What does a Linux Administrator do?

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A Linux System Administrator is responsible for components from the Linux area, which they maintain, develop and support. They work with both, the client-side and the server-side applications. What does a Linux Administrator do?

The Role of a Linux Administrator

Linux is widely used in computing technology and many mobile phones, web and cloud servers, as well as computers are powered by Linux.

The system offers high stability, high security, and an open-source environment and for those reasons, is often selected to power different computing devices.

Linux Administrator role overview with tasks, skills, background and salary
Linux Administrator – Role Overview

Linux System Administrators (SAs) can be found across all industries and are responsible for the functionality of Linux systems in IT. This professional is a form of system administrator who knows the kernel of Linux very well and as such is present in many companies. 

Linux Administrators are among the most important players in a company and help ensure a proper working day without any problems. If there are problems with the IT structures in a company, important processes are quickly paralyzed and as a result, entire departments can work only to a limited extent or not at all. 

Due to their high level of responsibility and their specialist knowledge, Linux administrators are an elementary component for the success of a company.

Tasks and activities

Responsibilities of a system administrator with focus on Linux
Responsibilities and Tasks

The Linux Administrator is responsible for the company’s local Linux network as well as defining user/access rights and managing them. They also identify any problems and work on solutions by cooperating with the support team and, in the event of major disruptions, plan the projects necessary to restore smooth operation.

A Linux System Administrator is also responsible for the functionality of everyday applications, such as the e-mail system and internal company communication.

They are in charge of managing network servers as well as implementing any hardware or software updates that may be pending. 

Linux Administrators are also tasked with maintaining system security by identifying vulnerable areas within a company’s system and providing or developing protections. They also provide technical assistance, when needed.

What are the tasks of a Linux System Administrator?

  • Responsible for company’s local Linux Network – GNU/Linux installation, management, and troubleshooting
  • Develop, monitor and maintain features for the infrastructure, platform, and applications
  • Maintain and create tools for the Linux environment and the users
  • Keep internet requests inclusive to MySQL, Apache, PHP, DNS
  • Managing network servers
  • Analyze error logs and fixing them together with the support team
  • Planning projects to restore smooth operation in event of major disruption
  • Ensure the functionality of everyday applications (e-mail system and internal communication)
  • Run backups of data regularly and design new stored procedures
  • Maintaining system security by identifying vulnerable areas and providing protections
  • Install the required systems and security tools to provide protection
  • Provide technical assistance when needed

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Skills required as a Linux Administrator

Linux administrators have extensive knowledge in the field of database applications, such as MySQL, Oracle, DB2 or ADABAS.

They are also proficiently able to handle mail systems and have extensive knowledge of at least one scripting language like Python, PHP or Ruby. 

Administrators know how to manage systems, set them up and know the basics of configuration management tools like Puppet.

Besides, they know how to work with Linux and Microsoft servers and are able to express themselves precisely in order to describe errors clearly or to correctly inquire about a respective problem.

List of skills required as a Linux system administrator
Skills of a Linux Administrator

Soft skills include good communication skills, the willingness to work in a team but also a high degree of resilience.

Due to the numerous and sometimes complex problems, an analytical and structured way of thinking is also required.

What skills need a Linux administrator?

  • Have excellent computer science knowledge
  • Extensive Linux System Administration and Advanced Red Hat Unix skills
  • Experience deploying and maintaining databases SQL (MySQL) NoSQL (MongoDB), Oracle, DB2 or ADABAS
  • Ideally, experience with Ansible
  • Experience handling mail systems
  • Knowledge of Scripting – BASH, PERL, Python
  • Experience dealing with virtual machines and containers 
  • Knowledge of how to manage systems and set them up
  • Know the basics of configuration management tools like Puppet
  • Broad knowledge of Windows operating systems
  • Experience dealing with Linux and Microsoft servers


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Educational requirements

There are numerous ways to get into this profession. Along with trained IT specialists, company IT specialists, IT technicians or technical assistants in IT can all become Linux administrators. Of course, the way is also open through academics

A Bachelor’s Degree in the field of Computer Science or Information Technology are both acceptable, though it should also be noted that it is not uncommon for people with other backgrounds to become Linux administrators.

You can either learn the ins and outs of Linux on your own or go through courses and training to obtain certification. This will go a long way to help you out on your path to becoming a Linux administrator.

Check out some options for certification down below:

Linux Administrator Salary

The actual salary for a Linux System Administrator can vary depending on a number of factors such as the company they’re in, location or the position they hold.

Junior administrators can expect a salary of around $50,000 per year. People with a few years of experience behind them can earn a salary of around $74,000 annually whereas senior administrators can earn up to $105,000 per year.

In Germany, a Linux Administrator can earn anywhere between €35,000 and €69,000 whereas, in the UK, the salary range is £26,000 to £58,000.

How much does a Linux administrator make?

Starting salary $50,000
Average salary $74,000
Senior salary $105,000

How much does a Linux administrator earn as a freelancer?

Freelancer rate among freelancers offering Linux Administration services
Average hourly rate of freelancers experienced with Linux

The average freelancer hourly rate of a Linux administrator is  $90/hour. Extrapolated to an 8-hour day, the daily rate is about $720 a day (freelancermap price index – December 2020).

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Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

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By Natalia Campana

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