What is the typical role/reasonability of a Jr Systems Admin

Matt_SmiMatt_Smi Member Posts: 111 ■■■□□□□□□□
What is the typical role/reasonability of a Jr Systems Admin?

Quick background on me, I am 23, live near Boston, dropped out of college after two years (so no degree) went to Clark Computer Career institute for 9 mouths, got a few certs then got my first IT job as a field tech making only $12 an hour right out of school, did that for 6 mouths, hated it quit and then got am IBM contractor job doing level 2 desktop support at a bank, pay was increased to $18 an hour, worked that for 8 months or so then got laid off. I am now on my third IT job working as a desktop support/helpdesk tech for a medium sized (300+ person) company and have been here for just about a year, my starting salary was 40k, but after being with the company for 6 mouths senior management gave me a 5k pay raise because they recognized how hard I was working. I was the only helpdesk/desktop support tech the company had for 7 mouths, and I supported everyone, I had very little help or backup, the three other members of my team were always swapped as well, yet somehow I handled it and continued to get praised for my good customer service skills. In June I will have been here for a year and will be getting another raise, which should bump me up to 50k a year, which for my age I think is outstanding, the problem I have is the burnout I am already getting from this role.
So back to the topic, while I was desktop support for the company, I also played windows systems administrator as well, since we did not have one. Here are some of the tasks I am responsible for.


- User account management in AD, creating new accounts as well as off-boarding users
- General upkeep of AD, which means deleting out old computer accounts, keeping things organized into the proper OU’s, creating new OU’s as needed.
- Setup of all new distribution lists and changes to them
- Configuration of security groups and tying them into file shares in order to lock them down.
- Creation of service accounts and tying them to servers
- Dealing with all sorts of rights/permissions issues as trying to make thing secure as possible
- Creating simple GPOs, such as a screen saver lockout policy


And this is just on the AD side, I also maintain several servers, I add any new network printers to the printer server, maintain and update ALL the corporate images for the Ghost server, maintain user profile backups via a Livebackup server. In addition to this stuff I have also headed a few software deployments, most notably Guardian Edge Disk Encryption to the entire company. I also have experience with troubleshooting VOIP phones, Blackberries and even patching jacks in a network closet, the list goes on and on.
I will try to cut this short since it has gone on too long already, so my goal is to get out of desktop support and get into a Jr. systems administrator role and from what I have been told, this will happen next year (the person who was doing desktop before I came into the company was promoted to an Admin), but I also have some doubts because I am so good at desktop from a customer service standpoint they want me to stay there. But I guess the crux of my questions is what type of skills are Jr. Admins expected to know? I feel like I have learned a ton at my current job and have a very good understanding of AD and how a domain all ties together. I don’t want to be stuck in desktop forever, solving “Outlook is slow” issues.

Comments

  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Umm according to your job description you're really already in a Jr. Admin Position even though your job says otherwise. I work for a huge casino/hotel/club and I'm kinda in the same boat your in. I'm an Associate System Analyst and I currently work 2nd shift which is me by myself for this whole big place. I love my job and I try to do things in as much of a resourceful manner as I can so I can also prevent burnout (which I experienced just a few years ago). Sounds like you're ready to move on though I don't thing having a title change will prevent you from doing some of the same tasks you're already doing. Unless maybe the lower down ones such as ghosting.
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  • Matt_SmiMatt_Smi Member Posts: 111 ■■■□□□□□□□
    stlsmoore wrote:
    Umm according to your job description you're really already in a Jr. Admin Position even though your job says otherwise. I work for a huge casino/hotel/club and I'm kinda in the same boat your in. I'm an Associate System Analyst and I currently work 2nd shift which is me by myself for this whole big place. I love my job and I try to do things in as much of a resourceful manner as I can so I can also prevent burnout (which I experienced just a few years ago). Sounds like you're ready to move on though I don't thing having a title change will prevent you from doing some of the same tasks you're already doing. Unless maybe the lower down ones such as ghosting.

