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Career as Administrator vs Programmer

O’Reilly Books by mightyohm

I remember almost a year ago I googled for article about this. I’ve been a system and network administrator for more than two years in medium sized company, dealing with Windows Servers, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, Firewall, and VMWares.

Then, for an unknown crazy reason I applied for a programmer position in one of the biggest software house in Indonesia. I was accepted and suddenly had a dillemma of choosing to stay as an administrator or to shift career as programmer.

Being a good information age generation, I looked for what other people’s opinion in online forums. Some are pros for career in sys and network administration, and some others are pros for career in software development.

To be honest, they made me even more confused. But I finally made my choice.

Now after 8 months of work as Java EE programmer, I want to share about what I know about these two IT careers. Please note that I don’t think one is superior than another although during this article I may be a bit inclined to software development career.

It’s Not The Career That Make One’s Success

Like most of the fresh graduates I know, I used to think that success is closely attached to one’s career. That some careers are naturally better than the others. However, through time I realized that this thought is not true.

There are successful administrators and there are successful developers. On the other side, there are also unsuccessful administrators and unsuccessful developers.

What makes the difference?

It’s The Person With The Right Career

In the online forums that I found those who are pros of each side listed the reasons why one career is better than the other. They all speak from their experiences and observations.

Some of the wiser members, however, posted that one should ask himself about what career is more suitable to him rather than only looking for the salary number or future overseas outsourcing trend.

Why I chose what I chose

I accepted the work as programmer and I don’t regret it a bit. It’s not because I don’t like the work as an administrator, but because I enjoy the process of creating something so much.

Making something has been my passion since I was a kid, and now I enjoy making software in every step.

So what should you choose?

Ask yourself this question,

“Will I excitedly wake up every morning to do this career?”

Some of my work colleague said that they actually don’t like coding and it’s really sad. I think they are not only waste their time here, but they also waste their life.

For me, someone can only achieve his greatest potential when he does what he really enjoy. And since life is not as long as we always think, choose a career where your passion is.

62 thoughts on “Career as Administrator vs Programmer”

  1. Martin says:

    Interesting article, I am in same situation, I must choose to learn as programmer or administrator. I will learn 2 years basics for both professions, and then 2 years profession I choosed.

    1. djitz says:

      Martin, thanks for the comment. Hopefully you will choose the profession that fits you. God bless! 😀

  2. mark says:

    i am in a similar situation,i must choose between network admin and java EE( mostly web development)
    however , i worry about the job outsourcing, i think i like java web development better, what i fear is that if i learn java EE really well,and then dont find a job then i cant just switch and concentrate in networking because i would be unemployed,
    so with the Oracle acquisition of Sun, do you think the job market for java EE developers would change? or not?

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Mark,

      I still believe that Java EE will still be around for many years to come. It is indeed a vary mature technology supported by IT Company giants (IBM and Oracle).
      And also considering that many company have invested their money and time in Java EE, I don’t think they want to switch that fast to other technology.

      Regarding your job opportunities, I believe it depends on where you live. Outsourcing may be a factor, but companies are always looking for the people who master their field, and I believe these kind of person will not be affected by outsourcing.
      Also think about advancing to the management level immediately because sooner or later we don’t want to be always in the technical level.

  3. dan says:

    There are also people who does both programming and System administration tasks. I am working as Linux Consultant, but at same time I work with a team of developers on a few Perl and C based projects, that does not have any negative impact on my performance as some people would think, in fact it even makes me have more understanding about both careers.

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Dan,

      It’s really great for someone who can do both programming and sys admin work. I believe you are a great value for a company if you are good at both.
      However, in some company the work description is already set and developers and administrators are in different group and different responsibilities, so we may need to choose either of them. 😀

  4. Paolo says:

    Hi Djitz,

    Paolo here from the Philippines. Very nice article you have here. It is very true that one really needs to know his or her passion before deciding on which career to choose. I also agree that some forums or too much info on the net sometimes make things more confusing or complicated. Right now, I’m on the same crossroads. I work as an IT Operator and would want to specialize either as a programmer or administrator. You mentioned that a programmer is more of a creator, what about a administrator? Is the nature of the job more of a troubleshooter?

