I got a new job description from the HR, but it's still "System operator". I'm not sure if I'm still a System operator.

When I started this job, I was monitoring website hosting servers based on linux, solving small problems. Sometimes I had to do phone support with customers.

Now I don't do phone support anymore and also no monitoring in my daily business. My last three projects were, setting up an Microsoft Exchange environment (took me like half a year), doing some backup script adjustment (took me a Month), and now my recent Project was setting up ceph (took me like 4 Months). My next one would be replacing the backupscripts with a software made for backing up and save everything to ceph. If my colleagues, whose job it is to monitor servers now, need help because they can't fix something, I help them.

So what job description would you give me?

Edit: The question came up, because a friend of me has just recently completed his apprenticeship, and got an offer as junior system engineer, but he has no real world experience and his main work until now, was in house customer support.

  • 2
    are you asking about the description (which is a paragraph or more) or the title which is a couple of words? Each title can have either a fixed description or a unique description. Jul 8, 2020 at 13:14
  • More like the title, but if it does not matter that much, I do't care that much. Jul 8, 2020 at 13:20
  • 1
    @SimonSutter: if you "don't care that much", then why bother? :)
    – virolino
    Jul 8, 2020 at 13:43
  • @virolino It appears they don't care if it isn't a big deal, e.g. if future employers don't care--it seems OP's question is whether or not this is a big deal.
    – Monstar
    Jul 8, 2020 at 14:39
  • To me this sounds like the traditional sysadmin role. The actual title varies a lot from company to company.
    – Jarmund
    Jul 8, 2020 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


In some companies the title has to be one of the predefined titles. They have constructed a progression path based on certifications, skills, and years of experience. They have also set minimum specifications to be able to claim that title. The most important thing they have done is they have set the minimum and maximum pay rate for that title.

That pay rate is very important. In a perfect world when changing titles you would end up near the bottom of the pay scale for that title. If you are near the bottom there is room to get raises each year. If you are at the top then you there is no room for a raise unless they also increase the top of the scale for that title.

If you want to pick a title that is more related to your functions you need to find out what options are there and what are their scales. You then have to determine if you meet the requirements for that title.

One thing to remember is that outside of your company the title means nothing, unless you work in an industry/country that has defined in regulation specific titles. Excepting those situations nobody knows the definition of the titles your company uses. There is no way to compare titles across the host of resumes they are looking at when evaluating candidates.

I have had contracts where I had the word programmer in the title, and never wrote code. I have had contracts with the title mathematician where I wrote code all day long.


Job descriptions are company specific and can be anything they want.

I'd call you a generic Systems Administrator, nothing you're doing is particularly high level and the timeframes it's taking you to complete projects shows that you have very junior level skills or are very slowly learning as you go. Systems Admin sounds better than System Operator. But they can give you any title they want.

  • First of all, yes I'm in the junior level, and did nothing with Microsoft servers before. I did not just set up an Exchange, it was a project with setting up Hyper-V, setting up load balancing and failover with a haproxy, setting up failover firewalls in front of it and setting up the Sophos firewalls. Also this was not a corporate exchange but a customer exchange with multi tenancy and helping the dev's with implementing a custom web interface. And Thank you for your assessment. Jul 8, 2020 at 12:56
  • 1
    All general stuff, Sys Admin seems about right to me. System Architect is popular these days but doesn't seem to mean much judging by the people I know who sport the title.
    – Kilisi
    Jul 8, 2020 at 13:08

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