    I like what I do, esp. the system admin tasks, and I even do not mind keeping the ghost images up to date. The part that is burning me out is the desktop support/helpdesk part of it. Every time I sit down to try and figure something out, research a product, or setup a server I have someone bugging me for help, by email, phone, in person, ect. I have no problem helping people out, but the constant interruptions and the get this done ASAP attitude that some of my customers have is starting to wear really thin on me. It is very frustrating when I just get into doing something, am focused on figuring it out, then 10 minutes later someone just walks over and **** their broken laptop on my desk, or calls and ties me up on the phone for an hour cleaning up their machine because they clicked on a "resume" that was actually a .Zip file with a malicious .exe hidden inside. This is the part of the job that is burning me out, again all the typical day to day admin stuff I have no problems doing, but I hardly ever have time to do it because 70% of my time is spent doing support. I guess it comes down to the fact that I feel like I am wasting my time and potential when I do support, when I could be learning how to put together a GPO instead.
  • IT ManIT Man Member Posts: 159
    It sounds like you are really burnt out and maybe in need of a vacation. I totally understand where you are coming from. My last job was the same way, we were understaffed on the helpdesk and management still expected us to work miracles. Just like you, I could never focus on anything because folks kept either walking up, calling, or emailing then god forbid you don't get back to them in 30 mins or they calling the VP of IT to complain, not even my direct manager. I think one of the things about working for a small company is that you get to wear multiple hats. The good thing is you get to learn alot an touch alot of different things like servers, routers, switches, etc. The bad thing is, you can get burnt out very easily because you are doing so much. Some people like that environment and having the "keys to the castle" but its not for everybody. I think I would just hang in there another year or so because 50K isn't bad money for your age and you will continue to learn a lot and you can really enhance your resume and leave making 60K or more. Just work on a few more certs maybe the CCNA or MCSE. Unless it gets really bad, then you may have to leave. I had a job doing tech support for a software company and one day this guy was so rude to me I just hung up on him and at that point, I decided it was time for me to get another job. I hope my insight helped some. Good Luck!!
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll still land among the stars. - Les Brown
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    Matt_Smi wrote:
    I like what I do, esp. the system admin tasks, and I even do not mind keeping the ghost images up to date. The part that is burning me out is the desktop support/helpdesk part of it. Every time I sit down to try and figure something out, research a product, or setup a server I have someone bugging me for help, by email, phone, in person, ect. I have no problem helping people out, but the constant interruptions and the get this done ASAP attitude that some of my customers have is starting to wear really thin on me.

    I hate to break it to you, but those kind of interruptions don't go away at the junior or even senior system admin level, it's just the audience that changes. Now instead of users interrupting you, it's managers and other admins. Perhaps if you progress all the way to the architect level where you only do design work the interruptions would lessen or go away.

    My team is pretty good about realizing when I am busy and should not be interrupted, but some times they just can't wait for a better time. I try to remember that 5 minutes of my time may save them an hour or two of frustration while struggling with a problem.
  • Matt_SmiMatt_Smi Member Posts: 111 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well I tried a vacation, took a week off, came back and three days later I felt the same way I do now/did before the vacation, this was about two months ago. You are so right about the response time too! I don’t know what companies these people are coming from but they must be used to 5 minute response time SLA’s, and like you said if they do not get service, then they email their manger asking them to “rattle the cage” which means an email to either my manager or the director of IT. And the job is like a double edged sword, it is a GREAT resume builder, I do get to wear a ton of hats and touch pretty much anything and everything that I want to, which is cool because at my past job I was very restricted in what I could do, which meant I could barely do anything in AD and I could only log into a limited amount of servers, such as the print server, everything else was locked down, so I learned a lot, but did not have a great understanding of the “why” things work as they do, which I have gotten from my current job.

    There are many other frustrations, such as how the senior security engineer makes a six figure salary, yet is out the door everyday at 5PM on the dot, he never helps out with tickets even if they are security related, such as a virus on a machine or problems to do with the disk encryption software, in fact he instead puts in tickets for the helpdesk to do thus creating even more work for us. He never seems stressed out and sometimes spends an entire day fiddling around trying to make something work right on his Windows 2008 machine. Now I can understand that he worked his ass off to get where he is and not have to do tickets and such, but in a company where the helpdesk is TWO people would it kill you to help out once and while? I guess he is used to large companies that have a 15 person desk. The Senior System Administrator will help out on tickets than are beyond my knowledge, or offer his help when we get swapped, which I think is the right thing to do in a small shop. It also kills me that we do not have the budget to hire another full time desktop support person this year, yet we plan to be up to 500 people by the end of this year, with how cheap it is to hire one let just spare buying those two extra 20k blade servers instead, or not hire the 30th project manager that demands an 80k salary, oh wait I forgot they make the company money and we don’t, lets just let the two helpdesk people suffer it out for another 6 mouths, they will be fine, yet see how well the. company does if we decide to leave, who would fix that projects managers laptop when it breaks right before and important presentation to an important client that could mean big $ for the company?

