What Does The 2015 State Of The Sysadmin Survey Say About Your Career?

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2015 State Of Sysadmin SurveyIf you’re a sysadmin, there’s a good chance you fall into one of two camps. Either you feel appreciated and well-liked within your organization, or you believe most people within your business simply see you as a walking band-aid for their technical problems. Unfortunately, as it turns out, there really isn’t a whole lot of middle ground there.

At least, that’s according to IDG Enterprise’s 2015 State of the Sysadmin Report. Released last month, the researchers behind the report surveyed administrators across a number of different industries to determine how people saw the field over the course of the year – and to predict how perceptions might shift in the future. We’ll be going over a few of the report’s findings with today’s piece.

Let’s get started.

A Distinct Lack of Recognition Defines The Sysadmin Role

What IDG found was that although most sysadmins care a great deal about their job, coworkers don’t necessarily share their enthusiasm. Even though 95% of sysadmins are passionate about their work, only 28% feel they’re being recognized for their contributions to the company. This becomes even more distressing when one considers that 68% labeled their role as ‘extremely important’ to their organization, and 32% labeled it as ‘very important.’

In other words, there’s not a single sysadmin out there who doesn’t see themselves as a linchpin in their organization. Unfortunately, as it turns out, very few of them are treated as such. This is, says IDG, because…

People Still Don’t Realize The Job’s Strategic Value – Even In IT

Allow me to toss a few bullet-point statistics at you:

  • 23% of sysadmins have no role in technological development or innovation. Instead, they’re simply responsible for managing IT systems.
  • Only 21% of admins believe maintenance is their primary role. 76% feel that they’re of strategic import to their organization.
  • Employees don’t share this perception – 20% of non-IT staff see sysadmins as strategic, and 66% believe they exist to troubleshoot problems.
  • Even IT isn’t immune to this logic – 60% of a sysadmins IT colleagues believe them to have no strategic merit to the organization. Only 30% recognize the importance of the role.

Troubling, isn’t it? Even though the role of the sysadmin has changed drastically in recent years(along with pretty much all of IT), enterprises still need administrators. If anything, modern sysadmins are now even more geared towards innovation and development than they were in the past.

“I think the role will primarily be the same with the exception of having to be better coders,” administrator Gregory Greenlee explained to Biztech Magazine. “With everything now being offered in software, I think the days of a sysadmin who can’t code are close to over. Networking is moving into software, infrastructure is already there so there will be a need to know coding in order to be able to automate these pieces”.

“As companies move towards the DevOps structure,” he continued, “sysadmins will have to be more development minded rather than an infrastructure person to be able to communicate better with developers to build a scalable and manageable production environments.”

Luckily, Perception Doesn’t Pay The Bills

There’s one more piece of news for us to touch on from the survey – one more insight. Turns out that employee perceptions don’t really have much of an impact on salary. Although the survey did find that admins who made more money view themselves as strategic assets, it’s not clear whether this is as a result of their salary of an influencing factor in it:

  • Of administrators who made $75k a year or more, 86% viewed themselves as strategic assets, and 35% of coworkers agreed.
  • Of administrators who made less than $75k a year, 69% thought of themselves as strategic assets, and 27% of coworkers agreed.  

Probably safer if we don’t draw any huge conclusions. You can download the report here.

Image: Flickr/mightyohm

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