Wandering Thoughts archives


Future Sysadmin Jobs

I am fond of giving everyone who tells me they're thinking of being system administrators a rant disguised as a question:

When things are automated in the future, there are going to be three sysadmin jobs left: the secretary filling in forms, the stock clerk swapping the backup tapes and refilling the printer paper, and the troubleshooter they call in when there's problems. Which one do you want to be?

I firmly believe that all routine system administration will be automated sooner or later (yes, despite vendors failing to really deliver on promises of this for at least ten years). Let's be honest here: a lot of day to day sysadmin work can be done by well-trained monkeys (and some of it is), and when you're in that situation sooner or later the monkeys get replaced by computers.

What's left when that happens is physical labour (changing tapes and printer paper), data entry (the secretary typing information into forms to create accounts or the like), and fixing things when something exceptional happens and the system goes wrong.

So: in that future, which one are you going to be? (And how much of your job could a well-trained monkey do today?)

I know where I'm aiming.

Sidebar: but what about a job creating the automation?

That's (systems) programming, not systems administration, and I think there are not going to be all that many jobs in it. Compare how many Windows admins there are with how many people Microsoft has writing Windows administration tools.

(And if you want a career in it, you're going to want to follow a much different path; for a start, at least as much programming as systems administration.)

sysadmin/FutureSysadminJobs written at 01:51:55; Add Comment

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