Top Things that SysAdmins Really Hate

Being a sysadmin basically means being a superhero. Fighting bad guys (aka hackers), helping ordinary people (aka users), saving your home (aka IT environment) from various disasters — it all sounds very heroic, but it’s just an average day in a sysadmin’s life.

But superheroes can feel pain as well. Five years ago, we asked brave sysadmins to blow off some steam and complain about their suffering by letting us know what they really hate about their work. The results were both predictable and surprising. Last month, we did the survey again, this time adding three new pain points to the list to reflect today’s IT realities.

Top Things Sysadmins Hate

As you can see, dumb users still top the list! Bear in mind, though, that many sysadmins from the SpiceWorks community say that the trick to moving a user along the path from dumb toward wise is proper training. So before complaining about the stupidity of your users, think about ways to educate them.

Horrible IT management is still in the top 5, but unrealistic deadlines and printer issues have shot up ahead of that as even bigger pains for sysadmins.

During the five years between the surveys, the threat landscape changed dramatically, and as a result, a new contender — hackers, spammers and phishers — rounds out the top 5 tier.

The next level of pains includes the pressures of working 24/7 and on a tight budget, as well as system updates and backup failures. Our advice here is to remember that money can’t buy happiness, and there is no harm in taking a break, sitting back and eating some junk food.

Thank you all for participating, and we’ll check in with you again in five years! Maybe by that time we’ll need to add a few new pain points to our list, like the risk of losing your job to a robot or the stress of managing users’ chip implants.

If you want to comment on our research or share a sysadmin pain that we missed, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Product Evangelist at Netwrix Corporation, writer, and presenter. Ryan specializes in evangelizing cybersecurity and promoting the importance of visibility into IT changes and data access. As an author, Ryan focuses on IT security trends, surveys, and industry insights.