The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

System software administration SYSP


Installing, managing, and maintaining operating systems, data management, office automation, and utility software across various infrastructure environments.

SFIA 9 is in development

  • SFIA 9 beta due in early July 2024
  • SFIA 9 planned for publication October 2024

This is a prototype for SFIA 9. It is subject to change before publication.

Moving to SFIA 9

There is an updated version of this skill for SFIA 9.

  • Updated names, description, guidance notes and levels for contemporary working practices including cloud
  • New level 2 added to support entry-level roles
  • SFIA 8 skill descriptions will remain available for you to use
  • Previous SFIA assessments are not impacted by this change

Guidance notes


System software encompasses a wide range of software components that support the functioning and management of technology infrastructure, including operating systems, infrastructure software, data management products, office automation products, middleware and utility software. It may run in cloud, virtual, or physical hardware environments and enables applications to run effectively.

Activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • monitoring and optimising the performance of system software
  • developing and maintaining diagnostic tools and procedures for system software troubleshooting and performance analysis
  • resolving service problems with system software components
  • evaluating, provisioning, and testing new system software, including cloud based solutions 
  • reviewing system software updates and upgrades
  • provisioning and testing system software updates and configurations
  • adhering to established safety, security, and quality standards
  • managing system software in hybrid and multi-cloud environments

Understanding the responsibility levels of this skill

Where lower levels are not defined...

  • Specific tasks and responsibilities are not defined because the skill requires a higher level of autonomy, influence, and complexity in decision-making than is typically expected at these levels. You can use the essence statements to understand the generic responsibilities associated with these levels.

Where higher levels are not defined...

  • Responsibilities and accountabilities are not defined because these higher levels involve strategic leadership and broader organisational influence that goes beyond the scope of this specific skill. See the essence statements.

Developing skills and demonstrating responsibilities related to this skill

The defined levels show the incremental progression in skills and reponsibilities.

Where lower levels are not defined...

You can develop your knowledge and support others who do have responsibility in this area by:

  • Learning key concepts and principles related to this skill and its impact on your role
  • Performing related skills (see the related SFIA skills)
  • Supporting others with tasks (generic examples are provided by the essence statements for each level)

Where higher levels are not defined...

  • You can progress by developing related skills which are better suited to higher levels of organisational leadership.


Defined at these levels: 2 3 4 5

Show/hide extra descriptions and levels.

Level 1

Level 1 - Follow: Essence of the level: Performs routine tasks under close supervision, follows instructions, and requires guidance to complete their work. Learns and applies basic skills and knowledge.

System software administration: Level 2

Level 2 - Assist: Essence of the level: Provides assistance to others, works under routine supervision, and uses their discretion to address routine problems. Actively learns through training and on-the-job experiences.


Assists with system software administration tasks under routine supervision.

Supports the installation and configuration of system software.

Helps monitor system performance and resource usage.

Assists in documenting system software settings and updates.

System software administration: Level 3

Level 3 - Apply: Essence of the level: Performs varied tasks, sometimes complex and non-routine, using standard methods and procedures. Works under general direction, exercises discretion, and manages own work within deadlines. Proactively enhances skills and impact in the workplace.


Monitors operational systems for resource usage and failure rates, to inform and facilitate system software tuning.

Applies system software settings to optimise performance, enabling maximum throughput and efficient resource utilisation.

Installs and tests new versions of system software.

Assists in creating software implementation procedures, including fall back contingency plans.

System software administration: Level 4

Level 4 - Enable: Essence of the level: Performs diverse complex activities, supports and supervises others, works autonomously under general direction, and contributes expertise to deliver team objectives.


Monitors system software metrics and adjusts configurations for optimum availability and performance.

Applies technical expertise to investigates and resolve complex system software issues, requesting action from supplier if required.

Analyses system software updates and determines which ones require actions.

Develops comprehensive software implementation procedures with robust contingency plans.

System software administration: Level 5

Level 5 - Ensure, advise: Essence of the level: Provides authoritative guidance in their field and works under broad direction. Accountable for achieving workgroup objectives and managing work from analysis to execution and evaluation.


Ensures that system software is provisioned and configured to support the achievement of service objectives.

Develops and maintains diagnostic tools and processes for troubleshooting and performance analysis.

Evaluates new system software and recommends adoption if appropriate. Plans the provisioning and testing of new versions of system software.

Ensures that operational procedures and diagnostics for system software are current, accessible and well understood. Investigates and coordinates the resolution of potential and actual service problems.

Level 6

Level 6 - Initiate, influence: Essence of the level: Has significant organisational influence, makes high-level decisions, shapes policies, demonstrates leadership, fosters organizational collaboration, and accepts accountability in key areas.

Level 7

Level 7 - Set strategy, inspire, mobilise: Essence of the level: Operates at the highest organisational level, determines overall organisational vision and strategy, and assumes accountability for overall success.