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Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty
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Have You Hugged Your Sysadmin Today?

Celebrate System Administrator Appreciation Day by showing some gratitude toward the IT pros who do it all.

The last Friday of July is System Administrator Appreciation Day, so be sure to take some time today to honor your favorite administrator in style. If you're not sure what's appropriate, the SysAdmin Day website recommends cake and ice cream, pizza, cards, gifts, words of gratitude, balloons, confetti, streamers, and "custom T-shirts celebrating the epic greatness of your sysadmin(s)." You could also sing this geeky-cool rock ballad crowdsourced by Spiceworks to the admin of your choice.

In truth, the term "sysadmin" is used a little broadly, and can sometimes conjure thoughts of the guy in the wiring closet who sets up email accounts and unjams the printer. In fact, System Administrator Appreciation Day actually was inspired by a Hewlett-Packard ad for laser printers. It depicted a sysadmin receiving flowers and gifts from his grateful co-workers. Sysadmin Ted Kekatos had just installed several of the printers at work, and he decided to create an actual day when the scenario in that ad could play out.

That was in 2000. Today's sysadmins do much, much more, and the folks at SolarWinds set out to quantify that. They surveyed system administrators about the duties they actually perform and found the most common were: troubleshooting IT problems (89%); monitoring system performance (87%); and answering technical queries and assisting users (85%). A range of other responsibilities also rated highly, most having to do with system and network performance, as you can see in the infographic below.

SolarWinds then compared the average salary of a sysadmin to the amount a company could potentially spend to staff all of the functions a single sysadmin typically performs. They estimated a business actually saves $612,000 per year per sysadmin, assuming it would hire a full-time employee for each function performed. Clearly, that's not a realistic assumption, and the calculation is a bit exaggerated. It does, however, serve to make the point that sysadmins are highly versatile employees providing exceptional value to the workplace.

And the responsibilities listed here may not be giving some sysadmins -- especially those working in large organizations -- quite enough credit. I know of many IT pros with the title of system administrator who deal with technologies like virtualization and cloud administration on a regular basis. The sysadmin may seem like a bit of a catch-all title, but maybe that's happened because they really can do it all. Give those people a T-shirt!

 

Susan Fogarty has almost two decades of experience writing and developing content for IT professionals, especially those deeply involved in enterprise network infrastructure. She previously worked at TechTarget, where she spent 11 years, six as the Editorial Director of its ... View Full Bio
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Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 11:29:53 AM
Not like The IT Crowd
Thank you Susan for your praise of Sysadmins.

Just to have a bit of humor on their day I'd like to share a short clip from the IT Crowd. I believe the show is available on Netflix.

 

MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2014 | 11:45:01 AM
SysAdmin Day song
That song is hilarious Sue! Pretty cool that the lyrics were crowdsourced. 
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2014 | 11:50:45 AM
Re: Not like The IT Crowd
Thanks for sharing the clip Pablo! I've heard a lot about this show, but hadn't actually seen it. I'll have to check it out!
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 1:33:51 PM
Re: Not like The IT Crowd
Marcia, I believe the show was on in the UK from 2006-2013, and they did a pilot for an American version, but then it was cancelled.

If you like British humor it is really funny (and sometimes very accurate)
rjg0002
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rjg0002,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2014 | 1:53:11 PM
Re: Not like The IT Crowd
Happy SysAdmin Day! LOVE this show! IT Crowd was a huge inspiration for Digium's SysAdmin day campaign this year. Check out the graphics here. bit.ly/1rvX6mf 
AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 12:17:58 AM
About those salaries
I always wonder where salary numbers come from.  Whenever I hear someone comment on posted figures like this, the reaction is almost always that they're way off.  I know that big cities can skew figures, but I almost wonder if long-time workers have more to do with the strange figures. 

I worked at a fortune 500 company where there was credible discussion about how new-hires in a particular department were making exactly half of what the longterm workers were making.  There also appeared to be no reasonable expectation that the new-hires would ever reach the same salaries (adjusted for inflaction) if they stuck around long enough.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 11:07:04 AM
Re: About those salaries
AbeG, I guess my reaction to the average salary cited in this infographic ($61,000) seemed low compared to the typical Network Computing reader, who is probably at a fairly advanced level. Maybe I am being too optimistic -- do you think differently about that?

Your story about new employees being paid half is similar to what I have experienced in my profession. BUT, the improbability of increasing to what current senior people make is horrible. Talk about a demotivator :(
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