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Paolo,

      Yes, I believe the work nature of programmer is creating programs, be it a new software or new features of existing software, though sometimes also include fixing bugs. While administrator may sometimes setup new server, most of the time the job is around maintaining and troubleshooting servers and network.

      For both career, as the experience is build up, one may proceed to the designer position, that is software designer for programmer and system or network designer for administrator. Also one can probably become a project manager in both career.

      My suggestion is to try work as both so you can personally know which one is the best one for you. Besides, when you have experience in both, either which of the career you want to pursue further you will have advantages. A programmer that knows how network and systems work can produce a better software, and an administrator who understands the programming logic and algorithm can create efficient scripts to do the job.

      Nice to hear your comment too and I hope you will choose the one that will make you happy. 😀

  5. Jen says:

    Thanks for this. I have been in System Administration for 15 years. I have someone willing to take a chance on me and allow me to learn java development. I am very nervous doing a career change at this age. But I feel I need a challenge. But I am very scared I won’t be able to excel and will let him down. Do you feel if you have a good tech mind you and drive to work that you can learn development? I’m so scared to fail.

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Jen, I’m glad you find my blog post useful. 😀

      In your case I guess it’s really a risky situation because you’ve spent so many years in Sys Admin, and the world of sys admin and programming requires quite different thinking approach although both require good logical thinking.

      I’m not really sure about your programming background so far, but at least for me I need almost two years to understand how to think systematically like a programmer. But that’s probably because I don’t have any prior programming experience at all.

      Rather than shifting career to programming totally maybe you can try to ask that person if you can participate in the java development partially, so you also have a chance to see if you like programming or not. 😀

  6. irma says:

    hi djitz, I’m waiting for graduation. now I’m really confused to find work that matches my character and my ability. I like programming, but I’m not sure how my coding skills are not object oriented. On campus I also learned the course of system administrator. From the course that I get, it seems pretty cool job too. But I’m also still doubt whether job is the right choice for me. Just an info I’m a woman, and a lot of IT work, including this two jobs is mostly male workers. If possible, can you explain in more detail about the difference of these two job? so I can be more understand. Thanks before 😉

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Irma, congratulations for your soon graduation!

      First, regarding your gender concern, actually I’ve seen some women programmers, and in average they are better than men (sorry guys..). I’ve seen some women administrators too, but not many.

      Regarding the job difference, basically programmers design programs, code them, fix the bugs, implement the programs, and repeat the cycle. On the other hand, Administrators design computer infrastructures, install and manage servers, fix server errors (read: restart servers), and repeat the cycle too.

      What programming language do you know? If you don’t know any object oriented language, I suggest you learn one because these languages are more in demand by the market.

  7. irma says:

    I see.. I know some programming language such as Java, C, VB, PHP.. ‘N i know the theory about OOP.. but i’m not used to it and tend to code like what i want.. i know it’s not good and i want learn to change my habbit..

    I’ve already decided to apply in 2 different company, the first one as programmer, and the second one as sys admin.. That’s for my experience, although maybe they won’t accept me, but i still can know what kind of job they offer and i have experience of getting interviewed..

    Thx for ur explanation, i appreciate it so much 🙂

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Irma,

      Programming can only be learn by practice. Considering you know several languages and OOP theory is good enough, the next thing you need is to have more programming experience to get better. Don’t worry too much about not coding according to the best practice, you will find out that in the real-world probably more than 70% of the company doesn’t follow what is ideal too. (But don’t take it as an excuse to do that.. :p)

      One more thing I forgot to mention, if you’re interested in software development career, there is another job called Business Analyst. I’ve seen more women in this position, probably because it is not too technical as the Programmer, and also probably because women are better when it comes to listening what the client wants. 😀

      It’s my pleasure to help you and whatever you decide to choose, God bless you! 🙂

  8. Brantar says:

    Thanks for the article, djitz. I am a sophomore in a private high school and have been interested in computers since around the 5th grade. I am a teachers aide with the IT admin at my school who has been a lead designer of networks in the past, most notably: Motorola, Military, and hospitals.

