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Computer System Administration


rpt
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Hello, this question is direct at Matt Lestock (if of course you have time to answer it). I see that you're a computer system administration at a company. And I'm wondering whats its like? Is it a 9-5 job? Exciting boring? What schooling did you go through to get that job? Is that pay good (you don't have to answer if you would not like to)

I will be starting this major next fall.

http://www.technology.ccsu.edu/programs/pr...ing_Courses.pdf

Personally I don't think its enough education for the IT world. Maybe it is.. Also where do you think it will take me?

After doing this I would love and probably will get my masters in Computer information systems

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x562.xml

While doing this I will be studying for the Network+ exam ect

This is a pretty broad thread just throw out what you think :)

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Hello, this question is direct at Matt Lestock (if of course you have time to answer it). I see that you're a computer system administration at a company. And I'm wondering whats its like? Is it a 9-5 job? Exciting boring? What schooling did you go through to get that job? Is that pay good (you don't have to answer if you would not like to)

I will be starting this major next fall.

http://www.technology.ccsu.edu/programs/pr...ing_Courses.pdf

Personally I don't think its enough education for the IT world. Maybe it is.. Also where do you think it will take me?

After doing this I would love and probably will get my masters in Computer information systems

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x562.xml

While doing this I will be studying for the Network+ exam ect

This is a pretty broad thread just throw out what you think :)

While I don't deal with nearly anything close to what Matt probably does, I'm a student Systems Administrator. Here's what I can impart (usefulness to be determined by you).

My advisor sent a massive email to the CS and CE students about a job offering. I was required to know Windows and have familiarity with OS X and Linux (any kind). Shell scripting was highly desirable, but I haven't written any scripts for my job (only for my scripting class). I was also required to have some hardware experience, but told that there wouldn't be any soldering or highly technical nonsense. Four students applied, and I was somehow deemed more qualified, even as a first year transfer student. The job pays $10/hr, and is meant to be long term, meaning I stay working as long as I'm in school.

The university was looking to hire someone to fill scheduling gaps, as one of my bosses had a few classes on Tuesday and Thursday. So I worked 9:30-5 on those days. The full time, non student employees do in fact work 8-5. They also are constantly on call via text alerts. If, for example, the mail server fails, it's imperative to get it working as soon as possible, even at 2 AM.

We have a few very specific admins:

  • UNIX admin that keeps an eye on the UNIX server the students use. It's so important that it's on his name plaque next to the door, "UNIX Administrator." He also manages the mail server.
  • My main boss who can do everything it seems.
  • A hardware admin that manages our supercomputers. I don't see him much and have one been in the supercomputer room twice. He, like my boss, can do everything and went to school for 6 years.
  • A customer support specialist. I think that's his title. He gets batch licenses for software, deals with defective product returns and is head of professors that need support with their projects.
  • Then there's me, a low level supporter. Everyone except the UNIX admin also does my job on the side when there is little do to or when the projects are too complicated or require sudo access.

My job starts by going to my office, logging in to my computer and logging into RT (http://bestpractical.com/). My coworkers may have given me support tickets to work on. This may be anywhere from installing a windows ghost image to the labs to transplanting laptop displays. Whenever anyone in CS has a problem, they submit a support ticket, and I'm able to do it, I take it and complete the job. I also deal with walk-ins, students that can't print, or whatever.

The job is fantastic. When there are no tickets, I'm pretty much free to do whatever I feel like online. Which of course, can be painfully dull when it's a slow week (finals week for example). There are some very exciting moments though. One time, a student hacked our printer display to output a message, and I wrote a small program to hack it back (turns out it was an open port, 9100 if I'm not mistaken). I made the printer say "I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGR." When I get to go to the other, smaller server room to work (not the supercomputer room), is also exciting.

There are definitely things I don't deal with, some of which you would, so I can't help you there. Example is SAMBA and Windows Active Directory are linked so UNIX/Linux/Windows can print on lab computers. When it breaks, I have no idea what to do. Also, I was given admin privileges on Windows, Mac and Linux to perform administrative tasks. However, I have not been given sudo access on UNIX, where MANY necessary things take place. This is because I'd be able to view cleartext versions of professor, graduate and student passwords, along with the capability of a root level "rm -r *" decimating the university's infrastructure and professor research. I am still a student, and while they may trust me, there are ethical implications involved.

You'll also deal with your share of outright horrible people that will constantly hound you with nonexistent problems that they seem to be having.

So while I have no idea what you'll need. I suggest you familiarize yourself with Linux, UNIX, shell scripting and the command line for sure. My bosses seem to spend 75% of their time in the console/terminal. Other than that, i have no other information for you. Since I am not even a "real" systems administrator, I would advise taking everything I said anecdotally, and to listen to the real admins out there (that hopefully help you by responding to the thread).

I'm not in school for systems administration, but it will prove to be very useful for getting a job later. Try asking your school if they have a student position open, of if you could "intern" there for experience. It may prove invaluable later.

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i agree that seems pretty low, i am going to a CC(dmacc.edu) and they make you take more computer classes then that(depending on if you want to take linux or microsoft). here is what i am required to take. Up at our 4 year colleges (iowa state, UNI) you have to take a lot more. So to me is seems low.

https://go.dmacc.edu/pibs/documents/inftechna.pdf

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I've done a variety of sysadmin gigs over the last 8 years, and I don't have a degree. I took plenty of IT classes, just never earned a full-on degree.

