Ten years ago IT was a very different space for SysAdmins than it is now, and I too remember the day when server sprawl needed wrangling (hello virtualization), work silos were everywhere (what is that storage guy's name again?), and datacenter space was in short supply (maybe something's never change).
As I read through comments on the “Gearing up for SysAdmin Day 2015: The Ever-changing role of the System Administrator” post, some key skills for SysAdmins come to mind that are going to be critical in the future.
Gone are the days where SysAdmins sat in their lair and controlled their domain from behind a monitor and phone. There are times where the business is looking to the SysAdmin to help the company move forward and grow. SysAdmins today should look to have a seat at the table when the company is planning long-term business strategy. Making sure business planning is coupled with IT planning will ensure long-term success. In order to do this, SysAdmins should be able to articulate how IT affects the company's business and bring new ideas and technologies to the table. Understanding new technologies lead to the next point around learning.
Learning new skills and technology is critical
Any SysAdmin worth their weight in gold keeps a constant eye on technology advances in the industry. Now we all know keeping an eye and actually learning about new technology are two different things. However, as technology advances and changes keep increasing, SysAdmins need to recognize that ongoing learning is critical. Learning how to do things easier and helping the business run more efficient is a key thing for all SysAdmins, no matter their experience. For years when IT learning would come up, leadership would tune out, that cannot be the case anymore. SysAdmins have to be a champion of change and make sure they pick up the skills needed to help their company.
Finally, SysAdmins need to be purposeful. In an ever changing world, having a direction is critical to keep up (let alone staying ahead). From new technologies, to new ways of doing things (or going back to an old way), to changing business requirements—a SysAdmins world is all about change. Having a clear understanding of where you want to take your IT department, your solutions, and your career is key to long-term success. Here are some questions to help you:
- Where is the company heading?
- How can IT play a part in that success?
- What new technologies can help ensure success?
- What skills are needed?
As in most roles in business, the SysAdmin role is evolving and changing. Business understanding, learning new skills, and being purposeful are just a few skills needed today and tomorrow. However, these are core skills that can help SysAdmins grow and advance for the long-term.
*P.S* – Celebrate the small things. You won’t get credit 365 days a year, but there is one day your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed – SysAdmin Day, y’all! It’s this Friday and naturally, we’re pre-gaming with some fun freebies. Come celebrate >>