    I may sound bitter but it just gets so discouraging, and its not like I don’t get recognized either, when the IT survey came back many people praised me by name regarding my customer service skills, I know pretty much everyone in the company on a personable level too, but I guess that is not enough, too many people, mostly remote people who call in just treat us with no respect, like we are some call center in India, when in reality it is just myself and one other female running the whole show for 350+ people, yet that new user who just started thinks it is unacceptable that his Blackberry with a number port is not ready after one week of being there, along with his home office setup, aircard, ect.

    And Claymoore I hear you, I hate bothering my boss too much, because I know how it is, he calls users coming up to you “drive by’s”, so whenever possible I try to book out his time in the Calendar. But honestly I would rather have members of my team bugging me that users, at least they can understand my language.
  • SieSie Member Posts: 1,195
    Sorry to hear that its got like this, if your manager cannot help you out then the best thjing you can do is gain as much experience you can from the place and move onto something else.

    Hope it gets better for you and keep you chin up!
    Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools
  • IT ManIT Man Member Posts: 159
    Wow Matt...the way you are talking, I would swear you are working at my last job. It was like pulling teeth to get the server/network admins to help us when we were swamped. Even one guy who got promoted to messaging admin, you think he'd understand since he was "one of us" before. Like I said, hang in there man, at least you are getting recognized for your hard work. Sometimes, you don't even get that. With my job, I had my A+ and Net+ going on. I stayed for about 2 yrs, got my CCNA and MCP and was able to get a job as a jr. network engineer for a larger organization. It was funny when I got here because I am so use to being so busy that now I feel lazy. I get to work on one or two projects at a time, with the occasional interruption from the helpdesk when they have a network related issue. I took what I learned from my last job and used those skills to land my current position. Hang in there buddy...you will see the silver lining soon enough. You still young and have time to grow in this wonderful and ever expanding field.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll still land among the stars. - Les Brown
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Matt,

    I swear we must be working at the same company too. I had to check your location and we're in different states so I guess not. We call those walk-up requests "drive-bys" too. lol

    I'm one of those "Sr. Systems Adminstrators" in the same kind of environment that you speak of. In my case, the director has set up the tech side department so that helpdesk is supposed to be a lot more self-sufficient than I've seen in a lot of other companies, so that the admins and engineers have the time to work on projects. I actually catch flak if I start answering the phone and stuff. My company is the same size as yours, and 2 helpdesk/desktop guys is definitely not enough. We have a "supervisor" over the desktop guys that can do very basic tasks and answer the phone, but is more of a manager, and a temp in addition to the 2 main guys. They run like a machine, but are almost always 100% utilized. They do bring us issues that they can't figure out, but at our company, at some point our IT leadership got support on not expecting the 5 minute SLA crap on things that aren't business critical, and also to enter a ticket in our system for things that don't need immediate attention rather than calling or walking up. Does that prevent the walkups? No, but it does help.

    I would say that you're making pretty good money, considering. You sound like you would be a good jr. admin candidate, either at the current company or a different one.

    blargoe
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • IT ManIT Man Member Posts: 159
    blargoe wrote:
    Matt,

    I swear we must be working at the same company too. I had to check your location and we're in different states so I guess not. We call those walk-up requests "drive-bys" too. lol


    We use to call it "hallway hi-jacking"
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll still land among the stars. - Les Brown
  • malcyboodmalcybood Member Posts: 900 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Matt,

    have you made it clear to your manager in your performance review/appraisal that you would like to progress your career to the next level? highlighted your situation regarding heldesk calls interrupting project work etc?
    a tip I would give is to remember that these stairway conversations that users are having about their machine not working etc are easy to forget right? so is a stairway conversation with your line manager, that's why I always put down anything important whether it be a personal issue or a support issue with an external supplier that I don't want to be forgotten/ignored in writing or schedule an official meeting.

    I've been in your situation and progressed through helpdesk, field eng and now network admin and believe me you still get people interrupting you, maybe just after you have a bit more experience you learn to deal with it better.

    always remember the guy/girl that approaches your desk in a 'rage' that their machine has an issue is prob not taking personal issue with you, they are probably getting heat from their boss in sales or marketing or whatever and trying to **** the stress on you so they tell tails to IT Director (who should back you to the hilt and defend you). politely remind these people about the company wide SLA as per agreed with the business and the procedure for logging a ticket. then advise them if they would like to take issue with this then take it up with the heldesk manager.

