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What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

  • 1.  What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Thu March 10, 2022 03:43 PM
    To be clear.. This is NOT a request for resumes or the like, I'm not trying to poach people..
    What I'm finding is the life-long headache of finding qualified candidates..
    During interviews, I'm asking questions that *I* feel a senior AIX Admin should know. 
    After a couple of candidates, the headhunter told me: "I've spoken to other admins, and none of them know those answers".

    What is the basic content/purpose of an inode?  What content goes into a directory entry?
       what's the difference between a hard and a soft/symbolic Link?  what are the pros-cons to each?
    How do you know if your queue_depth is sized properly?  Explain the service time fields in the iostat output.

    if you've been working with AIX (or heck, any Unix variant) for 10+ years... should you not fully understand the above types of questions?
    I feel  "doing the same thing for 10 years, is NOT the same as having 10 years of experience"
    and certifications are hit and miss IMHO.

    But, maybe I'm wrong... maybe my questions are too esoteric and I'll never find someone who meets my standards...
    and that's more the point of this question/post...

    What should i expect from someone who claims to be a senior person??






    ------------------------------
    Tom McGivern
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Thu March 10, 2022 04:26 PM
    On Thu, Mar 10, 2022 at 08:43:14PM +0000, Tom McGivern via IBM Community wrote:
    > What I'm finding is the life-long headache of finding qualified
    > candidates..

    Sorry you're having a hard time finding qualified people.

    Don't be sorry about poaching if you finally find the right
    person. Labor has a market too.

    You should join the IRC chat (libera.chat, ##aix). There are AIX
    people looking for work you might find significantly more
    qualified. Why IRC? Because it's a people filter. You'll only find
    technical people there.

    > During interviews, I'm asking questions that *I* feel a senior AIX
    > Admin should know.? After a couple of candidates, the headhunter
    > told me: "I've spoken to other admins, and none of them know those
    > answers".

    On the opposite side, try knowing these things and finding customers
    or employers where that knowledge is appreciated or required.

    Feels like headhunters fail on both sides of the coin.

    > What is the basic content/purpose of an inode?? What content goes
    > into a directory entry? ?? what's the difference between a hard and
    > a soft/symbolic Link?? what are the pros-cons to each? How do you
    > know if your queue_depth is sized properly?? Explain the service
    > time fields in the iostat output.

    Any difficult questions yet?

    Please read this hexdump from this driver using this header file from
    the driver source? How do you stop ^H appearing on the command line?
    Produce a histogram of file sizes using only shell tools? Send just
    one ping packet? Read your email with just telnet on the command line?

    > if you've been working with AIX (or heck, any Unix variant) for 10+
    > years... should you not fully understand the above types of
    > questions? I feel? "doing the same thing for 10 years, is NOT the
    > same as having 10 years of experience" and certifications are hit
    > and miss IMHO.

    I agree completely. Unfortunately it's a classic problem with
    categorization. These categories are often poorly defined and too
    broad.

    I've worked with admins which blew me away with the depth of their
    knowledge and their curiosity to know more! I always love it when they
    can teach me something too. I hang onto their names and network with
    them!

    I've also had the opposite issue where system administrators were
    really just application administrators or other non-technical roles,
    where the system fell under their responsibility.

    There are all types, but both will be listed in the same job title on
    their resume.

    > But, maybe I'm wrong... maybe my questions are too esoteric and I'll
    > never find someone who meets my standards... and that's more the
    > point of this question/post...
    >
    > What should i expect from someone who claims to be a senior person??

    Please remember in the Windows world, a senior admin has 3-5 years
    experience. Doing what? No idea. They just are senior! It pollutes the
    whole categorization effort.

    I feel like a junior admin is a setup up from an operator. They are
    assigned monitoring and trivial tasks. They don't make independent
    decisions or take action without supervision.

    A regular systems administrator should be able to install an OS and
    their application. They should be able to do typical troubleshooting,
    upgrades, and handle small projects.

    A senior administrator should know enough virtualization, storage,
    clustering, and technical details to never need level 1 support. They
    should have administered many systems through their complete lifecycle
    over several years, ideally with a heterogeneous environment. They
    should be the mentor to systems administrators and junior
    administrators in their organization.

    Does that help?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Russell Adams Russell.Adams@AdamsSystems.nl
    Principal Consultant Adams Systems Consultancy
    http://adamssystems.nl/




  • 3.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Thu March 10, 2022 08:43 PM
    Thanks Russell, some good tips
    While I don't see the opportunity to ask them to read a hexdump, I may start sending the headhunter some common error messages they should be able to figure out.

    Tom






  • 4.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Fri March 11, 2022 09:26 AM

    Well... in the past I interviewed people who claimed to have more than 7 or 8 years of experience. After some questions and tests, I could only say that they did not have all those years of experience, but only 1 or 2 repeated a few times.

    And it is that they were doing the same thing all that time in their seats. Doing the same will never stop being Junior.

     

    I think that a Senior is the one who has real experience and has not been doing just one thing, he is the one who is learning something all the time, he is the one who is trying to make things happen by doing something new.

    But I think the most important characteristic of a Senior is that they are teachers, guides and mentors to others.

    Of course, their experience allows them to avoid asking for help for little things, because of that they provide better results and in shorter times than others.

    They cost more than first or even second level technicians, and often ask to be called the third level.

     

    Personally, there are not specific though questions to ask for probe someone is a Senior, but they must know a little of everything.

     

    Regards

     

    Luis Rojas






  • 5.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Sat March 12, 2022 11:17 AM

    "Well... in the past I interviewed people who claimed to have more than 7 or 8 years of experience. After some questions and tests, I could only say that they did not have all those years of experience, but only 1 or 2 repeated a few times.

    And it is that they were doing the same thing all that time in their seats. Doing the same will never stop being Junior."

    Correct, but that is not really their fault, just the way the job is. Maybe that is why they want to move on, because they don't feel challenged.



    ------------------------------
    Henrik Morsing
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Sat March 12, 2022 03:12 PM
    It may be a limitation of their job, but there's not a limitation on learning.
    A senior person should be researching what's "new and improved" to determine if it is appropriate for their environment.





  • 7.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Sun March 13, 2022 11:02 AM
    That may work in smaller companies, but I have worked at plenty of large companies where there was just no wiggle room. I've also worked at companies where the team was so understaffed, and/or other teams and environment so chaotic, that you simply had no time to do anything but just keep things running despite the best intentions in the world.

    ------------------------------
    Henrik Morsing
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?

    Posted Fri March 11, 2022 09:35 AM
    Hmm

    Don't know what to say. Those are very interesting question but maybe not very frequent in the working environment, mostly in academic environments. 


     


    César Daniel Delgado Ponce.

    Sistemas Operativos Seguridad Distribuidos (6181)
    +58 212 503 0619
    Twitter:@MercantilBanco
    YouTube: Mercantil Banco







  • 9.  RE: What constitues a "senior" AIX admin?