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How to become not just a good, but a better system administrator

Many system administrators complain about low income, monotonous work, lack of prospects. This is not beginners, but experienced professionals – so it’s not just knowledge and skills. That, except technical skills, the system administrator for perfection needs, we will consider in this article.

Soft skills
Technical skills are abilities that confirm qualifications, provide opportunities for career growth. However, more and more recruiters pay attention to the so-called “soft” skills. These include: the ability to maintain communication, teamwork, understanding and compliance with professional ethics, pronounced personal qualities, creative thinking.

According to Beyond research, soft skills are more valuable to employers than technical skills. In percentage ratio – 56/44 in favor of the first. Only 40% of companies contacted by the applicants, in summary which lists only the hard skills – the “hard” skills that can be demonstrated.

However, let’s return to the IT sphere. There is an opinion that the system administrator is a closed person who does not like to communicate with people. Of course, this is not so, but this postulate appeared not by chance. The lack of basic correctness and rudeness towards customers, unwillingness to communicate with the team – all this negatively affects the career of the system administrator. I support the facts with an example. The system administrator received a task to configure the server, executed it in time, but didn’t tell about it to the corresponding official. As a result, there is a hitch in the company’s information system and a minus in the karma of the guilty employee.

Responsibility for decisions
The system administrator is an IT specialist who supports the operation of software and computer equipment, is responsible for the information security of the company.

He should not just solve the problem, but think for the future. The fewer tasks are performed “here and now”, the better. The information system and network should work without failures, the equipment should not break down as long as possible.

To implement this, the system administrator must constantly monitor the state of networks, hardware, software work, eliminate numerous problems, attacks, threats, as well as study new IT trends and develop ways to implement them.

If there are unpleasant situations due to the fault of the system administrator, he must honestly admit it, and not “turn the switch” to other employees.

Critical thinking in problem solving
The system administrator is known in situations where you need to quickly and efficiently fix the problem. In such cases, some administrators panic, make rash steps. As a result, this further aggravates the situation. Others do the opposite – find the root cause of the problem, understand it and solve it. The first belong to the category of mediocre system administrators, the second – to professionals.

The ability to see through a problem comes with experience. This is the ability of the system administrator to recognize situations he has already faced, to use old solutions for new tasks, improving them over and over again. Experienced system administrators are flexible: they know when a previously applied solution is 100% suitable to fix the current problem, and in which cases it needs to be optimized.

The ability to think critically provides an opportunity to analyze the problem, not just get rid of it “until the next time.”

Positive attitude to work
Imagine a situation. We got to a small office and want to ask that gloomy uncle how he became the system administrator. The answer can be predicted with an accuracy of 90%: first training, then – working days, full of monotony and routine. All this, of course, tired of him, but something to change in life is not possible.

Next, we head to a large company. We need the head of the IT Department, ask him the same question. We are met by a nice young man, who says with a smile that he started like everyone else – with training: he finished IT-courses, read a lot of books, attended various industry events, talked with colleagues… and continues to do it now.

The moral of this example is that if you go into system administration with selfish motives, nothing will happen. In addition to the financial aspect, it is necessary to look for positive aspects in the work. You can, for example, choose one niche of system administration and hone knowledge specifically in this area. It is important to be in the IT-party, constantly pump yourself.

The feeling that “I’m doing this for a reason” is the highest incentive that motivates to act, to take the initiative, to reinvent the wheel. Hence the persistence, commitment, responsibility – all those qualities that help the system administrator to get out of the zone of mediocrity and move into the category of leading specialists.

Instead of output
A good system administrator solves the problem, the best – makes sure that it no longer occurs. A good system administrator wants to buy cool hardware and new software, the best – to get more knowledge, skills and abilities. The first adjusts the system for themselves, the second focuses on people.

In fact, these two do the same work, the difference is only in perception, goals and Outlook. Bill gates, Linus Torvalds, Steve jobs – they all started small, made mistakes, but tried again, each time giving 100%. A job well done did not satisfy them. They demanded from themselves and from the rest of the maximum impact, the best result. And they succeeded.

Let me finish the article with the words of the Danish scientist S. Bjorn. It’s about programmers, but that doesn’t change the point. “If you do not go beyond the “object-oriented” methods to stay within the “good programming and design”, the result is sure to get something that is basically meaningless.”

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