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Old 2nd July 2008, 1:00 AM   #31
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someone needs a hug.

elvis, you sound jaded - a result of being hard done by peers who exhibit a lack of respect for what they do. you are right, there are far too many people who live the 'jost a job' mentality within the IT industry, and it shows everyday in the 'work' they do. Has the industry become lazy with google and 'bootcamp' training courses? (apparently if I sit a five day course I can earn 80K and drive a BMW by the end of it lol)

Is it this perception bestowed upon us from a part of the industry which makes the 'entry' level candidates simply want to run before they walk? I think so. I sound like my old man when i say, 'kids these days want everything without having to earn it..'

I too get my hands dirty, I love it, and love IT - I could easily do what I do now for the rest of my days.

Apart from sounding a little lost and shirt-fronted by the sudden realisation of the inept world around you - be safe in the fact that at least these turkeys will keep you in a job!

Hey if it all goes pear shaped up north, consider coming down south for a bit
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Old 2nd July 2008, 2:31 AM   #32
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and who decides to be "the Microsoft guy" or "the UNIX guy" or "the Cisco guy" and learns nothing but one brand-name item to the ignorance of all others, and often poorly because they can't separate concepts and ideas from brand names and marketing acronyms?
Does avoiding ms at all cost and instead relying on other products consist of being 'the unix guy'?

I was also wondering where you had gone Elvis, OOS is missing you
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Old 2nd July 2008, 3:16 AM   #33
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It isn't specifically IT persay, but you hit the problem on the head early on.

Guys go in, build a custom solution, contract ends, guy leaves. Cheaper guy comes in, breaks something, lots of money is 'wasted' recovering the mess. Pennypinchers say 'fuck custom, get something anyone can come in and handle to save costs. Use something I can figure out'. So the cash goes to names like Honeywell.

==

And I'll add that most of the people you're looking for as equals probably dont have the accreditation that recruiters are looking for. 'Whats that, you taught yourself the ISO stacks? Wheres your TAFE degree? dont got one? Sorry, not interested'.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 6:20 AM   #34
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Unfortunately, its easier to just look at someones paper qualifications that to figure out if they actually have a bloody clue. Especially if HR is running the interview and don't have a clue about the job themselves. Of course, its obvious a few months in when everything catches fire, but its usually too late by then.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 7:44 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by elvis View Post
it means knowing when to use CIFS, NFS, SMB, GFS and when not to and what the difference is between them all,
Why does anyone specifically need knowledge of GFS? really all they need is knowledge about clustered files systems in general.

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it means knowing hwo to configure iSCSI, fibre channel, SANs, direct and non-direct storage
Do you really need knowlodge about both iSCSI and FC?

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how to script and automate events in any OS to make life easier
You know how to script for every OS in existance?

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how to configure any directory service from LDAP to AD to NIS
Well so you need Sun,MS,Novell,ect administration skills.

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it means being able to make everything you do completely redundant and fault tolerant, right down to you own job, and it means so much more.
Ahh so I see your silicon engineer now too designing your own chips.

Your whinging about junrior systems admin not having all these skills. Well what training path do you need to become a "Junior sys admin"?
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Old 2nd July 2008, 8:00 AM   #36
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First up, I want to say thanks to most of the folks who have posted in this thread. I expected to be flamed to hell and back, and instead there has been some great discussion had, and valid points raised.

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Originally Posted by Jazper View Post
The ownership problem is a big problem in just about every industry, nobody wants to take ownership of the problems they face because they could get fired over it, with a disposable workforce like the current one, simple wanabes are easy to hire and fire.
I find this a two-fold attitude - one part from the employer, but the bigger part from the employee.

I'm regularly known as "the fixit guy", due to the fact that when something does break, I'm the one people come running to.

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What the fuck do you expect when some Sysadmins get paid 40k?
Again, I think this goes back to my point about professional qualifications (ala law, medicine, architecture, etc) as well as mentoring. Wages need to start somewhere. I've met some folk who qualify well enough as junior sysadmins, and honestly $40k is more than enough for their skillset. Shit, I started my career in IT on $23k a year, and I worked my arse off even on that wage. But I worked my way up very quickly through a combination of hard work and not taking shit.

Again, mentoring would help here. But you are very right: many companies cap sysadmin wages quite low, and expect so much for their money. I think this is ignorance on the employers side, as they don't understand exactly what these people do for them, and just how much of a modern business relies on the combined mass of digital equipment within the office.

Higher wages would keep good sysadmins around. But I'm struggling to find people worthy of such wages these days.

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Im just starting out in the industry, and there are a lot of things i dont like. Firstly, its hard to find a decent mentor. It seems like no one has the time or the motivation to make the effort of training the younger generation.
Agreed. I make it well known that I will mentor anyone with a passion to learn. In two businesses so far when going through the annual review process, I've been called "innovative" due to my desire to mentor. Innovative? I consider it a necessary thing for the industry as a whole, as well as the business itself. How the hell is it "innovation" to do what should be mandatory???