    Always remember that you never have to accept someone elses stress which it seems like is what is getting to you at the moment and stressing you out. it may not seem like it now but this will set you up well for the future having great interpersonal skills.

    if you ever get to a solutions architect or consultant level and are presenting a solution to a client, be prepared for the IT Manager that doesn't understand the solution you are proposing and tries to shoot you down at every chance he gets, that's when you'll think back and be happy for the exp you got in this role dealing with an arsey customer base, the IT Manager will be a piece of cake.

    I'd say start with making an official appointment with your line manager for later this week. go in with a structured plan, present your issues, give specific examples and as opposed to suggesting a solution yourself, put it to your manager (that is why the get paid more than you, to manage!) and ask how can we resolve this? then add your comments to their suggestions. if they need to go away and think about it make sure you schedule a follow up meeting to avoid it getting forgotten about.

    good luck and don't let things get to you so much. you know you're doing a great job as do your team.

    we work to live not live to work icon_cool.gif

    malc
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    blargoe wrote:
    Does that prevent the walkups? No, but it does help.

    One client of mine put IT in a different wing of their building and then denied access to the door (proximity card) to 99% of the employees. No more walk-ups. :)

    The next problem was direct phone calls bypassing the help desk. That took a change within IT to stop. They had to start saying "I'm sorry you're going to need to call the service desk to open a ticket first" and forwarding all incoming email requests to the SD mailbox instead of replying... that took the longest time - us IT folk don't like telling customers to "I'm sorry but I can't fix your problem right now, I'm working on something with a higher priority" but it's the only way to run an efficient shop.
  • Matt_SmiMatt_Smi Member Posts: 111 ■■■□□□□□□□
    malcybood wrote:
    Matt,

    have you made it clear to your manager in your performance review/appraisal that you would like to progress your career to the next level? highlighted your situation regarding heldesk calls interrupting project work etc?
    a tip I would give is to remember that these stairway conversations that users are having about their machine not working etc are easy to forget right? so is a stairway conversation with your line manager, that's why I always put down anything important whether it be a personal issue or a support issue with an external supplier that I don't want to be forgotten/ignored in writing or schedule an official meeting.

    I've been in your situation and progressed through helpdesk, field eng and now network admin and believe me you still get people interrupting you, maybe just after you have a bit more experience you learn to deal with it better.

    always remember the guy/girl that approaches your desk in a 'rage' that their machine has an issue is prob not taking personal issue with you, they are probably getting heat from their boss in sales or marketing or whatever and trying to **** the stress on you so they tell tails to IT Director (who should back you to the hilt and defend you). politely remind these people about the company wide SLA as per agreed with the business and the procedure for logging a ticket. then advise them if they would like to take issue with this then take it up with the heldesk manager.

    Always remember that you never have to accept someone elses stress which it seems like is what is getting to you at the moment and stressing you out. it may not seem like it now but this will set you up well for the future having great interpersonal skills.

    if you ever get to a solutions architect or consultant level and are presenting a solution to a client, be prepared for the IT Manager that doesn't understand the solution you are proposing and tries to shoot you down at every chance he gets, that's when you'll think back and be happy for the exp you got in this role dealing with an arsey customer base, the IT Manager will be a piece of cake.

    I'd say start with making an official appointment with your line manager for later this week. go in with a structured plan, present your issues, give specific examples and as opposed to suggesting a solution yourself, put it to your manager (that is why the get paid more than you, to manage!) and ask how can we resolve this? then add your comments to their suggestions. if they need to go away and think about it make sure you schedule a follow up meeting to avoid it getting forgotten about.

    good luck and don't let things get to you so much. you know you're doing a great job as do your team.

    we work to live not live to work icon_cool.gif

    malc






    Thanks for the response malc, this is great advice and I have followed it, but maybe I need to follow up with it once again as a reminder of what path I want my career to take. Basically about 6 mouths ago when we were in the process of hiring the second full time Desktop Support person, my boss offered me the position of being the Desktop team lead and eventually becoming the helpdesk manager (we currently do not have one, nor do we have a req for one this year), I thought about it but I ended up refusing the offer, which was hard because I am sure it would have come with a pay bump, but money is not everything and helpdesk manager is really not what I want to do with my career, I don’t care if it pays 200,000k a year, I want to stay hands on, not go to meetings all day and deal with politics of SLA metrics and who on my team is not closing enough tickets. I basically expressed this to my boss (who at the time was the director of IT) in different terms, he asked what road I wanted to go down and I told him windows system administrator, and he said that in Q1 09 there should def be a position open for a Jr. level windows admin, because the Senior windows admin will have a lot of projects on his plate and need someone to help him out, I told my boss that this sounded like a much better track for me. So instead of promoting my to senior desktop/desktop team lead we hired someone new as a “senior desktop support analyst” with around 7 years experience in desktop support, hoping that she would be interested in staying in the helpdesk role and eventually becoming the helpdesk manager.

