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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:37 pm
Posts: 31
Hey everyone. I recently got a job at an ISP/Co-Lo Data Center here in NJ. I do UNIX/Linux administration and have to deal with interfacing and talking with clients about troubleshooting their hardware/software. Since I've started here, 1 month ago, I've already learned a lot, and if this thread has the good graces to stay open, I would like to pass what I learn here to you all, for those interested in going into Administration.

The advice I give here is humble, from my own experience, and should be taken in a relative fashion.

1. Learn More: I have not yet graduated, but I can see that working here, I need to know skills that are far, far outside the scope of what I learn in class. While this is not to say that the schooling is not relevant, there is so much networking knowledge required here, that you really must read, study, and learn the trade outside of the bounds of school. I'd say a good 80% of the things I've applied in my short 1 month employment so far, have not been things I've learned through any official schooling.

2. Do not be arrogant: I am probably the most humble person you can meet. But I will admit when I was offered the admin job, ego may have taken over momentarily. When I started I was on top of the world, and when I had my first assignment, I was lost. It took another employee to graciously pull me out of the mud, and help me along. I was humbled very quickly. So I offer you this, score, don't spike, and while it may seem cool, to spout off how much you know, do it with grace and tack. I have noticed that people in our profession an be crass and obnoxious. To clients you will appear a braggart and it will be bad for whatever company who chooses to grant you employment.

3. Expand your Interests: This may be relevant to exclusively my place of employment, but we have no set electricians, or security team, so an admin will have to take care of multiple facets of work. I found myself studying electrical theory, about voltage, amperage, and current. I'm not saying you have to understand physics on a Stephan Hawking-esqe level..but learning this stuff may help you out, especially if a cabinet that has customer data in it, goes out or something similar. You can atleast know how to troubleshoot the problem.

4. Learn to troubleshoot: This is a big one. problems will arise, we have a ticket system, where if a client has a problem, they can open a ticket with us. The same is true if a link goes down, or a sever become un-reachable, or if an AC unit fails. You must learn how to gather information, and report it. Things like this are not taught in school. Digging for information, is vital if you wish to investigate what happened to a client's router? Can you ping it? Is it looping? How can you fix it? I suggest if you have the means, buying a cheap router or switch, a used computer, and try setting up and breaking things at home. Document what went wrong, and how you fixed it

5. Get used to reading logs: This goes hand in hand with the previous topic. Reading logs has become my version of reading the Star Ledger. I come into work, turn on my computer, and look at a list of logs from all different machines. From ours, to clients. Learn how to parse, pick apart, and analyze them. This is something i'm still working on myself. Different programs handle logs differently but they may be your best bet to tracking down and finding issues.

I'm stopping here for now, but hope to continue this, if anyone is interested in my findings, and to see what it's like. Thanks and see ya next time!


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