System administration is the field of work when someone manages at least one system. These systems come in the form of software, servers, hardware, or workstations. System administrators make sure everything is running smoothly and safely. In any IT environment, system administration is a solid part of the daily administrator, especially for security efforts.
However, there have recently been some expected changes to the future of system administration. The industry’s changing, requirements are shifting, and security threats are constantly growing greater. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the system of administration.
The growth of the industry
Despite a lot of negative press about how this industry is changing, we can all agree that there’s a greater need for system administrators than ever before. As cyber threats become more of a concern for businesses of all shapes and sizes, more companies and professionals are hiring system admins to fight these attacks.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 12% growth for both network and computer system administrations by 2020. This puts system admins on pace to keep up with other STEM professions. However, that doesn’t mean these jobs are easy to find. System admins are expected to be a jack-of-all-trades of sorts. While you might have only needed a certification in the past, real-world experience stands firm today above all else.
The rise of automation
The biggest threat hurting lower-level system administrators is the rise of automation. As you likely already know, automation is affecting every industry in a big way. While the media often showcases automation as some monster that steals jobs, this isn’t exactly the case. Yes, automation is allowing for fewer system administrators and engineers, but that doesn’t mean these skills aren’t still needed.
If anything, automation makes system administration more necessary than ever. Not only that, but the role is becoming more complex as well. Today, system admins are expected to be pros at automation. This goes back to the jack-of-all-trades comment. Aspiring system admins need to gain familiarity with automation and cloud technology to adapt to these challenges.
Turn from server-focused tasks
Next, we’re noticing a shift away from server-focused tasks. As using the cloud becomes the new normal, routine data operations have changed in a big way. By using the cloud and XaaS, system admins are freed from many of the time-consuming server tasks of the past. However, these tasks are only evolving.
Instead of working with servers, they’re not working on hardware, software provisioning, and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This is a new way for system admins to help businesses navigate their own storage and security. While many companies have to understand their own storage solutions through salespeople from cloud providers, businesses can rely on system administrators to hold higher standards.
Focus on security
Finally, like just about every other tech industry, system administration is taking a focused look at security in the future. Online security is no longer just for big-name businesses. In fact, 43% of cyber attacks today are on small businesses. This means businesses of all shapes and sizes are recruiting system administrators to take the front lines of this fight against cybersecurity attacks.
One way system admins are taking control is through logging and monitoring. By taking a strong role in this maintenance process for existing databases, networks, and programs, they can catch problems and security breaches before they occur (source: https://www.loggly.com/solution/application-logging/).
Are you ready?
How prepared are you for the future of system administration? Change can be a good thing. We see system admins adapting in many ways already, and this is only strengthening the industry. While system admins of today and tomorrow will need to be prepared to learn more and adapt quickly, there are also more tools to accomplish just that than ever before.
Any profession is a way to keep learning. In the system administrator role, you’re one of the key background players in a company’s ongoing success. Let’s meet these challenges together to move the industry forward.