommendations (which vary according to one’s background). An administrator can pursue training through a third party if he chooses.

One can find a list of objectives on the Red Hat site -- this is the skeleton of a study guide. Among the objectives are:

  • Managing groups and users
  • Configuring local storage
  • Archiving, compressing, uncompressing, and unpacking files
  • Analyzing text with grep

Later the professional can go for Red Hat Certified Engineer -- this is for senior administrators. There are other certification options that reflect specialized roles, for example, Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator.

Red Hat Administrator Career Outlook and Salary

The mean salary for network and computer systems administrators in May 2011 was $74,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in computer manufacturing, securities, commodities, and other financial investments saw salaries above the norm. 28% growth in jobs for network and systems engineers has been projected for the years 2010 to 2020.

Redhat expertise may increase a system administrator’s earnings. Tech Republic has listed the Redhat engineer certification among the highest paying certs for IT professionals. A 2012 salary survey by Global Knowledge and Tech Republic lists the mean for IT professionals with various certifications. An individual with Red Hat Certified System Administrator status averages $90,068; for Red Hat Certified Engineer, it's $94,363.

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