By Taylor Conran, Experts Exchange Marketing Intern
I say Sys, you say Admin. Sys, Admin! Sys, Admin! Woo!
As I was writing this piece, my keyboard stopped working. It was on, it was plugged in, but the keys weren’t typing. We unplugged it, plugged it back in, pressed a bunch of buttons, and even tried turning it off and on again. Nothing worked. Then, we called our sysadmin over. Apparently, I held down a certain key too long and it activated some filter that made the keyboard stop working. I don’t know, I don’t get it. But he did. And that’s all that matters.
Sysadmins like ours work tirelessly each day to solve trivial problems (like mine) along with the ever-challenging IT monster that is the infrastructure within the company. Some of us, however, only really see the keyboard-fixing and printer-unjamming help they provide us with when we have not yet had our cup of coffee. In honor of Sysadmin Day, I’m going help you understand what a sysadmin really is, what roles they play, and why they’re so freakin’ awesome.
SysAdMan. The ITcredible Hulk. Captain AmericAdmin. The Sys Panther. Whatever you want to call it, your sysadmin is your office’s superhero. They are the ones you call when you’re in trouble, and they always know the right thing to do. They’re always on-call, even at 3 a.m. when servers randomly decided to crash. They treat your problem like it is a life or death situation–and, hey, sometimes it is. Honestly, they must be working with superhuman powers, because how else would they get that incredible job done?
The Responsible Rebel
The sysadmin knows how to do things, and how things work. If something goes wrong, “A” might appear to be the go-to answer. Your sysadmin, however, might see that “B” is easier, more convenient, or more efficient. Breaking boundaries and taking risks is a daily challenge for them, and they are excited to do it. Sometimes, things go south. But many times, they make a breakthrough discovery that will improve your company’s processes for years to come. Sysadmins know just when to take that risk, and they do so for the good of the company.
Sysadmins work behind the scenes. Their job is essentially to make everything run smoothly without anybody noticing that anything is being done. Confusing? Yes. That’s why sysadmins are so often misunderstood. Coworkers may often wonder what they do with their time at work The short answer? They’re working day and night to keep operations alive. So next time you rag on your sysadmin for taking too long to fix the printer, remember that he is probably dealing with twenty other more critical problems at the same time.
The Jack of All Trades
Sysadmins aren’t just tech guys. They’re coders. They’re software developers. They’re hardware experts. They’re the best at unjamming the printer. The duties of a sysadmin are wide-ranging, and they are highly skilled in each area. They have acquired so much knowledge, learned so many tricks, and solved so many problems throughout their career that they could probably work with their eyes closed. They have skills upon skills, and who knows, your sysadmin might be an expert Scrabble player, too. We wouldn’t be surprised.
The Behind-the-Scenes Know it All
Sysadmins are good at what they do and they know it. They dedicate their days to producing the best work possible, and are proud of everything they put out. They are detail-oriented and think of everything you didn’t. They find kinks in the system you wouldn’t have thought to look for and deliver solutions and tips in a matter-of-fact way that you’ll understand so they can get back to more pressing matters. Ultimately, they work tirelessly behind the scenes so that you look good doing what you do.
The Busy Bee
Sysadmins approach problems in the quickest and most efficient method possible. They leave no room for downtime, because every second wasted can result in loss of revenue, angry clients, and therefore, angry managers. So when they hear of a problem, they are on it immediately. With their wide variety of skills, knowledge, and experience, they are able to quickly identify IT problems and figure out the best solution in no time. Did you hear that, boss? Just saved you 20 cents, yippee!
Sysadmins may be one person, but they play so many different roles in a company, and are exceptional at everything they do, they may as well be 10 people. They do so much to keep company hardware, software, and infrastructure running smoothly, and rarely get credit for it. So go hug your sysadmin and remind them how important they are, because honestly, who knows where your company would be without them.