How to Become a System Administrator - A Beginner's Guide (Part 3)

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    In this part: how to end being an enikey and becoming a system administrator.

    So, let's say you work enikey. Perhaps the second or even third job. Suppose you took seriously my advice to read 20-30 IT books a year and read as many as 4 books over the past two years. You have an extensive experience of communicating with users, you are no longer afraid to beat the tambourine, and you learned to send users successfully better than the administrator. (Isn't this the reason for the third job?).

    There are two important factors in the “end of career”: where to leave and how to leave.

    I’ll say a very important thing, many people working in “junior positions” do not understand it, but in fact it is very important:

    Do not spoil your karma

    Don't quit all of a sudden.

    If you leave work in the “yes, I’ve figured out the printer, by the way, I’m not working here on the first day, if that, now I’ll go and see what happened in the accounting department”, then they will be offended. Why? Because it’s more difficult to find an intelligent enikey (as well as an admin) than to find an intelligent enikey. And for you, a “week without work” can and has some unpleasant financial results, but, in fact, is not fatal. For a company, stopping work due to a sudden absence of employees is a much more painful process.

    Most enikeys and novice admins subconsciously (or consciously?) Fear that they will be put out the door at the first stutter about finding a new job.

    It will probably be so with inadequate people, but the reaction of the adequate ones will be much better than you expect. If you say, “I’m already tired of working here, now I’m looking for a new job for myself”, then you will give much more time to find a replacement for you. It’s clear that this is a risk: if you are “looking for a new job” and you are sitting still, you get a silly situation. But, in modern realities (Moscow, St. Petersburg), you will find it for yourself completely, even if not as good as you expected. And having said in advance that you are leaving, you will give the opportunity to find a replacement in a calm and not in an emergency mode. And yes, the company is better off paying you and your follower a couple of weeks sn, than pushing you right out the door, taking in your place a noob with no experience in the company. If you haven’t been fired before, Why should the employer part with you ahead of schedule? The noob will be learning from you for the first weeks (fewer idioms and admin accesses), and you will quietly look for work.

    Why these difficulties, when you can just slap on the table and say "in two weeks I have no spirit here"?

    Because the higher your qualifications, the less you will be a faceless gray mass of the same category with the warehouse staff. And if your sudden departure, leaving behind a feeling of "setup" - then this is very bad. You will be remembered, and perhaps in the future they will simply not deal with you. And, I repeat, the higher the qualification, the smaller the world in which you rotate. If you want to go up - do not destroy what you are following.

    The most terrible option for leaving is immediately after the vacation.

    If you want to have a normal relationship - go away smoothly. An example from my experience: this winter I parted with a small company, which I kept on outsourcing. Due to the specific working conditions, an adequate replacement was found only after 4 months. I said that I was no longer interested in working with them in February, but left in May. Of course, not always such extreme conditions, but try to meet the employer in such matters.

    About where to go

    The first option is again enikey, possibly for a lot of money. By and large, it makes no sense - you will gradually begin to appear the bad habits of long-standing low-skilled work. Set a limit for yourself - in enikeys no more than one and a half - two years. If you work with Enikey for more than 5 years, then the prospects of becoming a specialist in some area (other than enikeystvo) will become very illusive.

    The second option is to go to sales managers / industrial climbers, etc. - at your discretion, I don’t know anything (although there will be more money).

    The obvious third way is to look for a job as a system administrator. There are two options - either the current system administrator leaves and you automatically receive a career promotion, or you leave for the administrator in another company.

    To go to the admin - you need to have enough courage and knowledge. Courage - because you have to become extreme in all the problems of an outside company, about which you are neither a dream nor a spirit. Previously, if you couldn’t do something, the stern and angry admin would sit down to do it himself, even if he scolded you. Now - you are extreme.

