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The role of the systems administrator is responsible for the management of an organisations computer systems and needs. This includes the planning, development, installation, configuration, maintenance, support, and optimisation of all computer systems. In some cases, especially in smaller organisations, the responsibilities of a system administrator and network administrator often overlap. However, as a general rule, the system administrator is more geared to the computer software and less on the network. A system administrator may also perform systems programmer responsibilities.
A systems administrator works closely with the systems analysts and programmers in the installation, development, testing and maintenance of the computer systems.
A systems administrator exhibits a combination of capabilities from the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and from the Queensland Public Service Leadership competencies for Queensland Framework.
Within the SFIA profile, the systems administrator has level 4 and 5 capabilities, i.e. enables, ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Refer to the framework for descriptions of the seven levels of responsibility and accountability.
SFIA skill code
SFIA skill level of responsibility
SFIA skills level descriptor
Evaluates the need for analytics, assesses the problems to be solved and what internal or external data sources to use or acquire. Specifies and applies appropriate mathematical, statistical, predictive modelling or machine-learning techniques to analyse data, generate insights, create value and support decision-making. Manages reviews of the benefits and value of analytics techniques and tools and recommends improvements. Contributes to the development of analytics policy, standards and guidelines.
Maintains security administration processes and checks that all requests for support are dealt with according to agreed procedures. Provides guidance in defining access rights and privileges. Investigates security breaches in accordance with established procedures and recommends required actions and supports / follows up to ensure these are implemented.
Ensures that appropriate action is taken to anticipate, investigate and resolve problems in systems and services. Ensures that such problems are fully documented within the relevant reporting system(s). Enables development of problem solutions. Coordinates the implementation of agreed remedies and preventative measures. Analyses patterns and trends.
Assesses, analyses, develops, documents and implements changes based on requests for change.
Queensland Government roles align with the Leadership competencies for Queensland.
Leadership competencies for Queensland describes what highly effective, everyday leadership looks like in the sector. In simple, action-oriented language, it provides a common understanding of the foundations for success across all roles. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 11 leadership competencies required against five leadership streams.
Leadership streams are not connected to a level or classification, but rather reflect the balance between leadership and technical skills required of an individual. Individuals can consider the ‘value proposition’ of roles rather than the traditional lens of hierarchical structures or classification levels. The five leadership streams are:
- Individual contributor (Leads self and does not supervise others)
- Team leader (leads a team and typically reports to a program leader)
- Program leader (leads team leaders and/or multiple areas of work)
- Executive (leads program leaders or other executives)
- Chief executive (leads the organisation).
When developing a role description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
Most staff who works as a systems administrator possesses a degree in areas such as information technology or corporate systems management.
Industry experience or a diploma level qualification are also held in high regard and may be of some assistance in gaining entry to a career as a system administrator. Diploma level qualifications can generally be obtained through participation in a TAFE course.
Learning and development
Development or improvement of skills as a systems administrator can occur in a number of ways.
Courses to increase general knowledge and skill in system administration are readily available through organisations such as TAFE or universities.
 The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management. This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation. Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
 The Leadership competencies for Queensland framework plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms. The competencies can be utilised in talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. The competences can be accessed here Leadership competencies for Queensland