When are you a Senior in IT?

vital

Platinum Member
Sep 28, 2000
2,537
1
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If you were a System Admin for a small company and you're the only one, when should you put Senior System Administrator on your resume? I know larger companies who have many System Admins have different title levels, ie. System Admin IV.. But is there a general rule when you can put Senior in your title after a number of years experience? This is not limited to System Admin positions, but IT in general, like Security Analyst.
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
6,587
702
126
If you were a System Admin for a small company and you're the only one, when should you put Senior System Administrator on your resume? I know larger companies who have many System Admins have different title levels, ie. System Admin IV.. But is there a general rule when you can put Senior in your title after a number of years experience? This is not limited to System Admin positions, but IT in general, like Security Analyst.

when you turn 55.
 
D

Deleted member 4644

I think it depends on the type of work you are doing also.

If you are doing really really simple work, senior would be misleading. If you are doing more advanced work, it might be fair and truthful
 

SKORPI0

Lifer
Jan 18, 2000
18,406
2,309
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If you were a System Admin for a small company and you're the only one,

Senoir to who, if you're the only one? :rolleyes: Looks applicable only if you have people working with you and less responsibilities.
 

guyver01

Lifer
Sep 25, 2000
22,151
5
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More than five years of previous system administration experience, Provides technical lead and/or supervises system administrators, system programmers, or others of equivalent seniority. AND.. has purchasing authority and responsibility for purchase justification.
 

KB

Diamond Member
Nov 8, 1999
5,396
383
126
You put Senior on your job title when your company makes you a Senior SA.
If your company is too small to have different Job titles it is either time to move on, time to ask that they do or you just don't put it as your title.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,656
687
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If you were a System Admin for a small company and you're the only one, when should you put Senior System Administrator on your resume? I know larger companies who have many System Admins have different title levels, ie. System Admin IV.. But is there a general rule when you can put Senior in your title after a number of years experience? This is not limited to System Admin positions, but IT in general, like Security Analyst.

It depends on the work you do, but for most small companies where you're a one-man shop, you're probably not going to get the experience necessary to claim a title like that due to lack of exposure to many different technologies. In a small shop, you typically would perform as much (if not more) "desktop support" than real system administration. The same can be said for other lofty titles at small companies -- if you're an "IT Director" at a 50 person shop, well, that isn't really a Director-level position.

Really, you should jump to a bigger shop to get more experience and exposure to different technologies and topologies. Exposure to technologies/topologies such as domains/networks spanning multiple continents, different server hardware and software (particularly things like AD, VMWare, Exchange/Notes, BES, SQL, SMS, Shavlik products, Sharepoint, other web technologies such as IIS and/or Apache/Tomcat, various Windows and/or Linux versions), strong knowledge of client platforms, and familiarity with enterprise hardware such as SANs, firewalls, etc. Those are some of the things a truly senior person would have knowledge and exposure to. You obviously wouldn't need to be an expert on every single thing on that list, but you should be an expert in a few and at least have some familiarity with the other stuff. You should also be considered a "lead" on many projects and/or a mentor to junior people.

EDIT: I guess my description above is really a description for an Enterprise Administrator or Enterprise Architect, which is probably overkill for what you were asking.
 
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IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,656
687
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More than five years of previous system administration experience, Provides technical lead and/or supervises system administrators, system programmers, or others of equivalent seniority. AND.. has purchasing authority and responsibility for purchase justification.

Depends what you mean by "purchasing authority." Many/most companies will only allow actual managers to approve expenditures. I was the technical lead for global server operations at my last company (40 US and international sites), and while I did formulate strategy, spec hardware and software, prepare project budgets, and prepare justfications and proposals for management, I was not allowed to authorize purchases beyond a few hundred. Heck, I think even my immediate manager was restricted to either a $10K or $20K approval level.
 

DesiPower

Lifer
Nov 22, 2008
15,366
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IMO Sr. comes with some kind of planning or management kind of duties, when you are not just taking orders and following them but planning stuff, designing stuff and implementing them, when you are the implementer. If some ppl are reporting to you, even better but its not necessary.
 
