How I did not become you: a post of love for sysadmins

    Today is the Day of the system administrator - a professional holiday of the fighters of the hardware and software front and the best friends of users in business. On the occasion of the holiday, we asked to tell about our path to system administration ... our PR manager. We do not even know if you are lucky that our manager is not among you or not lucky. In general, read a little unusual story and judge for yourself. A source

    From the entire RegionSoft Developer Studio team we congratulate you on the holiday! We wish you a successful ITSM, the best of ITIL, SAM-free, stable DevOps and understand all these abbreviations :-) Next, we give the floor to our colleague and remind you that the employee’s articles in our blog are not edited or reviewed, and the company's position may be the same or not. match the opinion of the author.

    Hi, Habr!

    First meetings

    The first system administrator happened in a small, literally in-chamber, but public high school. He was a true friend and assistant of especially zealous guys: he gave us projectors for seminars and conferences, ordered for temporary use an old laptop Rover (once forgotten by me in a trolleybus, but saved) and even luxury — a new laptop, but not leaving the university building. If something was broken by the playful hands of enthusiasts, he helped to fix it and did not run to report that these students were trying to enter IT voluntarily and were ready to collect all the viruses and redesign the internal network (then the defense was different). I must say, he quickly uncovered our brazen grouping, and the defense became better, and the students received logins, passwords and access rights. Generally, we taught an important lesson - users cannot be trusted even if they are children of 17-18 years old with naive eyes. Then about the work of a sysadmin and there could be no talk - the stock market and mathematical analysis were fascinated many times stronger and seemed more promising.

    Of course, the Belforts did not work out of us, and almost all of them dispersed in banking and tax structures. I was brought to one of the largest IT companies in our city. And it was there that the first desire to become a system administrator appeared - firstly, it’s unreal to help 450 employees, secondly, the server was shaken by its size and equipment, thirdly, it seemed that the admin girl was just +500 to karma. I saw myself like this:


    However, the position in commerce did not make this “dream” closer. So, you need a way out. So, the first way out was the books, or rather E. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks. I did not get the latest edition, but I literally read it excitedly. There are several controversial points in the book, both in the manner of presentation and in the door-posts of the translators, but this is a real tutorial on the most complex subject. In general, my principled position is that every beginner network engineer, system administrator, developer, and tester are required to master this particular book. Then, of course, "Modern operating systems."

    At the same time, there were various articles in RuNet, but then Habr appeared in life. So, what conclusions I made from working with books.

    • Books related to technology can not be read just like that, without a pencil in your hand and without a notebook in front of your nose. In principle, this truth is learned in school and college, but for some reason it is quickly forgotten in the working conditions. Be sure to write out the key points, complex definitions, disassemble incomprehensible things (for example, unfamiliar terms should be studied further), draw diagrams, organize.
    • Books related to the development or administration, you need to read with a computer at hand - in order to organize a practice and test environment. The more you pick at the system / beat your fingers on the keyboard, the more productive the process of self-education. Do not be lazy to repeat the same action several times, do not hesitate to step to the right or left to see the environment of the process.
    • Be sure to go back to reading a couple of chapters - not because “repetition is the mother of learning,” but simply because of the clear connection between the components of the material being studied.
    • No need to throw or leaf through what did not work or did not like. Be sure to sort it out, find additional sources - otherwise this information will become your weak point. I was not given subnet masks - it took several days and a lot of material found.
    • If you are a novice IT specialist, be sure to find the book “for dummies” and just read it - this will give the most general and simplified understanding of the subject. Looking ahead, I will say that this method helped me out with Python (I am ashamed to say, but the acquaintance began with Jason Briggs’s book, Python for Children, ended with the beginning of Lutz’s book — while the language was set aside. which does not finish the job started).  

    During the reading of Tanenbaum, the admin’s fervor subsided, and I grew up and realized that software development was much more interesting, closed my eyes and went to study at a local very good corporate university.

