Systems Administration Best Practices - Technical Ability

Systems Administration Best Practices
Effective system administration demands more than just technical ability.  Here are a few of the skills you need to develop if you’re going to be a super-system administrator!

1. Records and monitoring
The system stands or falls on your efficiency so you must have an efficient and effective monitoring system in place.  There are plenty of good software systems around that can help you with this although it might need a little investment in a hardware and software upgrade to put you where you need to be.  The information you can derive from these systems will allow you to spot unusual activity or patterns that could indicate trouble spots.

2. Project management
Good project management skills are useful for efficient systems administration.  Drawing up a project plan with agreed deliverables and timescales is very good for helping to keep you focused on a particular piece of work.  This strategy is also handy when you’re developing a new system as users can’t complain about the results if they’ve signed off the documentation before you began the project!

3. Day to day work systems
The good old-fashioned ‘to do’ list is something you can’t do without.  A daily list of tasks will help you to focus and is particularly useful if you’ve several projects on the go at once.  When it comes around to performance review time, you’ll be able to tell your boss what you achieved, when and for whom.

4. Communications skills
Whether you work alone for the majority of the time or not, it’s still important to have good written and verbal communication skills.  From time to time you might find yourself part of a wider project team and you’ll need to get your point across clearly to both your colleagues and management.  This could be by email, speaking up at meetings or via presentations, and it’s worth taking the time to hone these skills.

You could also find that you need to persuade the finance department to allow you some budget for a new server or an important piece of software, and good communication skills are essential here too.

5. “What if?”
Regardless of how good or how lucky you are, something will inevitably go wrong one day.  There could be a system crash or a hacking incident, or your backups could be corrupted; what action will you take if that should happen?
You might not have all the answers to the numerous “what if?” scenarios that could occur, and you won’t really know how you’ll cope should the worst happen but you can do certainly do some preparation for that day.  Set yourself up with some troubleshooting training scenarios to test out your proposed solutions and recruit others to help you.  If you can get your head around these questions now, you’ll be so much better prepared and confident to resolve problems should they arise.

In conclusion
Equip yourself with the necessary toolkit in the form of hardware, software and knowledge and you’ll be the systems administrator everyone wants to hire!

Image source:  TechGurus

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