On Thu, 2007-05-31 at 19:36 +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> There's "competent", and then there's "really good". I think we probably
> have different definitions of "competent". To me, a competent sysadmin is
> one who, overall, manages to produce more good than they cost in stuffups.
> (It's depressing that there's plenty of people with root who don't meet even
> that minimum standard). They typically aren't all that eager to go out and
> learn new things and experiment with new technologies, or go outside their
> "comfort zone" to troubleshoot and problem solve.
Nail on the head.
> A really good sysadmin will "pick up" Xen pretty quickly (I did, and I
> presume a lot of the people on this list did too -- we're early adopters,
> and as such are typically the higher end of the competency gradient). If
> you need people in a hurry and you don't have the sort of contact network
> that allows you to know who most of the "really good" sysadmins in an area
> are and ask them if they want a job, then you're almost certainly not going
> to end up with a team of really good sysadmins, you're going to end up with,
> at best, competent sysadmins. Why? Because as I said earlier, the really
> good sysadmins don't watch job boards.
What you just described is the difference between a System Administrator
a System Integrator and a Programmer.
An integrator can spot a square wheel and make it (mostly) round again.
Typically, an integrator can also at least 'get by' with
Bash/Perl/C/Python and to a large extent even PHP.
An 'admin' if fresh out of the RHCE pool can install pre-packed stuff
and configure it. As they build experience they (ideally) begin building
from source, learning a bit of programming, writing some scripts, etc.
A programmer made the wheel to begin with, but unless the programmer was
an integrator, you probably need an integrator to compensate for the
programmer assuming an 'ideal world', or how the round wheel got square
to begin with.
Likewise, you don't want to pay an integrator to sit around playing
Tetris waiting for services to fail.
Most regulars on this list are integrators, so he did put the question
to the right place.
> If you've got the contacts to know who the good people are, then you
> wouldn't be putting ads on job sites and asking on mailing lists. As such,
> I presume that the OP will almost certainly have to work with the
> 'competent' grade of sysadmin, who do really benefit from a good guide while
> they're getting up to speed.
> I really, really would love it if everyone in the industry was your grade of
> "competent" (and my "really good") -- it'd save me untold frustration.
> Unfortunately, there's heaps of the lower-grade sysadmin out there, and in
> any decent sized organisation you're going to have at least a smattering of
> them. If you're really unlucky, the competent ones are the good ones...
Bah let them keep proving just how much a paper certificate is worth.
The only thing that makes one integrator any more or less competent than
the next is their methodology.
An admin is just developing a methodology, or (sadly) doesn't see the
need to since all he does is call RHEL support.
I think, at the least in any interview or consulting that you do, you
should point out that you are a system *integrator* , and the
difference, to help stop this stupid 'sysadmin' misconception.
If it keeps up, you'll refer to someone 'sysadmining' your server like
you would refer to someone 'hacking' your PayPal account.
We aren't going to stop nincompoops from calling themselves admins, so
we may as well call ourselves something else to show the difference :)
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