A day in the life of a Sophos SysAdmin

System administrator. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

System administrator. Image courtesy of ShutterstockToday is SysAdmin Day.

We have to have a special celebration day for sysadmins because they often don’t get the recognition they deserve. They’re the ones plugging away in the server room or patching our systems, just so everyone else can carry on working without thinking about how things work.

So if, like many, you’re wondering what a sysadmin does in a day, we spoke to one of our very own system administrators, Mark Faulds, who gave us the run down…

I’m a Sophos SysAdmin. My official job title is Product Implementation Specialist and I work as part of the IT Security team.

I look after all the Sophos products globally within the company and help facilitate internal dogfood testing of new versions of our products, working with engineering and development.

My morning

My alarm goes off and I start coming back to existence about 7am. I can’t say I wake up at this point as I’m definitely not a morning person but the snooze button comes in very handy until 07:30… ok, maybe 07:45.

My drive to work starts at around 08:30, and the first 5 minutes of it is spent deciding what to play on the iPod.

The journey to work is normally a game of traffic jam and pothole dodging through the back roads towards Abingdon where the UK Sophos office is. The 9 mile journey to work often seems like it’s much longer.

I’ve been working at Sophos now for just over 6 years. I have no academic background in IT and studied Business and Operations Management at university, but I became disgruntled in trying to get a graduate job so I thought I’d try and get a job in something I enjoyed doing. I have always enjoyed my tech.

When I arrive at the office, the first thing I do is log on to my machine and begin checking my emails. It never fails to amaze me how many emails accumulate overnight.

Once I’ve answered the most important ones, I nip to the kitchen area to grab a drink. I then settle back at my desk and check what’s left for me to do in my work sprint for the week for project work, and do a quick health check of the consoles to make sure everything is as it should be.

I usually have some walk-ups to my desk, so I’ll end up doing some unplanned work or answering questions. I also have the occasional meeting to attend.


I like to take a late lunch at around 2pm, as it gives me less hours in the afternoon to contend with. I usually head down to the canteen to grab a bowl of salad, which I then take back to my desk to carry on with some work. If I get a break, I’ll catch up on the latest news via the BBC or New Scientist website.

In terms of social media, I mainly use Facebook. I have a dormant twitter account for my astrophotography website that I’ve not got around to setting up yet. I will manage it one of these days!

My afternoon

My afternoon is spent mostly on project work and tying up loose ends, but I’ll often get some more walk-ups and questions at my desk in the afternoon too.

I’m a big music fan, so music is a staple part of my daily work diet. I often have earphones in which means people will end up waving at me to get my attention when I don’t hear them. I listen to heavy metal, rock, punk and I’m even partial to a bit of classical music.

What’s the best part of my job?

Well, the banter has to be one of the best bits, along with completing dogfood projects and seeing them finally being released. It’s great knowing that you have contributed to that in a small way.

And the worst part?

Sometimes I have to work unsociable hours in order to carry out a change to a system, although it’s an understandable necessity in a 24/7 global company.

I don’t really get annoyed easily, but it’s irritating if you spend time formulating questions for someone in an effort to help them, and then all you get is a minimal reply or them only answering a small part of the question but still expecting an instant fix!

After work

I usually leave the office about 6pm, but it all depends on my current workload. I’ll leave later if something needs finishing or I’m in the zone and making good progress on a piece of work.

As soon as I get home, I get changed and head to the gym. After a 90-minute workout, I head back to my house and start making my dinner. I eventually sit down at about 9pm and catch up on some television. I’ll watch the news and then head to bed to listen to some more music.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The image isn’t in any way a representation of what Mark looks like, he just ran off on vacation before we could take a photo of him.

Image of system administrator courtesy of Shutterstock.