A day in the life of an "SA"

Systems administrator ...? Never heard of one? No wonder really considering nowadays, many new careers are the result of several professions combined. A systems administrator is a prime example of this. This recognised skilled occupation is a combination of electrical engineering, IT and telecommunications engineering.

It is a highly diversified profession, full of exciting, innovative technologies that require systematic expertise. Training takes 3½ years but may be reduced to three years for outstanding performance.

I'm an aspiring systems administrator in my second year of training at Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH. In the first nine months, I completed my basic training in the company's own training workshop. During this time, I gained useful theoretical and practical knowledge. The main topics covered during basic training include metalworking, installation technology, component handling and digital technology.

I learnt a lot during this time, before switching to the Information and Communication Technology department at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. I'm now working in Service & Support. There are five service teams at the airport:

  • Team 1: System assembly/network infrastructure, help desk
  • Team 2: Telecommunications
  • Team 3: IT
  • Team 4: LAN
  • Team 5: HF/LF (high frequency/low frequency)

Trainees are assigned to a specific team according to requirements and on request. I was assigned to the HF/LF team, which is in charge of radio electronics and radio coverage at the airport. This is also where radio terminals are programmed and handed over to the customer, and vehicle installations and repairs are carried out. Another aspect is public address systems. Electronic PA systems cover the entire terminal, providing information, boarding announcements and alerts. Other tasks include servicing and maintaining the systems, e.g. PA circuit measurement. The department is also responsible for "sound" in the conference rooms. This involves setting up and dismantling intercoms, recording conversations and conference support.

Another area of responsibility of the HF/LF team is video. This not only involves setting up, dismantling, repairing and administering camera equipment. The team also deals with display systems, maintains end devices and administers flight information systems.

Due to the many areas of expertise, trainees have to specialise in one field.