    I am going to be writing a research paper soon on which job field I want to go into. I need have a specific field. My choices are between programming and system administration.

    I enjoy sys admin mainly because I am good at it thanks to my teacher. But I am also interested in programming because it is a)challenging and b)utilitarian. If i went into programming I could work on cool side projects too (open source projects). I am more of a creator than a maintainer. Which career path do you think would give me more fulfillment?

    Coding: utilitarian, challenging, creativity, innovative.
    Sys admin: easier, structured, guidlines.

  9. djitz says:

    Hi Brantar,

    I’m really glad you find my blog post useful for you.

    It sounds to me that you love to create things too. In that case you will feel a lot more satisfied if you become a programmer, because you will create things everyday.

    To certain degree, an administrator will also need to design and ‘create’ (setup) servers and networks. But it’s usually not an everyday job.

    As I’ve said in some of the comments earlier, whichever career path you choose, it’s always better to know something from the other side of the two career. 😀

  10. Brantar says:

    I am going to write my paper on programming then. After even more research I am fairly certain that is what I want to do, but I’m leaving room for doubt 😀

    The most programming I’ve done is about 120 total hours in the past 2 years on the Scribbler Robot using python for a regional competition. Do you have any resources or projects that I should look at to get me started outside of robots? (android, desktop, web)

    1. djitz says:

      @Brantar, that was a great experience you have. 😀
      I’m not sure how you program the robot, but I believe you are very familiar with different data types and logic of programming.

      To be honest, I actually recommend learning good programming practice and algorithm, because these are the basics of computer science. Unfortunately, I don’t know yet where you can learn these things outside of college.

      Between android (mobile), desktop, and web, if you’re just starting maybe you want ride the wave of mobile development hype nowadays. Because everything is still just starting, so everyone is (almost) at the same place. So one will quickly become an expert compared to on the desktop and web development.

  11. psi says:

    There actually is not much of a difference in these positions depending on where you work. There are vastly different jobs that share the same title. The environment that one works in will dictate the daily tasks that one must perform, not the job title.
    There is even a book called “Automating System Administration Using Perl” by O’Reilly, also called “The Otter Book”, which I think highlights the issue that the two are naturally related.

    System Administrator as a Programmer

    Often times while working as a system administrator I have come across a system that was set up inefficiently using OTS (“Off The Shelf”) tools / programs. Having my knowledge from programming allowed me to write custom scripts to tie these products together in a way that made more sense to our team. This is often not a one-time fix because as soon as one starts customizing things and succeeding in making a better work environment, co-workers will start thinking how else their jobs could be easier and what programs would be needed to those ends.

    Programmer As System Administrator

    While working as a programmer, if something goes down and it can’t be fixed, you can help by writing test programs that can be used to isolate the cause of the problem. As well, if you are a programmer that knows how a system works efficiently, then guess who your team is going to have managing their bug-tracking software and the failover setups between them?

    Both of these really are assuming that one is working for a team where you are required to do more than one simple job function. Generally these types of jobs are more prevalent in start-up companies, or small companies, or anywhere where the management staff are also programmers / admins themselves. As well, places with small budgets that can only afford to hire 2 or 3 people full-time and pay them well enough to keep them.

    Anyway, the point is to look at the job position the same way you’d look at a Manual Page of a command if you were an admin or the same way one would study and refer to API specifications if one were a programmer. Do you let the title of the Program or the name of the Operating System determine whether or not you involve yourself, or do you look at the consequences of involvement, namely the daily tasks involved in a position as determined by those who have made the position available in the first place.