    Combat experience

    However, life is arranged in a very unusual way and often jokes - of all the subjects of almost a two-year course, the Unix administration course turned out to be the steepest and most advanced. Everything was cool: use the console, create complex multicomponent commands (pipelines), write scripts and even compile sish code in gcc. At the same time, I abruptly changed jobs and absolutely consciously went to test complex IP-telephony systems at another large company. That's where the Unix system administration was up to and beyond - we had complete freedom not to sleep at night, linger at work, poking around in the server before installing the client build, working with a mountain of telecommunications equipment - from peaceful Linksys-ok and old-school faxes weighing 12 kg up to Cisco and the stuff you can't-call-but-we-all-understood. Since this was the first hands-on experience with equipment and networks, several months were associated with training. Conclusions have also been made.

    • If there are no mentors in the company, be sure to find a colleague who can answer your questions and help with important tasks. This does not mean that you need to cling to the sleeve and follow him or continuously call him, it is better to collect questions and ask at the end or beginning of the working day. If this is a mentor, then the rules are usually specified for communication.
    • Do not stop in studying the theory - connect books, corporate knowledge base, specialized publications, of course, Habr.
    • Use the official documentation for the software or equipment, go to the websites and forums of vendor companies and developers (how many nerves have saved for life only Microsoft TechNet).
    • Do not hide, if you have done it - your hidden mistake can lead to a series of problems with colleagues. Be sure to report your problems, discuss the mistakes, do not take other people's mistakes in the bayonets.
    • Take care of the safety of your workplace and work environment — you’ll learn to pay attention to details and keep your work done safe. In one company, enikey-razzy were taught that they knocked down the settings on an unlocked PC and left a screen saver with an obscene demand to monitor security. 1st - 2 times was enough.
    • Try as much as possible to be involved in all processes and understand the work from the inside. Among system administrators and especially DevOps there is such a practice: in the case of a request from a colleague, quickly do the work for him, without explaining anything, and continue with his tasks. It is tempting for both sides and it is not always convenient to gossip and ask: “Why, how did you do here? Slow down, I'm recording. " Choose a convenient moment and be sure to figure out what did not work out. This is not shameful.

    After a few months, I easily coped with all the basic issues of working in the console (and already got used to the fact that the PC monitor is mostly a black and white console and a modest GUI of our software), once I set up and replicated databases, did a hot-swap HDD and helped new ones set up our entire calling-listening zoo. However, with huge loads and constant processing, the salary was not a fountain and when I was called into commerce by another IT company for twice the amount, I ... could not leave for another 2 months until the project ended and the soul did not let go of amazing engineering work. But in the end, the mind turned out to be above the love of the work and, rubbing tears over the equipment, I took away my labor.

    PR under Windows: it did not seem to you

    We’re talking about further places of work not in this article, they have more to do with the “Management” stream, but, let's say, since the end of 2012 I’ve been hand in hand with the promotion of corporate software for Windows (since 2013, this is RegionSoft CRM and all other products of our own design). And, it would seem, promote, write releases, etc., but the current IT sphere requires different approaches (and this is also a topic for a separate article, which, of course, no one will write - everything is said to us) and at some point I felt that I lacked a deep understanding of how Windows and Microsoft Server work. The fact is that promotion in a professional environment should be practically at the level of engineering - only then are you on an equal footing with the audience. Otherwise - rub down your press releases, they are not interesting to anyone.

    No sooner said than done, I closed my eyes again and returned to the same corporate university for the “Microsoft Server Administration” program (7 months). And ... it turned out to be a completely different feeling from learning. When you have experience behind you, when you worked with Unix, when there is a clear understanding of what an operating system is from the inside, all that remains is ...
    ... to re-learn, trying to simultaneously cut down in my head the constant desire to compare one OS with another. Of course, thinking about windows must die was not (almost), yet I am a long-standing user and sometimes a gentle lover of this operating system and even development for it.
    The group had 12 people, all with work experience, some are enikeyschiki, some are system administrators, some are me, the only being of the female sex. After three lessons, 6 people remained, we lived to the end 5. And then I will make a very sudden digression for Habr - simply because Habr is read by both students, beginners, and those who want to “enter the IT after thirty-five”.

