1 / 36

Careers in System Administration

Careers in System Administration Fran Fabrizio UAB Computer and Information Sciences Talk Outline A Day in the Life… What is a Sysadmin? What does a sysadmin do on a daily basis? Other kinds of sysadmins Does This Sound Interesting? Benefits of Being a Sysadmin Compatibility

Download Presentation

Careers in System Administration

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. Careers in System Administration Fran Fabrizio UAB Computer and Information Sciences

  2. Talk Outline • A Day in the Life… • What is a Sysadmin? • What does a sysadmin do on a daily basis? • Other kinds of sysadmins • Does This Sound Interesting? • Benefits of Being a Sysadmin • Compatibility • Traits of Successful Sysadmins • Preparing to Be a Sysadmin • Required Skills • Ideas for College

  3. A Day in the Life… • What is a sysadmin? • What types of things do they do? • The different types of sysadmins

  4. What is a Sysadmin? • Google’s answer to define:sysadmin • This is the person or people that takes care of a UNIX system This person has full access to all system resources. • Employee responsible for a company's computer network, also sometimes called a network administrator. A sysadmin's duties may include configuring the company's firewall, acquiring and installing hardware, setting up email addresses and keeping the printers working. • A job position of engineers involved in computer systems. They are the people responsible for running the system, or running some aspect of it.

  5. What is a Sysadmin? • My informal definition… • “A person who is responsible for creating and maintaining an IT environment (or some aspect of it) to support users’ needs.” • How it relates to other areas of IT / CS? • Draw picture

  6. How I Became a Sysadmin(An extremely concise history of my past 14 years) • Left TJ and went to Wash U. wanting to be a doctor • Organic Chemistry happened. I didn’t want to be a doctor any more. I was good with computers, so I tried computer science • I was a programmer for 6 years, first at a local St. Louis company, then at WebMD • I had to find a job in Birmingham. This one was mistakenly listed as a programmer job. I learned otherwise at the interview. They still hired me! • (More practical advice coming later…)

  7. What I Do • Higher Education Sysadmin • Department of Computer and Information Sciences • University of Alabama at Birmingham • IT staff consists of myself and 3-4 student workers

  8. Scope • 20 faculty and staff • 250 students • My organization is responsible for something like 400-500 systems • ~ $1.5 - 2 million in IT

  9. A Brief Tour • Slide Show

  10. The Mythical Typical Day • Each day is completely different from the last • Everchanging activities • reactive, “helpdesk response” • proactive, strategic project development • physical labor • Teaching • Working with vendors • doing the “soft” stuff - administrative, PR, recruitment, professional development (like this talk)

  11. Job Responsibilities • The entire IT cycle • Research • Vendor negotiations • Procurement • Receiving • Installation • Configuration • Maintenance • Decommission

  12. Job Responsibilities • End User Support • Answering helpdesk requests • Setting up laptops and desktops • Handling department guests • Academic Support • Setting up servers and software for academic activities • Research Support • Maintaining specialized research equipment and services • Infrastructure Support • Core production servers - email, web, etc… • Centralized storage and account management • Network infrastructure

  13. Job Responsibilities • Other activities • Managing the student staff • Maintaining vendor relationships • Coordinating with other areas of campus IT • Public relations - giving tours, attending events, creating department advertising • Grant writing • User training

  14. Job Responsibilities • Even more activities • Producing documentation • Teaching classes, seminars and workshops • Annual budget • Strategic planning • Training and development

  15. Recent Tasks • Provide IT support to Alabama High School Programming Contest including development of program to automate submissions • Install security cameras • Upgrade cluster software • Troubleshoot error conditions on server hardware • Create system for automating subversion access and wikis for new accounts • Wrote a grant proposal for student technology fees

  16. Recent Tasks • Develop system to automate lab machine installs based on location and role • Troubleshoot lost DHCP packets • Prepare workstations for summer research students • Migrate users to new email system • Install interactive monitors and remote lab PC control software and create training docs

  17. Other Types of Sysadmins • Corporate • Network • Database • Security • Domain-Specific

  18. Domain-Specific Admins • Bioinformatics • Computer Forensics • Computational Chemists • High Performance Computing • Most physical sciences have become extremely computation-oriented. They need people who understand IT -and- their world.

  19. Does This Sound Interesting? • Debunking some Myths • Benefits of the job • Compatibility

  20. Myths of Sysadmins • They’re in front of a computer all day. • They don’t interact with people much. • They never get to program. • It’s not a very creative job.

