What is a proper career path for a UNIX administrator?

Posted on 2000-04-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I am UNIX administrator and now I am standing at a crossroad wondering where to go next.   I feel quite stagnant and tired, with nothing  to stimulate me.   As we are facing a lot of new technologies like Java, e-commerce,  Should I continue with my current job or start a new one like Oracle DBA or LAN admin or  Web designer or something else?   Does UNIX system admin must know Oracle?
Anybody can advise me on how and where should I go next? What is the most important for an individual  in this so called knowledge economy?  What we are living for?

Question by:shiqi
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 2722652
What do you enjoy about Unix sysadmin role & what do you dislike?  If you're a
typical sysadm, you'll have responsibility for operational jobs like backups &
user admin, 1st line support, occasional h/w & s/w installs, performance
monitoring & tuning, & a little scripting.  I wanted to get away from the
repetitive stuff & get a deeper knowledge of Unix, so I moved into a system
engineers role.  (I'm a techie, not a "people person", so project management or
team leadership was not really an option!)

IMO, a Unix sysadmin should have basic Oracle admin skills (as you're
responsible for startup/shutdown/backups), plus some LAN admin. If your
company will provide the training, would that keep you happy for a few years?

Do you want to stay with your present company, or would a similar role in
another organisation be enough of a change?

IMO, to be a web page designer, you need strong business & creative skills to do
the outline design; The underlying programming requires technical skills, so
you're in a good position to move that way & make an early contribution while
mastering the other skills.

Good luck in whatever you decide
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 2723133
  You really sounds like you are under stress or something.  Changing caree path is not something that you can just think overnight.  It requires too much effort mentally and physically.  Just sit back and relax.  Think, are you ready (or very enthuasistic) for a change.  How about current job, does it pay you good.  If $$ is the issue, you really have to decide, work for the money, or work for the job.  It's a pretty greddy approach, but hey, that (I think) is quite a factor why we work at the very first place.
  Second approach you could take is, to do something totally different, once in a while.  Perhaps, a fishing trip, gardening, hiking, etc. etc. during the weekend.  Take a week or two off from work once in a while, will actually give youself some time off ffrom the computer room.  That is a big relief sometime. (I do gardening and fishing - and yyep... that;s the time I really put off my mind from bits and bytes.)
  Whatever you wish you are it's really who ever you wanted to be.

  I wish you luck.


Expert Comment

ID: 2724687
I really enjoyed sysadmin when I was doing it, and have thought of it as a career, but I too couldn't see where it would go (managing bigger and bigger networks, I suppose).

I've come to the conclusion that maybe a better way to go is to get into the backend of web sites - db's, servers, etc, and try to get involved in software developement aspects, satisfying my intellectual desires, plus keeping me involved at a nut's and bolt's level.

(I graduated last year and have worked as a UNIX sysadmin, and designing and writing web solutions with java servlets and scripting. I am travelling at the moment, and want to start a 'proper' job again wheen I get home)
Technology Partners: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!


Author Comment

ID: 2725011
Thank you very much for your advice.   I know how to start the next step.  First of all,  I must make a living (or work for money) in order to  bring up children and support my family so long as we don't have a lot of $.    Second,  I should do my best in my current job and  learn as much useful skills as I can even it is not job-related.  I should also start  looking  forward to better career path in the future.   I was told a DBA can get higher payment than UNIX sysadmin.  Is that true?   But I wonder is it difficult for a UNIX sysadmin to turn into a DBA ?   On average, how much does an UNIX sysadmin
 or DBA earn in USA and how much he/she needs to pay for income tax in terms of the percentage of his/her total income?


Accepted Solution

festive earned 150 total points
ID: 2726600
All of the comments are good and helpfull, I will offer mine in the hope that you may also have use for it.
A very smart man once said to me that "if work must interfere with enjoying life, then change jobs!", his philosophy is now my own: find your strengths through introspection, and design your perfect job:
eg Unix Admin/Web Admin for a new ebusiness.

Develop your strengths, overcome your weaknesses, but DO NOT PROCRASTINATE...
if you enjoy (or think you might) web design then start small: do your own page, then do your friends pages, through your network of freinds and colleagues gain business (do it cheap, if you enjoy it, and make money by volume) keep your 9-5 job as a backup until you can break free from its constraints and venture out.

Each day look for web contracts/ government tenders, things that suit your fun-factors, when you either have enough part-time work or another contract , ask your employer about reduced working hours/ working from home, you may be surprised that they support you in your endeavour, and may even become your customer.

I did some value-add for one of my customers and as a result have expanded my skillset in geometric fashion, thus allowing me to grow as a person and a business.

My advice for you is to go-for-it:
the scheme above offers stability and a way to move yourself into whatever it is that you love: dedication and persistence is all that is needed, but it helps to set achievable goals and objectives:

My long term goal is away from Computers alltogether (target time: 15yrs) at which point I will probably be in the US and writing Novels full-time.

Anyway: do not lose hope, you can do it.

Expert Comment

ID: 2773313
DBA/Sysadmin are both roles that revolve around two things: Performance and Perseverance.

I am currently doing Database Admin, Unix Admin and Internet work : yes I do practise what I preach.

I can only speak for Australia (as that is where I am).

Good Unix Admins can earn between 50 and 60 dollars per hour, and DBA's can earn up to $70 per hour (depending upon the state).

Ingres has been good to me, and is a Niche Market in high demand world-wide, but Databases like Oracle can not be overlooked.

Your Skills as a unix Admin will complement your newly acquired DBA skills and allow you 1) Holistic view of both environments and 2) extra marketability due to increased abilities, ie many small to medium firms are unable to accommodate both an admin and a DBA, so your skillset would be the perfect marriage of both.

I wish you luck in your adventure, and remember to have enjoyment as your first goal and let the others follow after; if you are enthusiastic and enjoy your work, people will notice and you will enjoy more of life.

Kind Regards,

Featured Post

What does it mean to be "Always On"?

Is your cloud always on? With an Always On cloud you won't have to worry about downtime for maintenance or software application code updates, ensuring that your bottom line isn't affected.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

My previous tech tip, Installing the Solaris OS From the Flash Archive On a Tape (http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/OS/Unix/Solaris/Installing-the-Solaris-OS-From-the-Flash-Archive-on-a-Tape.html), discussed installing the Solaris Operating S…
Introduction Regular patching is part of a system administrator's tasks. However, many patches require that the system be in single-user mode before they can be installed. A cluster patch in particular can take quite a while to apply if the machine…
Learn several ways to interact with files and get file information from the bash shell. ls lists the contents of a directory: Using the -a flag displays hidden files: Using the -l flag formats the output in a long list: The file command gives us mor…
This video shows how to set up a shell script to accept a positional parameter when called, pass that to a SQL script, accept the output from the statement back and then manipulate it in the Shell.
Suggested Courses
Course of the Month15 days, 14 hours left to enroll

850 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question