More specific question for System Administrators...

gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
More specific question for System Administrators...

This is a more specific question to anyone thats an SA - what did you do to get to where you are now? I know a bunch of questions are whats next after help desk, but HOW did you get to a system admin job, did you do any shadowing? Certs? did you know someone? I'd like answers to be as specific as possible, a lot of people say certs aren't required but are helpful and that experience is definitely where its at, but how did you get experience, did you shadow someone you knew?


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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    Could Server+ and MCSA help me land a system administrator position?
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    AnonymouseAnonymouse Member Posts: 509 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I went from answering phones as a first level helpdesk tech to a sysadmin. I wish I could answer the question on what certs to get but I only have my A+. I asked the techs above me many questions so I could understand how everything worked, if I didn't understand it then I wouldn't be able to support it. I also tried doing work above my level of support to get further knowledge too. That's not as specific as you probably wanted but that's really what I did. Ask craploads of dumb questions and do work that was kind of hard for me. Your experience may vary.
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    where in nor cal are you?
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    ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Get noticed by the current SAs where you work. I know all of the field techs and help desk folks where I work, and I'm pretty vocal about which ones suck and which ones are worth a damn and my supervisor listens when positions come open. The last several people we've hired over here have come from those areas and they generally had good reputations with our team beforehand. And most of them didn't have anything more than an A+ or Network+ cert but we recognize someone who can be trained to do the work.

    If you call me with the same questions all the time, or call me before doing any troubleshooting whatsoever I tend to dislike you. We check the names on who forwards tickets to our department and people get a reputation for not working their tickets and just sending them to us because it sounds like it might be server or network related. A proper help desk person should take pride in resolving tickets before escalating. A proper help desk person looks at common issues that have to be escalated because of permissions issues and asks the SA team to get the rights so they can take care of those tickets for us. We've taken the time to hold classes with our 1st line tech support giving them details on how the infrastructure works and doesn't work so it can help them when trying to resolve tickets. And some people listen to what we say and apply it to their jobs and others make us say "why did we waste our time doing that if they don't listen?" Don't be in that latter category.

    Maybe it sounds harsh, but keep in mind that people are evaluating your work even if you don't think they are. And your work ethic or lack thereof has an effect on my day. And don't be the guy who only puts that kind of effort in when we have a job opening because we notice you doing that too. And if I sit down and have lunch with you to talk about how to progress in your career, do the stuff I recommend. I don't want to ask you 6 months later how the CCNA studies are going and you tell me you've been meaning to read the book but haven't yet. Well we've been meaning to promote someone, but it won't be you.
    Currently reading:
    IPSec VPN Design 44%
    Mastering VMWare vSphere 5​ 42.8%
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    netsysllcnetsysllc Member Posts: 479 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Show interest, and start taking the MCSA tests, as Zartanasaurus says though don't keep pushing the tests off or they will think you are a flake.
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I was sort of lucky in that my first IT job was more of a bench tech/desktop support internship (later permanent) that I had to grow into. However, it was a smaller shop where people had to wear a lot of hats, and I was able to gain basic networking and server experience relatively quickly.

    You will find that "support", "helpdesk", etc means different things for different companies, and the smaller companies might have their support doing more of the troubleshooting and have more exposure to different aspects of the infrastructure (at the low end of course). For many, that is the way out of support roles, but it is certainly not the only way.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Got my MCSA. Had A+ and Net+ as well. Applied for an SA/joat job. Got hired. I did send out a lot of applications before being considered for even a few, but I managed to find one. It was not pure SA, and involved plenty of user support, tons of hands on stuff, but the MS server knowledge was the main thing that got me hired, I think. I did not have previous professional server or sysadmin experience, but I had done plenty at home, had my certs, and had the tech knowledge needed to actually do the job.

    In my own hiring, I pretty much won't consider an SA that doesn't have MCSA or subset of MCSA or existing experience. Server+ is okay. CCNA, Net+, A+ all help, but you've got to have something that shows you know MS server products to get in the door. I'd consider Linux+ or RedHat certs if hiring for heterogeneous environments (and obviously if I worked in a Nix shop), but I've not been anywhere with more than one or two Nix systems, so it hasn't come up. I wouldn't even look twice at someone with ten years of support experience, no MS certs, and no server experience. Someone with significant server software and hardware exposure gets considered easily. Otherwise, better cert up if you want to break out of support.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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    AkaricloudAkaricloud Member Posts: 938
    I started asking more questions about how things were done instead of just handing off the more advanced tickets to our SA. That combined with a lot of self-study and lab work enabled me to sell myself in an interview for a full SA position at a different company.

    You need to show you can work proactively and take ownership of projects/tasks.
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