    Just my .02. I know this is an old thread, but I thought this POV was worth throwing in there as well.

  12. Mauricio says:

    Hi djitz, awesome article. Maybe i’m late to post a comment, but your article just fits my situation and I felt the need of posting.

    I always loved programming and making fun stuff with C++ and C#, but I got a job as PHP developer, using the cakephp framework. Here we have a sys admin, and i really love what he does and all this linux stuff (yes, I know a how to operate in linux), but as a sys admin he uses commands to solve almost everything.
    I’m REALLY bored, and to make things worse my boss just don’t say anything about my work and what I do. Often i find myself thinking about working in other area or company

    I’m really inclined about deciding to be a sys admin. Although I was thinking that maybe the problem is just being a PHP programmer, not being a programmer itself.
    Maybe hearing someone who has passed through this, would help me.

    Hope that you answer me here.
    Again, thank you for your awesome article and congratulations for finding your way to programming, specially in Java (which is cool).

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Mauricio,

      Thanks for posting your comment! 😀

      I will try my best to give you advice. Actually it’s really hard to tell which career is best for us till we tried both for quite a time.
      If you feel bored with your current job as PHP programmer and you are interested to become a System Administrator, you may want to try find the Sys Admin job if possible. This way, you can decide for yourself which one you like most. Because I believe till you tried something, you will always have the question ‘What if I tried it?’. 😀

      Or you can also try to find other job as C++ or C# programmer if you are more interested in those two programming languages.

      Basically now as I’m studying Master of Computer Science, the programming languages are just the tools and it’s always good to know programming in different languages because it gives us richer paradigm. 🙂

  13. Mauricio says:

    Yes, languages are just tools and basic operations are just the same in all of them.

    Talking about my job, i really need to think about it and decide whether I will quit and find a sys admin job or stay here, or either find another job as a software/game programmer. As you said, we need to work on these areas to see which one is “the best”.

    Thank you very much for your advice.

  14. Jeet says:

    Hello djitz, it’s very useful article to me.
    I am a fresher of a polytechnic. I love programming(C,C++) & currently undergoing a certificate course on it.
    But in meanwhile I got a Network Admin job in a reputed IT company. I have no idea what the job would like be! Are any programing skills required for this job? Is there any job mixing both programing skill & networking?

    1. djitz says:

      Hi Jeet,
      You can google for the job description of a Network Admin. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t involves any programming skills at all, it requires you to understand the concepts of computer network and probably a bit of network security as well. But sometimes network admin also work as system administrator at the same time, and if it’s unix system, you will need to know some shell scripting.

      The job that requires both programming and network knowledge is probably to work as programmer for the maker of switches and router. 😀

  15. Mark says:

    Thank you so much for this lovely advices

    I will graduate after 3 months BSc ICT, I loves the Software Development but im so worry that is becouase i done alot of programming courses, JAVA, ASP.NET, ORACLE, C++

    But i’m really worry about which of these i should go ahead with it, I have seen alot of people talking about the JAVA !, onething more about if iam worry about i dont feel that i am good coder, is it becouse i m not working or practice these Programming Languages ?

    I thank you so much for your time

    1. djitz says:

      @Mark, you’re welcome.

      The advantage of knowing Java is there is a good demand for Java programmer everywhere, so you won’t having a lot of trouble finding jobs. While learning C++ is really good because it requires basic concepts of data type and programming. Knowing Oracle is also good because it is the database widely used in big companies.

      If you think you’re not a good coder, don’t too worry now because it really takes a lifetime to become a good programmer. The most important question rather, ‘do you enjoy coding?’.

      And if you love software development and you want to work in the field, programming is not the only option. You can be software tester, database administrator, business analyst, or project manager. 😀

  16. Kiran says:

    Hi, I have two years experience as a system admin but wanted switch to programming. Its not that I dont like system admin job, but it was like doing the same task again and again. Recently I did a java course, but still I am getting calls only for system admin. For java usually companies ask for 1 or 2 years experience. I confused, and also not sure whether I will like the developer job or not even if I get one. Should I continue searching in java or should I join as an admin and ask for internal posting?

