Monday, May 30, 2005

What it takes to be a system administrator?

I found this interesting article "What it takes to be a system admin?". I'm interested to know how exactly the work system admin is due to the fact that I have no formal training in this field, I think I should make an effort to be one. Like ones say, "experience is the best teacher". No one shouldn't agree with this statement. This is why we need practice (a lot). During the practice, we will encounter mistakes. With that, you'll know what's the best, what's good and what's bad and what's the worst thing to do.

Let's take a look at the key points of being a system administrator:

  1. Change your mindset -- The true SA is a combination caretaker, security guard, and baby sitter
  2. Learn new toolsets -- If one wants to move into the corporate arena, then you must be able to take whatever tools are laying around and get the job done. This means the ability to learn new tools and to use old tools in new ways.
  3. Learn to handle pressure -- Expect to have to work with others looking over your shoulder. It adds a new level of pressure to have a Senior VP of a billion dollar company watching you type! (Or just the guy who signs your paycheck.)
  4. Never start from scratch. Find something close and modify -- For scripting, start with the boot up scripts (/sbin/init.d, /etc/rc.d, etc)
  5. Hang out with experts -- Don't be afraid of appearing ignorant. Fear staying ignorant
  6. Practice good debugging habits -- Understand it the way it is (broken) before you try to fix it
  7. Learn manually, then codify -- Remember the commands by writing a script for them and commenting the script.
  8. Document what you do -- Comment your scripts liberally. The best comments (IMHO) are the ones that explain 'Why?'.
  9. Learn to share -- Share what you've learned with others (that's why I'm doing this page)
  10. Remember to have fun -- Make Unix your passion, not just your job. Don't consider becoming a SA if it isn't your passion.
Source : Jim Wildman's Moving To The Big Time

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