ICT System & Database Administrator

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2018: 10,001 to 25,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $1201 to $1500 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
Brief "IT System Administrators are the data cowboys of the computer world. They maintain networks so that the user community can have unbroken access to the Internet," says an Internet System Administrator.

There are approximately 2,100 ICT System and Database administrators working in South Australia. Employment is mostly full-time with the majority working in the Property and Business Services industry. Most persons in this occupation are males with the main age group between 35-44 years.

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An Internet system administrator is responsible for establishing and maintaining networks that are connected to the Internet. Given their technical capabilities, they may also be known as Internet technicians. They work mainly with network servers, powerful computers dedicated to the task of facilitating data transfer between machines. An end user's PC communicates with a server in order to access the Internet. System Administrators need to be familiar with a diverse range of systems. The majority of network servers are UNIX or sometimes WINDOWS NT machines. Common server software packages include Apache and Squid, both of which act as web servers.

Education Requirements

Relevant industry experience may also be advantageous to gaining entry into this occupation. Approximately, 38% of IT systems administrators have Bachelor degrees, 19% have Advanced Diplomas or Diplomas, 14% have Certificate III or Certificate IV. There are 25% who have no post-school qualifications however it is recommended that you gain the available qualifications to get the best possible chance of employment.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate II in Information, Digital Media and Technology, Certificate III Program in Information Digital Media and Technology (Network Administration), Certificate III Program in Information Digital Media and Technology (Software Development), Certificate III Program in Information Digital Media and Technology (Support), Certificate IV in Information Technology, Certificate IV and Diploma of Information Technology Networking and Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems Technology.

Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Flinders University in the Diploma of Information Technology Networking/ Bachelor of Information Technology, Diploma of Information Technology Networking/Bachelor of Information Technology (Network Systems), Advanced Diploma of Network Security/ Bachelor of Information Technology, Advanced Diploma of Network Security/Bachelor of Information Technology (Network Systems) and Diploma of Software Development/ Bachelor of Information Technology.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at http://www.skills.sa.gov.au/apprenticeships-traineeships or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

According to IT industry representatives, most large organisations utilise the services provided by Internet system administrators and the need for their services does not look likely to diminish. In fact, where once these administrators were largely employed on a contract basis, there is now a shift toward permanent employment according to an Icon (IT) recruitment specialist.

Nature of the Job

Email is central to modern computing, yet few people have any understanding of how it works, transferring information between different and generally incompatible computer systems with apparent ease. It is the system administrator who is responsible for keeping mail transfer agents functioning. According to an industry professional there are many configuration parameters, which must be set to make these programs work properly. As a result, system administrators spend a lot of their time installing, configuring or upgrading these programs. Often, the system administrators are required to spend a fair amount of time using Internet resources to find out how to configure the system and to acquire the necessary software.

Internet system administrators also investigate software or hardware problems. For example, they may have to install new serial port cards, components that enable communication between telephones and computers. If two machines on a network are not communicating properly, it is their job to figure out why. Performing this task requires a detailed understanding of exactly how it is that computers communicate to one another.

In addition, system administrators also configure and monitor routers. These are very robust, special purpose computers that ferry 'packets of information' between one computer network and another. Routers are connected to at least two networks and decide which way to send each information packet based on their understanding of the state of the network. System administrators would generally connect routers using phone lines or ethernet cables (network cables).

Typical Physical Working Environment

Internet system administrators work indoors in an air-conditioned office environment at their company's headquarters. They don't physically have to be at a user's desk to deal with problems. Using software, they can stay at their desks and deal with any incidents or problems from there. They would just telenet into a machine, which is like a virtual console that listens in on the Net and provide services, such as assisting the browser find what it needs.

Typical Occupational Example

The Internet runs on a protocol called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which enables machines to communicate with each other both locally over Intranets and over the Internet itself. Paul says the main component that TCP/IP protocols rely on is IP numbers, otherwise known as IP addresses. These numbers define the location to which a data packet is to be sent. The IP system is the central defining communications protocol of the entire Internet. "So an understanding of the IP system is crucial in this job," he says. If this occupation has your name all over it, then it would be beneficial to have skills in UNIX systems administration and PERL programming, as well as an aptitude for Internet services administration.

System administrators need to have an excellent understanding of how software packages use these protocols to assist in the transfer of data between machines. Should a breakdown in this transfer occur, system administrators must understand the nature of communications protocols in order to isolate the problem and solve it.

Australian Computer Society
Phone: (08) 8363 6660
Email: info@acs.org.au
Website: www.acs.org.au

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online