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 capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
Within the SFIA profile, the systems administrator has level 4 and 5 capabilities, i.e. enables, ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Works under broad direction. Work is often self-initiated. Is fully responsible for meeting allocated technical and/or project/supervisory objectives. Establishes milestones and has a significant role in the assignment of tasks and/or responsibilities.
Influences organisation, customers, suppliers, partners and peers on the contribution of own specialism. Builds appropriate and effective business relationships. Makes decisions which impact the success of assigned work, i.e. results, deadlines and budget. Has significant influence over the allocation and management of resources appropriate to given assignments.
Performs an extensive range and variety of complex technical and/or professional work activities. Undertakes work which requires the application of fundamental principles in a wide and often unpredictable range of contexts. Understands the relationship between own specialism and wider customer/organisational requirements.
Advises on the available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to own specialism and can make appropriate choices from alternatives. Analyses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets. Assesses and evaluates risk. Communicates effectively, both formally and informally. Demonstrates leadership. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse objectives. Takes all requirements into account when making proposals. Takes initiative to keep skills up to date. Mentors colleagues. Maintains an awareness of developments in the industry. Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous operational improvement. Demonstrates creativity, innovation and ethical thinking in applying solutions for the benefit of the customer/stakeholder.
SFIA Skill Code
SFIA Skill Level of Responsibility
SFIA Skills Level Descriptor
Specifies and applies appropriate analytical techniques to create information which supports business decision-making. Formats and communicates results, using textual, numeric, graphical and other visualisation methods appropriate to the target audience.
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 Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types:
- Individual contributor (manages self)
- Team leader (manages individuals)
- Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
- Executive (manages program managers)
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 Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth. The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. See http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf