Which Career to Choose: Programmer Vs Administrator

The Science behind computer and computation has always attracted a mass of people from the career prospective. Jobs in computer technology are numerous ranging from hardware to software. In this article I will be discussing career as a Administrator as compared to career as a Developer (Programmer).

Programmer vs Administrator
Programmer vs Administrator

OK, I will tell the whole article from my point of view. About two years ago I used to think whether I should concentrate on Programming or Administration. I loved Developing and creating new things everyday so I make up mind to be a developer, then the very next question that came to my mind was which language should I go for.

Personally I liked C. Why C? because C was the first Programming Language. But from the market point of view, C was not in demand at all. So I thought to learn ASP.net, Java and Oracle. Even this learning process remained in my routine for a few weeks but soon I got disinterested in all the above said languages, C was my first love and no one forgets his/her first love.

It was time to move to the next semester where I was introduced to UNIX Operating system. I came to know that whole UNIX was written in C. Although they said UNIX was in our Syllabus but they taught Linux, as UNIX was neither free nor easily available.

I Got my way to C was there, the joy of creating new was there. Linux was something for which I could wake up daily and go to work happily.

Why should you choose programming from the career point of view?

  1. Because you enjoy the sense of creativity.
  2. Because you work for yourself and don’t bother for interaction with peoples directly.
  3. Flexibility to work from office or home.

Why should not you choose Programming from the career point of view?

  1. Less opportunity as a result of job outsourcing.
  2. Erratic hours
  3. Repetitive
  4. Sharp Deadlines
  5. Keep pace with changing frameworks and technology.

Why should you choose Administration from the career point of view?

  1. Always something different
  2. New challenges
  3. Controlling and coordinating with number of professionals.

Why should not you choose Administration from career point of view?

  1. Stressful working hours.
  2. Sometimes boring taking backups, restoring, fixing, installing, updating, scanning,etc.

A very famous quote in our world is:

A programmer gets famous when he does something good and an administrator if he does something bad.”

What point you should have in mind when choosing a particular career opportunity.

  1. You should choose the option you are comfortable, for which you can wake every morning happily.
  2. You can make money in any field you have mastered and should not depend upon the current market trend.
  3. You should do what you love else love what you do.

Both System Administration and Developer as a job is highly sought after by professionals. Both will remain in demand forever. My personal recommendation is to listen what your heart says and not to take decision what other insist or what the current graph says.

You are one, you are different. No one can be you, ever. Your career is not only a source of income, it should be your passion, your desire, your dream.

With all these I am signing off today and will soon be back with an interesting article. Till then stay tuned. Come visiting Tecmint.com for any recent update in the FOSS world.

So what should you choose as a Programmer or Administrator? do, tell us know your choice in our Comment Section.

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163 thoughts on “Which Career to Choose: Programmer Vs Administrator”

  1. Hello!
    If you are a system admin and would like to take the dive into programming, try this out. https://www.edx.org/ contains a free at your own pace course entitled CS50x. Search for it in the course catalogue and sign up for a free and great crash course into the fundamentals of programming, complete with free software and problem sets. I took my first programming courses back in high school nearly 13 years ago and I have a BS in Computer Science, and it does seperate the cream of the crop. You’ll be able to step into any field you want because you’ll have a skill that very few want to do, and once you have it down you can learn any language you want with a little bit of trial and error.

    Even to this day 13 years from when I started I’m going back and refreshing myself on these courses because it’s so valuable.

    • Dear Elmo,

      Informative feedback and nice URL. Thanks. I would be testing it shortly to feed my hungry programming soul.
      Keep connected!

  2. After reading article i felt that both are good and my point of view system admin is something that is of service types, and the web developing is a creative path so which ever you choose we should be perfect with the thing we select and interested in.

  3. Hi Avishek,

    I am having 10yrs of EXP in IT as a system Admin ( Windows & Solaris), Now as solaris is going down, Which one will be the best for future like going with Websphere Admin or Storage Admin.