    1. djitz says:

      My suggestion to everyone is always to try experience working as both admin and programmer so that they can decide themselves which one is better fit for them. The downturn is you will need to start your career back from bottom again and ‘waste’ the years you’ve worked as admin. But when I decided to take the job as programmer, I thought to myself, “It’s better that I wasted 3 years, rather than spend the rest of my life not knowing my potential in software development.”

      Now, three years after, I can say that I’ve made a life changing decision. 😀

  17. raj says:

    hi,i am be(bachlor in engineering) with electronics and comm stream 2011 pass out i have seen ur articles and comments and really liked it,actually i am getting a job call for system abmin and i want to clear that i dont like programing so what shud i do…what will be my future in respect of position and salary in both field…which one will be better in respect of salary

    1. djitz says:


      I think you’ve mentioned yourself that you don’t like programming, then I suggest don’t take the programming career path. As in any career, the salary depends on which industry and company one works for. My suggestion is to not work for the salary, but find the career where you enjoy most. 😀

  18. Deepak says:

    hi dijitz, i m btech 4th yr student and wants to do i want to know about system administrator.what should i do after doing RHCE and is it equally good as programming languages.which one is better for salary and future growth.

    1. djitz says:

      For career growth, I believe programmer have better opportunities than system administrator (I might be bias).
      For salary, it depends on company and industry you’re working on. For me, salary is not the most important thing, I believe if you are passionate about something, you’ll be good at it, and the money will follow. 😀

  19. omar salim says:

    Hi djitz ….I am 20years old and studying Bsc Computer Technology…the link to the units we have is this…

    I became CCNA certified when I was 19years and I did very well in CCNA but have never had the chance to apply my knowledge anywhere since I started university two months after getting my CCNA… I love networking(especially designing/improving networks)…. I believe doing CCNP will get me far in the kenyan job market since IT is catching up very fast in kenya… I’m pretty good at networking (I believe so) but since i started university I haven’t had much time to polish up my networking….

    my problem is that when I started university we learned programming and it got me so excited…we have done basics in C, C++ and OOP … I have never created a meaningful program (just the solve area kind of programs) mainly because I don’t know how to (determine the libraries/ classes needed for a program). we are doing data structures and algorithms, systems development, systems engineering and Java this semester…

    I am quite logical in my way of thinking and have always loved learning how things work and how I can improve them, experimenting, research and development…my dream is to be able to create things/solutions to make the world a better place and to contribute greatly to the whatever field I work in…

    I don’t know which field to go to…which one has more room for growth (i.e a field that has room for new developments and has alot of ongoing research )… I have taken a huge step in the networking field with CCNA and can get CCNP in less than 6months… I love programming to, but I have never created a meaningful program…


    1. djitz says:

      @omar, It’s very nice to hear from someone in Kenya. 😀

      Although it’s always wise to see what the market need, It still goes back about what you love to do. Because we will put more effort in the field we like most.

      If you believe you can get CCNP soon, then go for it. But employers are also looking for real world experience, and not only certifications. Though definitely it can gives you certain advantage.

      Regarding the career path, I believe software development gives more options, though again depending on the country and companies it might be different. And don’t worry about never created a meaningful program, you can start it slowly, or do it on your spare time. Creating software is a lifelong journey. 😀

  20. Amit says:

    Hi djitz,

    I am working as System Admin from past one year. I have also done courses in Java and other programming languages. Now I want to go for software development job as there is no good salary growth in this job as compared to programmers. please suggest me shall I move to programming?

    1. djitz says:

      It all depends on what your career plan is. If you have chance, then you may want to try to work as programmer and see which you prefer better. 😀

  21. Michael says:

    Hi all from NJ, USA………….

