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Author Topic: Jobs
bpfx
Single Celled Newbie
Member # 6257

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted November 15, 2006 20:03      Profile for bpfx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was curious as to other peoples opions on their tech jobs. Currently I am a Unix/Linux Systems Administrator, Systems Engineer. I support various customers on various platforms, AIX, HPUX, Solaris, RHEL (Red Hat), and Windows. I like my job, I get to work with alot of different technologies, java, php, perl, weblogic, endeca, dynamo, ATG, Sun One, etc...

It seems like everyday there is something else to do/learn. But everyday, there is a new policy, a new way to screw up. Most of the time it's not bad, just part of the game, but then sometimes, I get to the point to say, Why am I putting this much effort into this, when all I get is "Yeah, but you didn't do this, this or this."

I seriously don't think I'm the only one that feels this way, and I do know that I deal with less BS than at other places. But I was curious what it's like elsewhere.

Posts: 3 | From: Texas | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged
CommanderShroom
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 2097

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted November 15, 2006 20:55      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am somewhere between spite and loathing with my current lot in the work life.

But hey, I guess someone has to be at the bottom.

But the West Coast market for people with my particular skill set and education level is pretty much half a step from minumum wage anymore. Boy I am so glad I worked while my ex went to school...

--------------------
Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

Posts: 2465 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 450

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted November 15, 2006 21:25      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bpfx:
...It seems like everyday there is something else to do/learn. But everyday, there is a new policy, a new way to screw up. ...

It's often a question of perspective. In the last two years I've been transitioning from cowboy coder to "giver of policy". It's as tough for me as it is for the people who have to put up with me. I get pushback from my staff all the time about my choices for standards. I'm usually pretty good about listening to their rationales, but sometimes I just have to insist it's done my way because I have the benefit of 25+ years of hindsight.

I've screwed up in more ways you can count. I've built wonderfully "perfect" systems that fall apart in the face of some real world factor that I didn't consider, or was not even a factor at the time. Every engineering policy that I establish is based on preventing a failure mode that I've seen happen in the past.

Here's a wonderful example that's just cropped up today (again). We build software on 10 or 12 different Unix platforms. One of our new guys "fixed" the build system for one of the products to use GNU autotools rather than a complex Makefile. When he did this (last year) I explained that autotools might work on a current linux, but they are virtually impossible to build on many of the platforms we ship on, like VMS or HPUX 11.10. He still has trouble grasping that. Not wanting to be a hard-ass, I told him that he could keep the autotools, as long as he checked the generated configure script into the source tree, so that someone checking it out from CVS could build the product without having autoconf installed. He tried to explain why this is wrong - configure is generated, thus the same as a .o file, so we shouldn't check it in. Then I explained that he's right in principle, but wrong in practice, because he still can't build the product on an old HPUX box. He grudgingly agreed.

But today, months later, I actually wanted to build the product myself, and there is no fucking configure script or a good Makefile. There is no autoconf installed on my machine (solaris 2.8) so I'm stuck. Now I have no choice but to be a hard-ass.

So, in summary, all I can say is that when a policy seems silly, ask for an explanation of why it exists. If you get a cogent explanation of what they are trying to prevent, accept it for good experience and learn from it. If your manager says "Because I said so" or offers some lame reasoning that is based on belief, rather than ideas, start looking for a new job.

Posts: 2902 | From: 5 to 15 meters above sea level | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
Demosthenes
SuperBlabberMouth!
Member # 530

Icon 1 posted November 16, 2006 06:42      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Man, I write SQL and make sure that a bunch of databases are running smoothly for some lawyers. The lawyers love my department, because we save them from waiting for the IT department to clear up their work backlog, and it's very low-key. (As evidenced by the fact that I'm posting to GC while I load a bunch of OCR data files into a database...)

The firm's bureaucracy pretty much leaves my department alone, and the policies stay the same, but every so often we'll run into a paralegal who thinks we're secretaries instead of DBAs. [Roll Eyes]

Posts: 1349 | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
MacMandoGal
Geek-in-Training
Member # 6374

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Icon 1 posted November 24, 2006 16:16      Profile for MacMandoGal     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I find myself as a manager of geeks now in the position of bringer of process to an entire organization. If anyone knows how to do the CMMI without building in a ****load of bureacracy, I'd be happy to hear. At least it gives our tools guys something to build!

But now we're trying to do CMMI and Agile both (a homebrew of agile - scrum, XP, "feature driven development"). It's like trying to bring two magnets together like poles to like - constantly pushing apart. I think we may accidentally discover how to do cold fusion as we go through this process!

Anyway, if I can get through this and still remain a friend to geeks (and not part of the evil bureacracy) that will go for something!

