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UNIX System Administrator Job Description

unix system administrator job description

Do you have an interest in computer systems and an understanding of programming languages?

If so, securing a job as a UNIX system administrator could be the perfect career move for you. This role mainly involves installing, configuring, and maintaining different computer systems that run on UNIX.

You need to be able to work independently and as part of a team to do this job. It is important to make sure your knowledge of UNIX and computer systems remains up to date.

To find out if this could be the right role for you, check out my following in-depth…

unix system administrator job description

Job Description

A typical job description should begin by providing an overview of the company you would work for. The working conditions that go with this job should also be explained. This should include the size of the IT department, the type of contract you would be offered, and the base salary.

There should be a clear overview of the types of tasks you are likely to be charged with. The education, skills, and experience applicants need to have should be explained. There may also be details of the specialist skills and other attributes that the ideal candidate should possess.

Duties And Responsibilities

Your daily duties will be dictated by the type of company you work for and the size of the IT team. However, there are some tasks that you are likely to be charged with on a regular basis. Here are the main duties and responsibilities that typically go hand-in-hand with this role.

Installing and Configuring UNIX Systems

The main responsibility of this role is installing and setting up UNIX servers and systems. You will develop servers and work closely with members of the organization to ensure the systems are working properly. Set up the system architecture, which includes the scripts and back-end databases for specific applications.

Performing System Maintenance

UNIX administrators also carry out routine system maintenance and fix any server-side issues that arise. You will review reported errors and error logs within the system and find the appropriate solutions. This includes making changes to the system source code to make sure it is working reliably.

Creating System Backups

You will regularly perform system backups while following the company standards. These backups may need to be performed weekly or even daily, depending on the needs of the organization. This helps to support data integrity and improve system recovery.

Monitoring System Performance

It is essential to make sure the system is working well at all times. You need to monitor system performance, including daily traffic logs and direct reports. Develop and deploy solutions for any issues you discover during the monitoring process.

Providing Technical Support and Guidance

You will provide users and administrators with technical support on a regular basis. This can include working closely with other developers and helping them to resolve issues. You may need to help install and maintain UNIX-bases programs.

Maintaining System Security

You will identify vulnerable areas of the system and faults to maintain system security. Have detailed knowledge of computer viruses, including how to safely remove them from the system. You will often create new security measures that mitigate the effects of new viruses.

Skills and Attributes

You need to have a lot of technical expertise to do this job and need to keep your skills up to date. There are also certain soft skills that will help you perform your tasks more successfully. Here are the key skills and attributes a successful UNIX system administrator needs to possess.

Programming and coding

You need to have a background in writing computer programs and coding to do this job. Directly work with and interpret the source code of a system. This will allow you to develop special solutions that will improve the performance of the system.

Analytical skills

You need to be able to analyze and interpret large amounts of system performance data. This includes examining error logs and user information.

Communication skills

It is essential to have strong written and verbal communication skills to do this job. You need to be able to explain complex and technical information in a simple way. This can include demonstrating how to install and maintain systems to people with little technical knowledge.

Problem-solving skills

You need to be able to come up with creative and effective solutions to issues with the system. Make quick decisions and select the most appropriate solution for the issue.

Education and Training

To work as a UNIX System Administrator, you usually need to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or information science to do this job. And have experience working with UNIX and other computer systems. If you want to be able to lead a team, you may need to gain a master’s degree.


The ISACA offers a wide range of training programs and special events. This is a good way to meet other professionals and take your career to the next level. Gaining certification shows employers that you have the required skills to do the job.

LPIC-1: Linux Administrator

This course is designed for people who have a basic understanding of UNIX, Linux, and GNU. During the course, you will be guided through maintenance tasks like restoring, rebooting, backing up, and shutting down systems. Once you have completed the coursework, you can take an exam to gain certification.

Entering The World Of Computers?

Well, that’s great news! Why not check out my Computer Programmer Job Description to see if the position would interest you.

If you’re still studying, we have found many useful study guides across the various specialist fields in IT. Let’s begin with your computer programming options such as Computer Programming for Absolute Beginners, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, and Computer Programming: Learn Any Programming Language in 2 Hours, or how about The Art of Computer Programming, the Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science, and Computer Programming: The Most Complete Crash Course all available online in 2023.

Are you considered a bit of a “Math-Whizz,” then try reading up on The Algorithm Design Manual, Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis in C++, and the Computer Vision: Algorithms and Applications, as well as the Algorithmics of Matching Under Preferences, and finally the Practical Discrete Mathematics: Discover math principles that fuel algorithms for computer science to help you excel in your field.

So many fields to specialize in…

Another specialty is computational thinking and data management. We recommend trying Data Management: a gentle introduction: Balancing Theory and Practice, the Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python, and Thinking as Computation: A First Course to begin with, then perhaps try Computational Design Thinking or the Introduction to wxMaxima for Scientific Computations, and of course the Clinical Analytics and Data Management for the DNP, the DAMA-DMBOK: Data Management Body of Knowledge, and the Data Management: Databases and Organizations.

Of course, the basis for all fields starts with Computer Science, for that, we found the Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach, the Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science, and the Comparative Approaches to Program Planning, as well as the Intro to Python for Computer Science and Data Science: Learning to Program with AI, Big Data and The Cloud, or how about Computer Science Principles: The Foundational Concepts of Computer Science, the Computer Science: An Overview (What’s New in Computer Science), and lastly Computer Science Illuminated also available online today.

Finally, don’t forget about the AP Computer Science A: With 6 Practice Tests to help study for your exams!

Final Thoughts

The salary for this role generally increases as you gain skills and experience. If you are starting out with a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to earn around $70,000 per year. This is likely to increase to around $80,000 per year over time.

Gaining a master’s degree and special certification can boost your salary and career prospects. If you excel in this role, it is possible to lead the IT department of a large corporation.

You can also decide to work for yourself and consult for private clients if you wish.

All the very best working as a UNIX System Administrator!

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