Learn or Burn. A lesson for Sys Admins


Be constantly learning
    The fun side of studying

Part III of my “Understanding or Memorizing” series. In 2006 a friend and former co-worker came into our offices and saw
Adam reading about some new Systems Management technologies that were in the early phases of acceptance. Our mutual friend went up to Adam and, interrupting his studies, said “Why are you studying? I thought you were a wizard!” I still love Adam’s reply (paraphrased) “If I am a Wizard then it’s only because I actually do study.” 

Touché. (By the way, Adam IS a wizard. Ask anyone who has ever worked with him…that dude is siiiick.)

Keep sharp. Be constantly learning about new and evolving technology, especially if it has to do with your career. Do you know where to go when you have questions? Have you signed up with the
SysAdmin Network? What about ServerFault and The Nubby Admin?

I live and die by O’Reilly books. Mine are dog-eared, written on, highlighted, and some pages have tea or coffee stains.

Eric Sink wrote a fantastic book called “Eric Sink On The Business Of Software“. This was one of the best books that I read in 2007. On Page 108 he gives some recaps related to hiring qualified developers (easily translated to Sys Admins). The first three points are of special interest to me:

  1. Can this candidate bring something to the team that nobody else has?
  2. Is this candidate constantly learning?
  3. Is this candidate aware of his/her weaknesses and comfortable discussing them?

I love being around people who are self-aware. Know your weaknesses as well as your strengths! One of the best statements made by Mr. Sink is found on page 125. “…Worrying about how others perceive your [aptitude/intelligence] is a waste of time. The key to a great career is to focus on [learning]…”

Learn or burn. 

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