[rescue] Small servers (was Re: WTT: 1.5G of PC2700 for 1G of PC100)

Robert Darlington rdarlington at gmail.com
Thu May 8 10:45:20 CDT 2008

One of the classic questions I put out for interviewees is "Do you
work on your own car?"  Tinkering and the inclination to tinker is a
major part of what makes a good sysadmin (or a good just about
anything else).  Sure, a degree proves you can stick it out and do the
work required for school, and proving you can work hard is important.
I recognize that being able to work hard doesn't necessarily have to
be proven in the form of a degree through.

For the record, I know a handfull of CS degree holders that are good
admins.  Getting the degree didn't gift them with the mindset required
for the job -it was just a natural extension of what they liked to do.
 I personally can't imagine going for a CS degree.  It's incredibly
boring, not very challenging (unless you count all the crap homework
assignments), and I really don't see much change in the field since
Knuth laid the groundwork in his books in the 60s.  In other words,
it's not for me.  (I'm going for EE currently, specializing in antenna
design, fields and waves, and signal propagation -most likely boring
to most!)

I also know a lot of slackers that are great sysadmins until it comes
time to do real work or work on something other than Linux or Windows.
These are the kind I don't hire.

On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 9:29 AM, Sridhar Ayengar <ploopster at gmail.com> wrote:
> J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
>> I couldn't possibly disagree more.  Sure, some folks with CS degrees
>> are good admins, and some lacking degrees aren't.  But the degree,
>> itself, is neither here nor there.  What is required to make a good
>> admin is the right mindset.  I have found that people are either
>> logically and systematically thinking, or they are not, and no amount
>> of instruction can change from one to the other.  Another thing that
>> is required to be a good admin is someone who is dedicated enough to
>> spend the time that the job requires.  Not only the maintenance
>> windows, on-call, etc., but also the time at home spent keeping up
>> with the technology and the current best thought, in the field.  9-5
>> SA's are useless, IMO.
> I've been called to interview people in the past.  I've found that many
> computer science graduates from schools with good reputations and high GPAs
> tend not to be useful for anything.  The people who have computer science
> degrees and do good work tend to be those who *didn't* get good grades,
> because they were too busy tinkering in the lab.
> The tinkerer's attitude seems to be common among those who end up being good
> workers, even if they don't have a degree or if they have a degree in some
> unrelated subject.
> Peace...  Sridhar
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