Sep 7, 2009
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People, the reason he's asking is probably because he's been there awhile and the company isn't sure where to 'place' him next or whatever.


As others said, senior generally denotes that someone 'indirectly' works under you - i.e. there's a network/IT manager or Director of IT, then a 'senior' sys admin, then a 'junior' sys admin (generally intern or low level)


Edit:

And to the op, if you really are the only IT guy (how big is this company)? you might push for IT Manager, then if you're able to hire someone try to get Dir of IT
 
Sep 7, 2009
12,960
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Depends what you mean by "purchasing authority." Many/most companies will only allow actual managers to approve expenditures. I was the technical lead for global server operations at my last company (40 US and international sites), and while I did formulate strategy, spec hardware and software, prepare project budgets, and prepare justfications and proposals for management, I was not allowed to authorize purchases beyond a few hundred. Heck, I think even my immediate manager was restricted to either a $10K or $20K approval level.


This has a LOT to do with the size of the company. I've seen ~100 employee places with sys admins who had full purchasing power and a ton of responsibility, and I've seen 10,000 employee places where the sys admin has literally no purchasing or management responsibility at all.
 

TreyRandom

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2001
3,346
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76
If you were a System Admin for a small company and you're the only one, when should you put Senior System Administrator on your resume? I know larger companies who have many System Admins have different title levels, ie. System Admin IV.. But is there a general rule when you can put Senior in your title after a number of years experience? This is not limited to System Admin positions, but IT in general, like Security Analyst.

When your employer gives you that job title.

If you were to put "Senior System Administrator" on your resume at your own discretion, and a potential employer were to check your references and find out that your official job title was simply "System Administrator", that'd be a huge red flag. I'd park your resume in the circular bin.
 

oddyager

Diamond Member
May 21, 2005
3,401
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More than five years of previous system administration experience, Provides technical lead and/or supervises system administrators, system programmers, or others of equivalent seniority. AND.. has purchasing authority and responsibility for purchase justification.

Unless you have the words Chief Information or Technology in your title, most companies will not give you purchasing authority regardless what level you are in IT. Your job is to recommend what's best for business, provide your justification, and hopefully management agrees and gives the okay for Finance to fund it.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,656
687
126
This has a LOT to do with the size of the company. I've seen ~100 employee places with sys admins who had full purchasing power and a ton of responsibility, and I've seen 10,000 employee places where the sys admin has literally no purchasing or management responsibility at all.

Yeah, that is the point I was making too -- just because you have "purchasing authority" doesn't mean that should be a factor in being a senior level person. If you work for a huge company, you're likely not going to have it but you will very likely have far more exposure to various technologies which WOULD give you the skillset to become a senior level person.
 

mpo

Senior member
Jan 8, 2010
457
51
91
When your employer gives you that job title.

If you were to put "Senior System Administrator" on your resume at your own discretion, and a potential employer were to check your references and find out that your official job title was simply "System Administrator", that'd be a huge red flag. I'd park your resume in the circular bin.
Yeah, I can imagine the conversation when the potential employer is checking references:

Potential employer: I would like to talk to your HR about your former Senior Systems Admin.
Old employer: Senior Systems Admin? We're a small shop.
PE: Oh, I have a resume from your former Senior Systems Admin.
OE: Senior Systems Admin? Oh, you mean Vital.
PE: Thanks. Click.
 

Spineshank

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2001
7,728
1
71
Where i work senior is part of a job title. Granted its more of just a pay scale thing but there is a difference between the seniors and the regulars.
 

spidey07

No Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
65,469
5
76
Yeah, I can imagine the conversation when the potential employer is checking references:

Potential employer: I would like to talk to your HR about your former Senior Systems Admin.
Old employer: Senior Systems Admin? We're a small shop.
PE: Oh, I have a resume from your former Senior Systems Admin.
OE: Senior Systems Admin? Oh, you mean Vital.
PE: Thanks. Click.

Yep, lying about your title is pretty much no chance of getting hired. This is the one place they CAN verify with previous employers - your title.

Senior normally means you are higher than others doing your job but they aren't your employees. You generally give them direction and some mentoring roles, but they don't report to you. It's also used to justify higher pay than peers as it's a higher grade level.