    <lyrical digression>
    I will tell why those 7 people left. They decided that system administration is when they are taught to connect the printer to the network and tell how to look at the list of visited sites. In their understanding, Windows existed as if by itself - and all administration came down to installing and uninstalling programs and cleaning the registry. In some companies and some other non-business places, this is true (still USB ports are blocked and floppies are pulled out (interestingly, everyone knows that this or the generation has already grown ...)). Only the process of deploying a virtual machine has already scared off the listeners and they left, returning their money. It’s a pity, of course: those who survived to Powershell and those who passed a mini-test went outside with unbuttoned jackets in minus 20 - the Airborne Forces rest.
    </ lyrical digression>

    Survivors have congregated in the first row and plunged into everything: group policies, security, forests, domains and subdomains, scripts, networking, DHCP, DNS, DFS, Hyper-V, and even SQL (here at the minimum). The classes were standard: lecture + practice. The main surprise, of course, was that all practical tasks were given in English, the interface was also English-language, and it was forbidden to turn on Russian for localization . It was an adult, serious experience - to study this business at 32 years old, in the evening after work (even two), with Unix in my head. I want the result to be heard by everyone who is going to learn something in the same situation.

    • It is imperative to go to study, even if it seems to you that the teacher is somehow weaker than you. Firstly, such courses teach practitioners, secondly, you work live, thirdly, you systematize all your knowledge and delve into rather subtle moments that you will not encounter in practice, but they can be useful.
    • It is necessary to prepare for classes, use a notebook, in the course of the lecture write down everything that is not clear and then self-fill these gaps. So perceive at times easier.
    • At home (at work) it is important to deploy the same environment in which you study in order to practice homework or simply repeat the information received.
    • Be sure to use resources and literature.
    • Try to understand the value of system administration and yourself as an employee for business - now you are not the person who commands the traffic, but an important business unit. In your hands are licensing, security, cost savings, IT infrastructure development, complex integration challenges and the introduction of new hardware and software. Maybe DevOps is yours.
    • Write scripts - this is a cool automation tool, which also teaches to achieve the goal in the minimum number of steps and not to produce entities (alas, it does not always work, sometimes the script looks very sad, you need to work on it).
    • Feel free to ask questions and look for answers. Yes, it is not always pleasant, yet we are such adults and experienced. Sometimes you can get silence in response. But we are not in kindergarten to be offended and remain with nothing.
    • Apply knowledge in practice - at least for your work or home PC. Knowledge does not lie a dead weight - they evaporate.

    I got everything I wanted from the course and more. At the moment, I am pleased with all the projects that I do, and I feel that now the quality of work has grown. For the sake of interest, I went for three interviews with a system administrator. I cannot disclose the details of the first, it was the authorities - let's say, there were more questions about Outlook and Excel than about networks and domains. But the other two were very different.

    The first is an industrial trading company. The previous fighter went to another company in DevOps and left the IT infrastructure in near-perfect condition. Everything is at a minimum: Active Directory, 57 users, remote terminals, some commercial equipment and mobile, peripherals, there is already a neat (surprisingly neat!) License management policy, a sysadmin in the singular.

    The second is an IT company. Needless to say, I have not grown up to this yet, the matter is already in practice: high-load systems, Kubernetes, Docker, RHEL / CentOS, a million questions on security and resiliency. I was pleased that in theory I answered most of the questions, but at the end of the interview I honestly admitted that I was not ready for practical work, because I know about these technologies only from books and Habra.

    I was invited to a trading company. But I repeat that it was only for the purpose of analyzing my level, I’m not looking for work, so I had to refuse.

    So I did not become a system administrator. I met different sysadmins: purely “Bashivskih” and overgrown, tough guys who are able to follow alone the scale of the level of the regional branch of a huge company, lazy and hardworking, harmful and responsive. I always liked the work of these guys - to make the lives of other people easier and more convenient. And its own - more fun and diverse, here the users also took care :-)

    Friday night is the favorite time of the toughest incidents. Let today be an exception day. In general, all of the holiday!

    Our RegionSoft CRM , which is nice to adminit :-)

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