--------------------
MMG

Posts: 30 | From: Minneapolis | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged
littlefish
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 966

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Icon 1 posted November 25, 2006 02:10      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I haven't got a job, you insensitive clod! [Wink]
Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jace Raven

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 2444

Icon 1 posted November 25, 2006 09:52      Profile for Jace Raven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I manage, maintain, and administer a 2003/xp pro native environment of about 7000 users in the middle east. I sit at the center of the center of the data flow, area 0, the core, i a3r t3h gibson.


----- WARNING: RANT AHEAD --------
Seriously though, I manage a crew of administrators at the data center and it seems like every time one of the 10,000 data officers in the world decide to fart a new OpDir (Operational Directive) is coming down the chain with a new policy, application or group of people to support. I've honestly spent an entirety of an 18 hour shift doing nothing but sifting through paperwork, deciding which of the 300 new policies take priority and which do not apply. Stupid shit. Policies that describe the naming standard for the description that will be put on all ports on all switches and routers in the entire network. All 400 of them. C'mon serioulsy! Why does it matter? As long as my administrators can understand what the port does without having to jump to one of our amazingly descriptive and accurate network diagrams, why does it matter that it is in the format of "Link from {place/tunnel/staticroute} to {place/tunnel/staticroute} in Area #".... All you're doing is causing for busy work for my administrators who have better shit to do. Like perhaps filter though the metabase and delete accounts, check logs, network performance, trend analysis. We enjoy sitting around and labbing out and determining the pros/cons of using a completely virtual/clustered server envronment as apposed to the 80 servers we have online now. We do not enjoy telnettin into every switch we have in the whole fscking country just to change a goddammned descritpion on a port!
------- END ----------


Sorry Didn't mean to let that get out of hand. I love my job. I've had the opportunity to get alot of really good training. CCNA, MCSA, GSEC/SANZ all paid for as a requirement to be a Data NCO in my billet but the BS as some is listed above (as incoherent as it may be) is sometimes overwhelming and makes the job un-fun, I understand it's something that I'll get in the civilian sector so I dont let it get to me. Aside from all that, I dont get paid nearly as much as I should. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Oh! and I forgot one thing, I get to shoot realy big guns where I work.

Posts: 1791 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

Gold Hearted SuperFan!
Member # 1769

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted November 25, 2006 15:22      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jace Raven:
Policies that describe the naming standard for the description that will be put on all ports on all switches and routers in the entire network. All 400 of them. C'mon serioulsy! Why does it matter? As long as my administrators can understand what the port does without having to jump to one of our amazingly descriptive and accurate network diagrams, why does it matter that it is in the format of "Link from {place/tunnel/staticroute} to {place/tunnel/staticroute} in Area #"....

Um, just a guess, but...

It may be that they're planning for the day when a mortar attack turns the current administrator into a red stain on the server-room wall, and they have to fly in a replacement from somewhere else. If everyone uses the same naming conventions, the new guy has a much better chance of getting everything running again quickly.

Fsck I'm glad I don't have to think like that at work.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10680 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 450

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 10:59      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
Fsck I'm glad I don't have to think like that at work.

Of course you do. I enforce the "hit by a bus rule" at my company. I don't accept work as complete unless the person can answer "Yes" to the question "If you were hit by a bus, is there enough documentation so that someone could figure out how this works and maintain it?"
Posts: 2902 | From: 5 to 15 meters above sea level | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 450

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 11:05      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jace Raven:
... We do not enjoy telnettin into every switch we have in the whole fscking country just to change a goddammned descritpion on a port!...

If you're doing this by hand, then you're not lazy enough to be a great admin. I would script the whole thing so I could drive it from the database of new port labels. A little expect script or two (or maybe one per router/switch type) should do the trick.
Posts: 2902 | From: 5 to 15 meters above sea level | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

SuperFan!
Member # 780

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted November 26, 2006 12:55      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To qf's wise words, I'll add - learn and master changing configs via TFTP. Hell, if you do it right, you can set your equipment to automatically update every so often, but I'm not entirely sure of the security implications of that. (If someone got on your network and took over the TFTP server, it could be bad...) Still, running a set of scripts that use expect, or something similar, to pull down cleanly edited configs has got to be one of the simplest things you can do. That way, the configs can be rewritten on a machine with Perl. [Smile]

Then, it's just:
copy tftp://10.1.2.3/this_device-confg running-config
write memory

(Please check the CLI guide for your networking device, the above may not be perfect [or correct] - normally I pull TFTP configs down manually on a small scale and just do 'copy tftp: runn' and type the rest interactively)

The already stellar Net::Telnet module exists, but I believe there's also a Net::Telnet::Cisco or something like it.

--------------------
There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged


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