    I have worked in Network and System supporting for my whole career. I am now working as System Engineer installing, debugging, and configuring third party software applications for the company on Linux servers. I study Java 8 years ago for my career in Computer Science.
    I want to go back to programming because system and network administration have become a career of 4 in 1 person (companies want a person to do specific SAN technology, DBA, Administration, networking, programming etc etc) plus extra hours. I decided tgo for .NET and C#, but I am not sure if I should go for JAVA? Please advice?


    1. djitz says:


      In your case I think it’s too risky to shift to programming career, because you will need to start over again. And trust me, in programming, the number of years in experience makes the difference.

      When you mention that you do the job of 4 people, I’m guessing you’re working in a small to medium company. It’s good to know more than one thing, but the job can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to get another job in bigger company where they really differentiate the Administrator responsibilities, and you can capitalize on your years of experience, rather than learn ‘yet another’ technology.

  22. omar salim says:

    Thanks, we are learning several languages now (some outdated like vb 6 as a reference language for application programming (event based programming) )

    I will focus on programming and do my CCNP after I finish my University course… can you advice on materials I can use to ease the task of learning? and how can I get programming experience in an environment where employers trust ready made software from abroad?

  23. Sanjay says:


    I am working as a L1 sys admin in a large firm.. The job which i m currently doing is not adding to my knowledge.. so i m thinking of moving towards sql administration or dev.. since admin actually does not get much of client side visit (Generally for Knowledge transfer viz.. for short duration) dev do get much of opp for long stay from what i have seen or exp… I may me wrong .. but still i m confused whether to choose sql admin or dev considering long stay at client side.. I do have a bachelors degree in information tech.. and have basics to intermediate knowledge of most of the lang like T-sql , java, c#, c++..Please suggest what should i go for sql admin or dev.. And its really nice blog.. GR8 job..

    1. djitz says:


      That’s one of the reason I move to development, because to develop software, one needs to have frequent contact to client and learn the business process. But after several years, this is not necessarily true. We must proactively seek to learn the business process, and a lot of programmers can just be good at programming the software but never understand the business. My point is, it depends on ourselves, Administrator can learn the business process too.

      Database admin is probably one of the stable IT job out there, and also with a very good pay. Usually it will also require the admins to understand about the business because they need to maintain the valuable data of the company. Personally I feel that I don’t really like being DB admin, because I like to create things. 😀

      I maybe bias, but I usually suggest people to go for development career, or at least try it. Because usually it’s easier to jump from developer to administration, than the otherwise.

  24. Muhammad Dawood says:

    Hi djitz,
    I hope u r doing well and fine. It was a very interesting article, I learnt alot from it.
    I am going to graduate in one and half year, and I am a bit confused which path to choose. I am good in everything till now, and I am sure I am capable enough to do programming, administration, database, and networking. But I am not sure which one to go with. One thing that I am sure about is that I love computer hardware, giant computers, storage systems, virtualization, different operating systems like Solaris, FreeBSD, Linux etc. I am obsessed with computer hardware, and big computer systems, as I said before. So I don’t know how would I survive without seeing big computers, I’ll be bored to death staying away from those computer systems, and setting infront of one screen all day. I also like programming, but not the usual type of programming, e.g. developing frontends for databases, etc. The type of programming that I am interested doesn’t make sense and has no market in this part of the world, I like system programming, interacting with the operating system, especially UNIX, thourgh commands. I am also mad about operating system commands. Could you please tell me which field would suit me the best! I don’t give a damn to the amount of the salary, I would do what I would enjoy and which would make me successful in that particular field.


    Muhammad Dawood
    Kabul, Afghanistan

    1. djitz says:

      @Muhammad Dawood,

      I believe you already know what my answer would be. It sounds like you will enjoy a career as System Admin better than a programmer. With a knowledge of scripting, you will be one of the smartest admin around. Don’t limit yourself with where you are now, if you’re good at something you will find a way to a place where you can develop your potential. 😀

  25. Ikhwan says:

    Hi, I’m a bit in confused right now.