    Well she is interested in staying in helpdesk, but there are concerns with her customer service skills and technical abilities, basically I have this feeling that my manager and the director of IT feel that she is not helpdesk manger material. The director of IT often drops hints to me about becoming the helpdesk manager, for example after the survey results came back two weeks ago and many of the comments called me out and praised me by name, and our overall score on customer service was an 8.5, many of this during a period when I was running the whole show alone, he complimented me on it and said something along the lines of “you would have a bright future if you stuck with the desktop support/helpdesk role”. So I have this feeling they are going to try and offer me the role again and sort of push it on my so to speak, they may even say the Jr. admin role is not available so it is either I become desktop team lead or stay a regular desktop support person. And again it is a tough choice for me, because I was the 3th person hired in the IT infrastructure group (we are 10 people now) and of course at 23 I want to say I am the “team lead”, but again in the big picture I don’t want my career to go towards helpdesk manager.

    So I will cut this short, I think calling a meeting with both the director of IT and my manger, or just waiting until my yearly review which is only a mouth away (in July) and brining this reminder up then would be a great idea, I am sure they will bring up what path I want to take during my review anyway, they did last time.

    PS: astorrs, at my last job we got to hide in a “config room” that had key card access locked down to IT and faculties, there were no windows on the doors either, so people had to knock, but would never know for sure if anyone was in there, so we could hide from the end user’s so to speak, and if they did come in the room they had to sign a sheet, effectively proving that they used up a period of our time, and we would always tell them to put in a ticket but they never would. I hate being a mean hardass but often times at my current job during a “drive-by” I say please put in a ticket and then you can come back and I will take a look at it, it’s the only way, because once the issue is fixed they have better things to do!
  • nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    we work to live not live to work icon_cool.gif

    I love this saying. Its funny because i am in the same situation and its coming to the sad point where i am starting to dislike IT, i know its a faze because i dislike uni/work but i know how you feel. But a colleague said this exact same phrase and it always makes me smile.

    Like malc said, make it official and put it in writing or have a meeting. and if it doesnt work out least you've tried.
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    malcybood wrote:
    if you ever get to a solutions architect or consultant level and are presenting a solution to a client, be prepared for the IT Manager that doesn't understand the solution you are proposing and tries to shoot you down at every chance he gets, that's when you'll think back and be happy for the exp you got in this role dealing with an arsey customer base, the IT Manager will be a piece of cake.

    Ah yes the "know it all, yet know nothing" customer. They hire you to solve something for them because they can't do it in house, and then proceed to tell you how you're doing it wrong and what they think the proper way to do it is... icon_rolleyes.gif

    There right up there with the CIO who likes to stay on top of the field (i.e., he reads CIO Insight every day) and wants to immediately implement all the "hot" stuff.

    For example, a company with a stable Citrix PS4 environment serving about 250-500 concurrent users - its totally meeting all their needs, no problems... CIO wants to know how much it will cost to go "VDI", you tell him there is no need, that it won't benefit them at all... he then proceeds to tell you how its the future, etc... Then next week he wants to rip out all the WLAN access points (centrally managed by an appliance) and replace them with "lightweight access points" - his reason, because their cheaper... Consultant: "umm, haven't you already got APs that are working and centrally managed though, that are actually paid for?" CIO: "well yes, but these are cheaper" Consultant: "sigh"

    With that said, some consulting companies dream about those clients... I prefer to maintain a sense of ethics and tell them when I think they're wrong.
  • snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    IT Man wrote:
    blargoe wrote:
    Matt,

    I swear we must be working at the same company too. I had to check your location and we're in different states so I guess not. We call those walk-up requests "drive-bys" too. lol


    We use to call it "hallway hi-jacking"



    I HATE those requests! especially if Im in the middle of an employee termination process or something fairly intensive. You're probably asking yourself...'why the hell don't you get your own office with a lock and key?' I do!! (its the server room) but upper management seems to think that since their key can open many doors, it would be more efficient if they barged in my office without knocking and tell me their elaborate issue to get their MP3 player to work on their computer... icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

    im going to have to steal the 'drive-by' term for my work; and laugh at it myself since im the only guy in the department icon_lol.gif
    **** ARE FOR CHUMPS! Don't be a chump! Validate your material with certguard.com search engine

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