  4. LOL the picture has it all wrong. The person in the server room with the laptop is the “system admin” or “server guy”, the one doing the charts on the right is the “programmer”.

    For anyone who may read this; if you’re wanting to work in the IT industry; please try and be a PROGRAMMER above everything else.

    The difference between a programmer and a system administrator is simple. The later (sys admin) is a donkey, they’re cheap, dime a dozen. The former is a god.

    As a sys admin, no matter how good you get, you’re nothing more than a power user to systems, software and hardware; you are forever chasing the latest and greatest technology advancements and over the course of your career you’ll end up reading and studying new techology as whatever you’ve learnt 6 months ago becomes irrelevant. You’ll forever be doing industry certifications and vendor certifications and competing with the ever younger group of people who know just as much as you do.

    As a programmer, once you get the fundamentals down; you are literally the creator of worlds. If you become a really good programmer you have the power to write software not just for your employer, but also for yourself. Coding is the future. Ability to code will separate the chafe from the wheat in the years to come. I know programmers who are good enough that they can learn a new language in a matter of days. Why? because all languages the the same principal foundations.

    Speaking from experience; every system admin I know hates his job and wants to get out. In their mid 20s and early 30s they’re not complaining, but once they hit their mid 30s or have a family or kids, they find that they’re dying to get into management and get out of being the “IT fix it donkey” for the company. They hate not knowing more than the 21 year old who’s just finished the latest certification from Vendor X (which soon will become out of date anyway).

    Sadly I work as a sys admin; I’ve hit 30 and am studying to become a programmer. It will be a long and hard road; but it’s never too late! I currently hate having to upgrade working systems for companies just because they want the “latest technology”.

    • May be your theory is right in some condition but System admin don’t always need a certification all their life. Neither do i believe that their knowledge level is same as a fresh graduate. Had it been true why the industry would have demand for 5+ years exp, 10+ years exp and so on?

      • I have been a sys admin for a long time and want to head towards programing. What advice do you have for someone who doesn’t have a background in programming?

        • @Bernie,
          Both platforms have good career, but starting with zero background makes very difficult to move ahead..still the choice is yours..as I said both platforms are good enough to brighten your future..rest upto you..

  5. I am mostly a SysAdmin, but do like to develop. I found that best of both worlds in Application System Engineering. 75% of my time is spent on SysAdmin tasks, the other 25% is spend in Application development in Java, C++, Perl, and .Net.

    I work in a department where there are about 40 of us IT guys in shop, and there is only one other admin, and I’d only call him a quasi-admin. So the stress of taking care of 200+ servers can get to you, but like a Dev figures out a way to streamline and make a program more efficient, a good Admin does the same with his systems. Proper monitoring, automation, scripting, crons, etc… are a SysAdmin’s best friend.

  6. Dear All,

    I Want to know the salary difference for java programmer and linux administrator…
    please dont mine because everyone do the job for sake of money only…
    and..also what is the difference between the Unix Administrator and Linux Administrator…

    • @ Rajesh,
      salary depends upon a whole lot of things.

      0. company
      0. Your Experience
      0. Geographical Location
      0. Availability of Professional in that region
      0. Market Trends

      and blah….blah…blah. You can not get correct answer. It will always be biased towards some point.

  7. hi guys,

    Choosing Administrator as career will be good… in developing we have dead lines, tensions , pressure…. in administration we will never find the word TARGET but work burden will there if something went wrong and routine work… what ever may be enjoying our job will be always good… enjoy the work choose a good career

    In Developing new inventions will be done its a good carrier. it will be possible when you have good logical thinking, problem solving skills and coding. Be perfect in any one of the programming language and choose your path as a developer, designer or a tester based on your interest

    • @ Sreenu

      Target in Administration.
      Target for Administrator means a black day. and there remains workload and target/Deadline in all the occupation of the world in one manner or the other.


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