    I’m currently working as a sys admin in the banking line. I just got an offer as a analyst programmer (also in bank) but the thing is the offer post is more towards application support, as the programming task is much done by the vendor. I’m also been told that I may have to do project mngt roles in my new post.

    I’m interest to do development, as I’ve been doing support (app/hdware) for the last 2 years. Current working is great (friendly environment, good colleagues, better benefits), but I’m not interest to work with hardware/os app and don’t see myself doing admin anymore. FYI, I’d graduate major in Software Engineering.

    In my case, do I decline the offer and remain where I am now…or do I take the offer? I’ve been searching a software job for more than 2 years, and the offer I’m getting now is changing my career for good.

    Please share some advise to me. I’m in dilemma.

    1. djitz says:


      Just a disclaimer, I’m not a career counselor so take my advice on your own risk.

      Deciding a career change involves several factors, such as your career goal, interest, work environment and culture, economy, age, salary, and so on (even inner voice :D). It sounds to me that you want the job because it is your interest, and want a change. Depending on your career goal (technical vs management), the project management roles may be a good step toward the managerial level. Besides, with your two year sys admin background, you also have a good grasp of IT architecture.

  26. Deepak says:

    hi djitz n thanks for the help.. plz tell me ,is there any difference between system Admin and DBA..which is good for future as i am doing linux (RHCE).

    1. djitz says:

      @Deepak, usually you will see more specialized job title in larger organization or consultant vendor, in smaller company they are usually the same person. If you’re looking for stability, DBA looks way more stable than sys admin, because I believe companies love their data so much than their servers. 🙂

  27. Deepak says:

    thanks for the answer.. plz tell me, i am doing rhce and rhcsa .will it be beneficial in DBA track for me or i hv go for smthing new …plz advice..

    1. djitz says:

      @Deepak, to answer your question: specifically, I don’t see how RHCE nor RHCSA will help you gain knowledge in database. But, on the other hand, extra knowledge in system administration might be good.

      If you want to take certification for database, Oracle’s might be the best choice.

  28. Muhammad Dawood says:

    @djitz Hello my friend, I hope you are doing fine. A new topic has just been raised, “stability”. Could you please throw some more light on it, and please rank the following as far as stability is concerned.
    * System Administrator
    * Network Administrator
    * Database Designer and Administrator
    * Developer, programmer, web developer etc.
    Looking forward to your wonderful reply!

    1. djitz says:

      @Muhammad Dawood,

      I’m doing great, thanks! By all means, I don’t have valid findings to back up what I’m going to say, but from what I see DB designer or administrator have more stable job compared with the rest. In general, I also see that administrators (system, network, or database) job seems to be more stable compared to developers.

  29. @djitz says:

    @djitz Hello my friend, sorry to bother you again. As you already may know, I am one the most confused people on the face of the earth, taking interest in virtually everything. After alot of thinking now, I have finally decided to go towards system administration, leaving my other favorite subjects like C and C++, and assembly language. Though my profession would be system administration, I’ll definitely be working on those three languages, mostly doing system related things. Now could you please tell me what project should I do in my final year, what kind of projects are system administrators expected to do?
    Looking forward to your reply.

    1. djitz says:

      @Dawood, no worries. I see cloud computing will be the next big thing and it definitely requires system administrators to learn the cloud computing paradigm. So maybe you want to look at cloud for your final project. 😀

  30. Vlad says:

    Hi djitz, thank you for sharing this wonderful website.

    i would like to know if having advanced knowledge in linux or windows would help in a network administration position.
    i see that most IT departments have almost everything windows technology , and very few linux related tech.
    i really like linux and i keep learning more about it before i graduate, but i would like to hear if all this effort in learning linux is worth it at the end, or is it better to learn more about the windows technologies.

    thank you.

