UK Systems Administrators Optimistic, Survey Says
November 15, 2012
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SolarWinds released the results of the second in a series of surveys aimed at revealing the heart of Systems Administrators, this time focused on the UK.

The UK-focused results share many similarities with the US survey released last week. For example, despite being saddled with longer working hours, increased responsibility and feeling under resourced and underappreciated, systems administrators (sysadmins) in the UK, like their colleagues across the pond, express strong job satisfaction and high confidence in their employer's leadership.

These results are part of a wide-ranging global survey carried out this past October, including more than 400 UK-based sysadmins, in an effort to measure the evolving nature of this critical IT role.

The survey captured sysadmins' attitudes on both a personal and professional level, from their enjoyment and frustrations of their jobs to their favorite after-work hobbies and pop culture heroes.

Key findings include:

- Rising job demands: 83 percent of sysadmins are feeling some level of increased pressure in their jobs. Contributing factors include more responsibility and demands on their time (84 percent), increased system complexity (79 percent) and doing more with less (78 percent). A wide majority are spending more time at work (79 percent), with nearly half (44 percent) indicating they spend a significant amount of their free time completing work tasks.

- Steady career satisfaction: The increasing demands don't appear to be dampening job enthusiasm. 65 percent of respondents said they are more satisfied with their jobs, seeing additional career path opportunities, while 57 percent said they receive consistent training to help develop new skills. However, half of respondents identified budgets and money as the scarcest resources in their organizations, with as many as one third saying that they are not convinced that they have access to adequate tools to perform effectively. A further 14 percent feel they are able to complete all their tasks within normal office hours.

- High company confidence: Sysadmins are highly optimistic about their employers, showing belief that 2013 will be a growth year for their companies (65 percent) and that their IT departments are in a better position this year than in the past year (69 percent). Trust runs high in their IT department leadership (74 percent) and their senior/executive leadership at their companies (71 percent).

- Lacking broader appreciation: Outside of the IT department, sysadmins feel a bit misunderstood. 69 percent agree that most of their company's employees don't understand what they do or the value they bring to the business. Almost half (47 percent) didn't feel appreciated enough, while only 15 percent felt highly appreciated.

- Job likes and dislikes: Sysadmins feel the need to be part of the solution. The top three cited job attributes were solving problems (71 percent), helping users (55 percent) and thinking on their feet (49 percent). There were far fewer overall respondents expressing frustrations, but two of the top three issues cited were money related, including too little pay (27 percent), increasing workloads and responsibilities (13 percent) and too much to do (12 percent).

Complete survey results can be found on Slideshare

Infographic on the data can be found on SolarWinds Whiteboard blog

"This survey shows that systems administrators are self-reliant, resilient and optimistic - all qualities that are important in a profession that is defined by the ability to deal with complexity and challenging situations," said Kevin Thompson, CEO, SolarWinds.

"Despite increased demands, they are rising to the challenge and feel confident in the future of their departments and the leadership of their companies. As we continue to compare these IT pros across geographies, it is interesting to see how much they share in common -- from their confidence in their employers to their preference for Android over iPhones."

The survey also revealed several interesting findings about how sysadmins view themselves - particularly compared to their US counterparts - and what they enjoy doing in their free time, including:

- Who they are: Just 53 percent of UK sysadmins see themselves as friendly, compared with their US counterparts (94 percent). Again, only 51 percent of UK sysadmins view themselves as compassionate compared to a majority in the US (92 percent). UK sysadmins rated themselves less than half as funny (40 percent vs. 91 percent) and fun-loving (41 percent vs. 92 percent) than those in the US. They seemingly don't work as hard or as smart as US sysadmins either, with just 52 percent of UK respondents rating themselves as hardworking vs. the US (94 percent), and an even smaller number think they're intellectual (39 percent) compared with a huge 92 percent of US sysadmins.

- What technology they use: A slim majority of UK sysadmins prefer Android phones (36 percent) over iPhones (33 percent) while 15 percent use Blackberry. An overwhelming majority are PC users (81 percent) over Mac users (13 percent).

- What they watch: Sysadmin's top three all-time geek/sci-fi TV shows are The X-Files (17 percent), Star Trek (16 percent), and The Simpsons (14 percent) and, while their favorite sci-fi movie franchises are Lord of the Rings (22 percent), Star Wars (19 percent) and Star Trek (14 percent).

- What they like: Their tipple of choice is wine (19 percent), their favorite superhero is Batman (20 percent) and their top all-time video game is Call of Duty (29 percent).

Complete survey results can be found on Slideshare

Infographic on the data can be found on SolarWinds Whiteboard blog

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