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IT Analyst vs. System Administrator: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

The job market for IT professionals is booming, and there are a variety of positions available to those with the right skills. Two common roles in the IT field are that of an analyst and a system administrator. Though these positions share some similarities, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between an IT analyst and a system administrator, and we provide additional IT professions you may be interested in pursuing.

What is an IT Analyst?

IT Analysts are responsible for the smooth operation of computer systems in an organization. They install and configure computer systems, troubleshoot issues and provide user support. IT Analysts also develop and maintain system security, perform data backups and disaster recovery operations. They may also be responsible for developing and implementing IT policies and procedures. IT Analysts typically work in organizations with large or complex IT systems. They typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

What is a System Administrator?

System Administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer systems. They install and configure software, troubleshoot hardware and software issues, and maintain network security. System Administrators also create user accounts, manage file permissions, and monitor system performance. They may also be responsible for training new users on how to use the system. System Administrators typically work in an office environment, but they may also be required to work remotely.

IT Analyst vs. System Administrator

Here are the main differences between an IT analyst and a system administrator.

Job Duties

One of the major differences between a IT analyst and a system administrator is the type of duties each professional carries out. A IT analyst typically conducts research to determine how a company can improve its operations. After identifying areas for improvement, they may develop new policies or procedures that system administrators can use while providing IT services to employees.

System administrators are more hands-on than IT analysts and often spend their days fixing computer problems within an organization. They also have the responsibility of maintaining the systems they oversee, which may include updating software and installing security measures to protect sensitive data.

Job Requirements

IT analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another related field. They might also pursue certifications to show employers that they have the skills needed for the job. System administrators often enter the field with an associate degree in computer science or a related field. However, some system administrator positions might require a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, system administrators can earn certifications to improve their chances of getting hired or advancing in their careers.

Work Environment

System administrators and IT analysts can work in a variety of environments, depending on the company they work for. For example, system administrators may work in an office setting where they collaborate with other employees to solve technical issues. They may also work from home or travel to clients’ locations to provide support.

IT analysts typically work in offices, but they may also visit clients’ locations to perform audits and evaluate their systems.


Both IT analysts and system administrators use technical skills to perform their jobs. However, IT analysts typically have more experience working with different types of software and hardware, as they need to be familiar with a variety of systems in order to troubleshoot issues and recommend solutions. They also use analytical skills to examine data and identify trends that can help improve the efficiency of a company’s operations.

System administrators usually have in-depth knowledge about one or two specific types of systems, as they are responsible for maintaining those systems. They also use problem-solving skills to diagnose and fix issues that arise. Because they often work with sensitive data, they also need to have strong security skills to protect information.


IT analysts earn an average salary of $79,915 per year, while system administrators earn an average salary of $82,947 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to taking the job.


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