  21. Why I Like My Job • Challenging • Hard problems • Never the same day twice • Great if you are easily bored • Always learning something new • IT reinvents itself every few years • Freedom • Autonomy, independence

  22. Why I Like My Job • Academic Environment • Relaxed / casual, respectful, supportive • Feeling of Enabling People • Pay and Benefits • High salaries • Get to travel a lot • Public sector advantages

  23. A Quick Look at the Industry(this slide is for the parents!) • The IT job outlook is phenomenally good right now • The outsourcing myth - debunked! • Explosion in need - 43% job growth • Job happiness - IT dominates these rankings • Competitive salaries - Top 5 of all degrees. Start > $50k.

  24. Is Sysadmin Right for Me? • I like to always be doing something different. • I am spontaneous and adapt well to sudden changes and new situations. • I multitask well and don’t mind interruptions. • I don’t fear the unknown.

  25. Is Sysadmin Right for Me? • I welcome challenging problems. • I enjoy installing and debugging computer hardware and software. • I get along with all sorts of personalities easily. • I work well under pressure. • I like puzzles.

  26. Is Sysadmin Right for Me? • I’d rather know a little about a lot than a lot about a little • I don’t mind unpredictable work schedules and being on call • I like to take things apart and figure out how they work

  27. Preparing to be a Sysadmin • Required Skills • Traits of Successful Sysadmins • Maximizing College

  28. Required Skills • “Hard” skills • Must be an expert hardware and software tinkerer • Comfortable in multiple Oses • Install and configure server and client software • Know how networks work and how computers communicate • Script programming • Leveraging the Internet for information • One of the biggest mistakes I see young admins make!

  29. Required Skills • Hard Skills • Linux, Windows, OS X, Solaris, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, HTML, XML, CSS, AJAX, Active Directory, SQL, Amanda, TCP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, IMAP, POP, SVN, CVS, LDAP, DNS, DHCP, SSH, SFTP, FTP, SSL, Java, Apache, Tomcat, MySQL, PostgreSQL, RRT, Cricket, Nagios, Samba, SMB, BOOTP, IPMI, PXE, Python, sh, bash, csh, MPI, SGE, Globus, Grid, Cluster, CUPS, LPR, DFS, EXT3, Reiser, XFS, JFS, Squid, iptables, IBRIX, Infiniband, Ethernet, DVI, USB, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe, DIMM, CMOS, BIOS, ISO, IIS, Postfix, sendmail, dovecot, courier-imap, scp, df, du, top, uptime, find, tar, tail, less, grep, ls, vi, emacs, ps, man, which, crontab, cp, dump, more, ruby, c, c++, sed, awk, proc, postscript, pdf, latex, drupal, plone, modprobe, regedit, group policy, ping, route………. • The point is, you obviously can’t learn all of these, so focus on getting a good foundation and being able to learn new things quickly.

  30. Required Skills • Soft Skills • Be an excellent communicator • Written • Verbal • Communicating technical information clearly and concisely is extremely hard! • Adaptability • The landscape is constantly changing. Stay ahead of the curve by keeping track of current development, maintaining current training, and trying new things.

  31. Required Skills • Soft Skills • Tolerance, Patience and Compassion • End users can be difficult and unreasonable • Put yourself in their shoes • Self-Motivating • Often, the only time you hear from users is when there’s something wrong. The best ones remember to praise you when things go right, but don’t rely on it for motivation • Creativity • Ability to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems

  32. Successful Sysadmins… • Generalize. • They become a Jack-of-all-Trades. They don’t get trapped in a specific technology or product. • Are expert problem solvers. • They understand how to attack the unknown in manageable, measured steps. • Are very good at time management. • They manage information and workflow effectively.

  33. Successful Sysadmins… • Think ahead. • Put monitoring systems in place before the problem exists. Identify bottlenecks and weaknesses and address them. • Solve a problem once. • Build a permanent solution, not a one-time hack job. “Higher Order Administration” • Are often outgoing, social people

  34. How To Prepare • Most college programs don’t do a good job of preparing people to be sysadmins • Which department? Computer Science? Computer Engineering? MIS? • My choice, and why

  35. Maximizing College Opportunities • While at college, try to work at student labs and helpdesk jobs and get IT internships and co-ops. • Good classes to take: • Technical writing • Networking • computer architecture • operating system theory • scripting languages • web applications/services • distributed computing • computer security

  36. The End • Thank you! • Questions? • Contact me at fran@cis.uab.edu

More Related