    The option of “upgrading” to the admin is much more pleasant - a familiar team, a familiar technique, a familiar person who can be asked a question if it is completely bad. However, keep in mind that this is a very, very harsh step. Usually there are Enikeys in large enough companies, and you will find yourself face to face with not ten computers and no one giving up the server, but in the conditions of the powerful infrastructure that you count on - and not at all to sit in the contact zone, these servers are more likely In total, what is called a “mission critical”, that is, they bring money to the company (and when they are idle, they bring losses). And they will ask you in full growth, and even with the thought “he doesn’t know anything, and this month he blew dust from working servers”. Less radical is the increase in the conditions of a large IT department - in this case there are colleagues and bosses who will not let it fall at all. But they will be much more stringent judges than those who have little understanding in IT.

    About when to leave

    As I said, there is a categorical “no” right after the holidays, holidays, at the time of the emergency, etc. I wrote about external circumstances above. Here - about the inner feeling about your qualifications.

    Everyone determines the exact moment of departure for himself; but remember, working as an administrator is more difficult than it seems at first glance. The luxury of leaving work in time for you will be closed for the next couple of years.

    By the time you leave, you should have experience installing and configuring an active directory from scratch (I still go along the Windows path, about more interesting career options a bit later), be able to organize a small company network. Practice - virtualization will allow you to fully play with the cool topology almost on a laptop.

    There is a certain tradition of trying to get certificates for various technologies. They will not significantly add skills, they will give any knowledge. The main thing that affects certificates is the salary and the chances of being taken for vacancies in all sorts of cool offices for small posts. If you have money, time and desire - receive, they will not be superfluous. Generally, this is a more general principle: never avoid learning. Especially if you are given it during working hours, especially if it is specialized, especially if it is at the expense of the employer.

    Try not to leave “as soon as you turned up where” - I wrote above about the problems of sudden leaving, plus, leaving on the first sneeze you run the risk of finding yourself in the wrong place. If there is no particular choice with the enikey, then with administration I really do not advise to run anywhere just to become an administrator. You should especially be careful with the vacancies that say "system administrator", and according to the description - it is not clear what. Often, support staff, enikeyschikov, etc. are recorded in system administrators. For a sonorous line in the resume is not bad, but you will lose a piece of your life there.

    So, the correct solution looks like this:
    • you are more or less mistaken with what is happening in the company where you work.
    • you studied what could be studied within the scope of the tasks available to you (it is useless to cram BGP on two switches and a dlink router with NAT)
    • You have money for a month and a half of a quiet life. It is necessary in case you do not cope with the new job and part with you.

    After that, go to the authorities, calmly say that your qualifications have increased, and you want to start looking for a new job, specifying that you do not plan to leave "right now." If the authorities are adequate, then they will understand it correctly. If not, do not forget about reserve money, and in any case they will not put you up instantly, but at some reasonable time.

    By the way, if the company is large, then you may just be offered a promotion. But do not insist on it in the “give more, otherwise I’ll leave” mode - this is incorrect and in such conditions they will definitely not give you anything. If you were offered a raise, then do not rush with open arms, say what you want to think for a week. Although I advise you to agree - making a career is better than changing jobs.

    After that, you start looking for work. A resume, a description of skills, experience is a must. By the way, if the authorities were adequate and took the care calmly, here is an important point: the contacts of the person you still work with, where you can find out how and what. Again, the adept bosses will calmly react to your absences during interviews, which will not have to be “hidden” for being late and for personal problems.

    And again the interview

    Key changes: your previous work, your success story, deeper knowledge and skills. Since none of this actually exists, you have to inflate a little. But a little bit - for empty stories will not convince anyone of anything.

    There are several options in which you find yourself:

    • You will be interviewed by a professional in his team. The chances of getting there (if we are talking about the career that I am describing) are few, if you get there, you are lucky.
    • You will be interviewed by a professional to replace yourself. With a high probability, you will be taken if the interviewee has the goal of “dying off the task of finding a replacement for oneself” or not, if the interviewee has the task of showing how unique and irreplaceable he is.
    • You will be interviewed by a layperson - an aunt from HR, a director, a person who is considered an IT director, but who does not understand the issue, etc.
    • They attach you to meet you. The most disgusting option, because everyone who knows about the "acquaintance" believes that you are here by the thrash and really can not do anything, plus they expect from you that you can, but you don’t know, you’re coming to this job or get a salary for meeting your older brother from the deputy director of this office. Plus, you have psychological problems demanding a raise, leaving work, etc.