    1. djitz says:


      I believe you need to be familiar with both Windows and Linux (or Unix) in general. Many companies choose Windows because it’s usually better supported than open-source OSes such as Linux. But with the change in cloud computing, open source technologies may pick up great acceleration.

      If you can learn linux, then do it. It’s easier to learn Windows Server than to learn Unix servers, and the knowledge of Unix commands tend to last longer than Windows commands / GUI. 🙂

  31. Deepak says:

    thanks djitz ! i want to extend the question of muhammad dawood. which has more scope as per your brother is a system admin. from 6 year. but his salary is about 23k. is it right ? plz rply…lookin for answer..

  32. Susan says:

    The problem with software development, particularly Java and web-related software, is that the technology changes too fast. It’s not humanly possible to keep up with all the new tools and frameworks that may be used with Java and JavaScript. You must, therefore, be able to learn very quickly, independently, and constantly. The worst part is, the older people get the slower they learn. After 25 years of doing software development I am not as valuable as someone younger with five or ten years of experience because they learn twice as fast and tend to have a wider skill set. You must spend most of your spare time studying if you want to remain employable.

  33. pasha says:

    hi, i have seen your blogs they are very interesting .I am a graduate of computers in 2011.I have done .net for over 4 months .But what i came to know in these months is that i am not as good in programming .I was never passinate about programming.I cannot implement new logics .frankly speaking I am not good at creating new things.I am good at things what i do repeatedly.So, i am planning to make a career in networking.I believe that i will be best in this field.But i am worrying that i have wasted my one year in doing programming courses.please help me what to do

    1. Trijito Santoso says:

      I ‘wasted’ three years before I went into programming, that’s a lot better deal than wasting my ‘life’ never trying what I wanted. 🙂
      Don’t worry, those experience will pay you back in one way or another someday.

  34. ritesh says:

    I was programmer at start and i still am. but i tried different things. java to c++, vb to c#, system administration, database administration etc. etc. But i simply enjoy IT. any field. I install linux and play with it. But I am not wasting my time. I am investing on it. I studied Red Hat Certification. It gave me an understanding of kernel level and networking as a whole. I can now develop a software and deploy it in platform I like. I wont have to worry that I dont know linux. Actually, trijito is right. I suggest, when you are choosing your career, learn as many areas as possible. Later on you can choose one and go to depth.

  35. Rahul says:

    Hi @trijito. Got to know many things from your article and its really inspiring! But still I have some confusion regarding my career ahead. Im a BE(EXTC ) graduate-2015. I completed a 3 months course of MCSA & CCNA, but unfortunately i got a job of Desktop support. I continued it for 1 year for the sake of experience and later switched to a better company as a Windows server admin(Windows & vmware). Its been 6 months now but I’m confused about my next step.
    Should I learn other platforms like linux, aix , etc, DBA or I should go for development?
    the reason for this thought is:
    1. As a sysadmin i have to work in shifts, weekends and sometimes they even call me on public holidays!
    2. Less respect as Im deployed at client site.
    3. Some of my friends who started their career in development after me are currently earning much better than me even though I have more experience than them.
    But I’m quite concerned that would be I able to create programs as efficiently like a Computer or IT engg. Because as I’m a electronics graduate I was exposed to C++ & Java only in my 1st year.
    After that the only programming exposure I had was in subjects of microprocessor & microcontroller.
    I was not too much weak in programming nor that strong in creating algorithms.(Maybe bcoz we didn’t have good teacher for that subject)
    My most important needs are: Salary growth & career stability.
    Please advice me as I’m greatly confused & unable to take a proper decision. It would be great to hear from you.

    1. Trijito Santoso says:

      Software development industry has picked up traction a lot since I wrote this blog post. That means there are greater demands for programmers compared to administrators.
      So, in general, it’s better to be programmer than administrator these days.

      BUT… expert administrators will always be in demand and command good salary. You can also take a look at career option as infrastructure architect as the next step.

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