If you can weasel your way into the Information Services department at school on a work study, apprentice or part-time basis, you'll likely be able to hang out with the real systems admins at school quite a bit. You'll learn more that way than you will in any classroom. Set yourself up a server within VirtualBox or some other virtualization platform (or use an old junker machine on your home network) and start playing around. Server 2003 (Windows) or Ubuntu Server Edition (Linux) are reasonable places to start. You could also try Windows 2000 Server (runs on slower hardware better) or one of the free enterprise-based Linux distros such as CentOS.

Unfortunately, classes really can't prepare you for sysadmin life. They can teach you the commands and actions to perform certain tasks on the operating systems. Classes can also teach you about things like troubleshooting hardware problems, project management, and stuff. There's a lot more to sysadmin work than that, though. This includes office politics, irate and selfish users, how to genuinely automate your own mundane work, and a myriad of other things that classroom time simply cannot prepare you for.

When things are running smooth, you're basically invisible. You can, as was mentioned, often go off and do whatever you want. The flip side is that no one really appreciates your work when things are running smoothly, but at the first sign of trouble, they want your head on a silver platter. If you're lucky, they'll praise you if you get the problem fixed quickly, but usually they'll just whine about how much time or work they lost.

While some sysadmins slack off in the downtime, I usually look for ways to increase system performance, reliability and recoverability. I do this through security testing, server status history analysis (big brother, Cacti, etc) database, filesystem and kernel tuning, ensuring the backup scheme is optimal and running properly, etc. I have to test a lot of the tuning stuff in the lab environment and wait until we're allowed to change settings on the servers to make it to the production environment, but there's a lot of stuff you can do with your free time to make sure that your job is easier in the future.

It's usually a 9-5 (or 8-5 with an hour lunch) type job. Usually, sysadmins spend some time on-call, where they may be pulled into work in the middle of the night for some system failure, or perhaps need to work late if they have to migrate a server, do security patches, etc.

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From what I hear it's a good field to get into. The college I want to attend will cover all aspects of basic programming, web development/design, and system administration. So that leaves me with a couple of directions to go. So you can try out the web design field and say it sucks then go to the sys admin route and say you love it.

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It's usually a 9-5 (or 8-5 with an hour lunch) type job.

Hell yeah!

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thank you all for your input its greatly appreciated :)

I'm wondering what will the people looking to hire think when they see

Bachlors: Industrial Technology: Networking

Master: Computer information systems

Will they like it? Or will they say that my bachelors didn't train me enough for the job desired.

But I'm taking that because there is no other alternative to me there is no other school with a good major I can take. All there is, is computer science. But I don't want to learn about that. So while I'm doing my normal school degrees i will take classes at a another college

http://tunxis.commnet.edu/programs/degrees/

If you click on Computer Information Systems: Network Administration Option, I will take a few classes such as, Windows Server Administration, and Unix/Linux System Administration just to broaden my knowledge.

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thank you all for your input its greatly appreciated :)

I'm wondering what will the people looking to hire think when they see

Bachlors: Industrial Technology: Networking

Master: Computer information systems

Will they like it? Or will they say that my bachelors didn't train me enough for the job desired.

But I'm taking that because there is no other alternative to me there is no other school with a good major I can take. All there is, is computer science. But I don't want to learn about that. So while I'm doing my normal school degrees i will take classes at a another college

http://tunxis.commnet.edu/programs/degrees/

If you click on Computer Information Systems: Network Administration Option, I will take a few classes such as, Windows Server Administration, and Unix/Linux System Administration just to broaden my knowledge.

As said before, it's hard to be trained for something like this, I'd say. It really depends on where you work, where they'll have their own rules and standards for dealing with things. It seems to me that the classes you'd be taking are okay..., college doesn't necessarily teach you everything about the particular field the major applies to. In some cases, what you studied is irrelevant, but merely going to school is enough (not that I'm saying it applies here).

If you have questions, talk to your advisor and look at some prominent company job applications and see what they're looking for.

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thank you all for your input its greatly appreciated :)

I'm wondering what will the people looking to hire think when they see

Bachlors: Industrial Technology: Networking

Master: Computer information systems

Will they like it? Or will they say that my bachelors didn't train me enough for the job desired.

But I'm taking that because there is no other alternative to me there is no other school with a good major I can take. All there is, is computer science. But I don't want to learn about that. So while I'm doing my normal school degrees i will take classes at a another college

http://tunxis.commnet.edu/programs/degrees/

If you click on Computer Information Systems: Network Administration Option, I will take a few classes such as, Windows Server Administration, and Unix/Linux System Administration just to broaden my knowledge.

WOW ... small world !! I attended Tunxis back in 2001 for certs in Networking !! You're going the right direction, but as others have said there's nothing like real world hands on experience. (which they should give you some of at Tunxis)

Over the years I've setup multiple test networks/equipment in my home for learning on. Really IS useful !

I currently work in a tech support field,.. but it's call center corporate stuff... the pay is alright but I'm still working towards more hands on server side work ... I'll get there soon enough :)

Good luck in your learning !!

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The classes and degrees will only get you the interviews. But in the meantime you need to just do a lot of learning on your own. Signup for some technology podcasts. Start reading technology news daily. Start reading lots of computer magazines. I know if I was interviewing a kid right out of college this may seem silly, but I'd ask what kind of setup are you running at home? You better have some geek on your own home network to prove you even love to work with technology. If you don't, start geeking out your house so you can learn on some level. Also, let your friends, family, neighbors know that your a computer geek and you will fix there computers for free. You have to start somewhere. You should also start looking into interships or voluteer work. Hospitals are usually good for that or even the local library. You don't magically get a job right of of college with a degree in computer science. It's going to take some work on your part. If you love to work with computers and technology and are playing with tech at home and want to keep learning, the jobs will not be hard to get.

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