People Don’t Know What A Sysadmin Is On Sysadmin Appreciation Day

People Don’t Know What A Sysadmin Is On Sysadmin Appreciation Day
Image: Getty Images

It’s Sysadmin Appreciation Day. If you’re working in an office and need someone to “reboot the internet”, or “add more LAN” to speed things up, your Sysadmin girl or guy is the person to talk to. And if you think those descriptions of what a Sysadmin actually does are less than accurate, they’re taken from a forum discussion where sysadmins discuss what their families and coworkers think they actually do. Here are some of my favourite descriptions of the role of a sysadmin.

Here are a few from the Solarwinds THWACK community.

Image: Solarwinds THWACK Forum
  • I tell friends that I am an ‘Internet Stress Tester’ but my daughter is convinced I run the Internet and have the ability to shut it down – long may she think that.
  • I’ve heard my son tell his friends that I do something in computing to with the internet. Having got their attention he then tells them not to ask me any questions as it’ll just go over their heads. the same way it does for him.
  • I asked my girlfriend and she said a professional button pusher.
  • My parents think I perform pure magic. From removing viruses, setting up a new printer, setting up WiFi, wiring the home stereo to the receiver, or replacing the system board in their refrigerator, its all magic to them!
  • Every family reunion I’m asked many questions about computers, and “hey while you’re here (for Thanksgiving dinner) can you take a look at my printer”, which I hate about family reunions.
  • I usually just say I work in IT, mainly Network Infrastructure. Most people won’t ask for details, and if you offer them, you get the glazed over eyes of boredom really quick. The one thing that annoys me is they assume that we know everything about computers, including programming, database administration, web design, phone apps, etc. Even my wife has asked me “Why haven’t you written a phone app and made a million dollars yet?”, and I have to explain yet again, that I don’t program or code… UGH!

Are you a sysadmin? What do people think you do?


  • My parents say I work on a helpdesk……I’ve never worked on a helpdesk!

    Been in IT Server and Systems Infrastructure for about 15 years…..

    My 6yo son says that I run the internet and I can make it go away anytime…that in his world, is true 😉

  • Yep – I hate telling people because there’s no real way to make it sound interesting. Sometimes I tell them I’m a proctologist instead just to keep it interesting.

    It’s true about people thinking you know everything about computers (not just computers but phones as well – sometimes pretty much anything that uses electricity).

    • I know the feeling. One of my quals is as an electronic engineer. The amount of people that ask if I can add another power point for them.

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