    Depending on the scenario, you will be asked either very difficult questions or stupid ones. Although I wrote the types of interviews, I can’t give specific tips for each of them - almost everything that I said about the interview with the enikeyschik is applicable here.

    You are the admin. Hurrah?

    I leave aside the question of what to do in the team (what they said, what to do) and tell you about the scenario when you turned out to be the System Administrator of a small office, which decided to save on the admin and agreed to take a low-skilled noob for a ridiculous salary (that is, you).

    I repeat:
    1. You are now responsible for everything that happens with computers.
    2. You must predict the future development of infrastructure.
    3. It depends on you whether the infrastructure will be dull crap or will work fine.

    Most likely, in the first months there will be no time for systematic training. Your task is to understand everything that your predecessor did, both in the sense of “what he wanted to do” and in the sense of “what happened”.

    Do not be angry to be outraged when confronted with a thing unknown to you that seems illogical - perhaps this has deep considerations that you should be aware of, but you do not know them. A quick example from life: on Windows in the DNS settings are indicated not only domain controllers, but also a Unix caching DNS server that does not support dynamic updates. This causes a desperate flood in the event log - but this was done in order to avoid air conditioning at the network start after a blackout (DCs suffer much longer than most other servers). In this case, you need to remember about the features of caching and reset the cache in case of a change in AD configuration.

    Just do not blame the predecessor for the apparent "hack." The right to scold someone will appear after you do better.

    And no, the phrase “you don’t need to be a cook to say that the food is burnt” does not apply to the situation when you are also a cook. Make it better first, and then scold.

    However, closer to the point.

    Your immediate tasks: find documentation or create it if there are no networks on the device, a list of equipment with settings for management interfaces and passwords, similar for servers, a list of workstations, printers, etc.

    Without understanding the network configuration, you cannot do anything (good).

    After the configuration is written out, try to draw it schematically. Try to determine if there are distribution and core level in the network (the beginnings), why this or that equipment is here. If you have enough qualifications, try to estimate the size of broadcast domains and traffic at nodal points. Traffic in LAN is difficult to consider, but it is clear that a bunch of employees sitting with a network printer in one network segment, but working with 1C on a file share in another, connected through a 100Mb router is a bad place, a source of potential failures (including 1C and so on .d.).

    After the network topology, try to put together all the rights (groups, service accounts) and shared resources.

    After that, try to find out all the non-standard services that work on the network. This is usually done through the employees who use them. To know in advance about the existence of a system for automatic metering of fuel consumption is much better than to find out about it together with the complaint “stopped working”.

    The same applies to server configurations - lists of accepted domains, sites, mail domains, redirects, organizing Internet access, accounting for traffic consumption, etc. Particular emphasis on software licensing. Be sure to backup all that is. Try to pick it up on a test machine (attention: the machine must be physically isolated from the main network, otherwise you can catch terrible problems with conflicts of the same settings).

    With high probability you will find more than a lot of new things for yourself. And that determines your primary education. As soon as you come across any new service (and, assuming that you are a native of Enikey, each service is new to you) - do not be lazy:
    a) Find literature and read. This time, not 20 (4) books per year - not more than a week or two per book. Yes, you no longer have free time and will not have it in the coming year.
    b) Recreate the configuration from work on test equipment. It is necessary - redo the home computer. It is better to study how a service works on a working service than on its fragments. Even in the simplest setup of a squid, you will find a lot of new and unexpected things for yourself. Moreover, it is not a fact that it is in the setting itself that the general admin level will swing (from the simplest “how to edit a file” to the sudden question “how do programs choose which IP to use as source?”)
    C) Do not change anything just like that . It works - do not touch. Until you outgrow the complexity of the configuration, you cannot break it. This should tell you instincts. If there is no such instinct, you are mistaken in the profession.

    In the next part: how administrators live, what is specialization and when to blame ...

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