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Gone are the days of sysops, sys/net-admins being expected to get their hands dirty when things go wrong - now it's all about calling the provider/vendor and demanding they fix it for you. Not only does it take longer, but you're then stuck with whomever they decide to send out, and whatever fix if flavour of the month.
Yes, the reliance on vendor support these days is disgusting. For starters, I'm seeing it more and more common where 50% or more of IT budgets go out to third party support. Now, that would be fine if the support was worth the cash. A 4 hour SLA used to mean you got a tech onsite in 4 hours fixing something. Today it means you get a phone call within the first four hours, and some bored guy will turn up when they feel like it to fix the problem at a later, unconfirmed date.

But tell a business to deal with the problems in house, and your average CIO will shit a brick. As if swapping out a HBA, controller, fibre switch, or some other piece of kit is the hardest thing in the world, and will cause your server room to spontaneously burst into flame if done by "unqualified" hands (that are usually attached to a brain of an onsite sysadmin with ten times the experience of the third party tech).

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Lol elvis

The fact that you bothered to post in this forum at this time is quite ironic.

This forum is the bastion of mediocrity, in your valiant but vain search for IT excellence.
Yes, which is why I expected more flames. But there are hidden gems lurking on this forum, and I think many of them have risen to the surface here, which is pleasantly surprising.

I expected more of this...

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Mate, you need to get over yourself, you come accross as a stuck up IT know-it-all prick that regular everyday staff hate.
This is what I'm talking about. Being proud of your skills is considered "stuck up". Demanding a higher quality of output from the people around you is being a "know it all prick".

Why is it that where I work now, there are 4 specialised sub departments in IT, all with their own "specialists" and team leaders, yet when it comes time for someone to be called in to lead a project, or a representative of IT is needed to meet with a production leader, I'm the one called in? Is it because I'm a "know it all prick"? Or is it because I say what I mean, mean what I say, only promise on what I know I can deliver, and always deliver what I promise?

I'm a renowned ranter, even "in the real world". Yet for some reason words from my rants are the ones invariably coming out of the mouths of the production folks 6 months after I join a company, demanding to know why they aren't getting the quality and integrity the deserve, and why IT continually make excuses about why things aren't being done on time instead of just shutting the hell up and getting them done.

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id rather hire 3 staff who are specialist at comms, AD/Server Software and a developer then have 1 know-it-all IT guy claiming every man and his dog in IT should be able to do all 3 under the 1 title... get real.
For starters, there's no formula or silver bullet when it comes to business. Anyone who claims the above is making grand sweeping generalisations, and I have no doubt that you'd be the sort to apply that logic to any business you walked into. This is another gripe of mine: nobody takes the time to really look at business need any more. People just hammer in ill-fitting solutions because they are "industry standard". I've seen some businesses use generic stuff, and it worked very well. I've seen others migrate from generic stuff to highly customised stuff at the hands of competent IT staff, and seen their productivity go skywards.

But that's getting off the subject. One of the glaring problems today is that people are so hyper-specialised that they stop being useful in a business. Dedicated comms guys are great, but ask them to assist diagnosing application level network dropouts, and they throw their hands in the air and say "not my problem".

So yes, I'm getting real. I'm asking people to give a shit outside of their realm of expertise. I'm asking people to spend a day once a month learning something that has nothing to do with their job. I'm asking Windows guys to learn scripting, and I'm asking Linux guys to play with an Exchange box. Why is it such a bad thing to cross-skill your staff, and get people understanding stuff outside of their job title? More to the point, when did it become typical to demand mediocrity?

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Custom solutions are great and all... until once you leave the company (Which it looks like you have done multiple times) leaves the company fucked over because they have 0 support on some totally customised system that took you 6 months to build, let alone someone who has not used it before would take to actually LEARN it to your level being the person who built it and all... You gotta think about the whole picture.
I agree, you do have to think of the big picture.

I build and deliver highly custom solutions where ever I work (and it should be noted that I choose places to work based on very picky criteria - my job offer to job acceptance ratio is around 20:1 at the moment). I also mentor my juniors, train other staff, and document the seven shades out of everything I touch. At the last place I worked, within 3 days of starting I built a wiki, and for every solution I built, wrote a manual, as well as possible extensions of the product and ways to hack it and/or remove and replace it. I added over 3000 articles to the wiki by the time I left the company. Said company dropped their IT expenditure to 1/3 it's amount while I was there.

Then a new CIO gets hired, complains that the custom solutions are "too difficult" (for who? All the staff onsite were trained up in it, and all new staff got trained up on it within days of arriving). He decided to replace the lot with "off the shelf" stuff - all badged and name branded. He spent 10 times my annual budget it 3 months, and the whole lot fell apart and went tits up.

Again, custom solutions don't always work. There is no silver bullet. I've seen plenty of businesses where a turnkey product is enough to get the job done, and means they can get support from anyone at any time. But there are places and times when they work alarmingly well. And if you're the type who insists on generic stuff everywhere you go because you're too afraid to learn something new or have to build a solution yourself, then you're doing your business, and more importantly yourself, a huge deficit.

Skill up, learn, grow. You'll surprise yourself at what you can achieve.

You mention something there: "... until you leave". It should be noted that for every single business I've left, I made my intentions, desires and annoyances well known, well in advance. Sometimes up to 6 months prior, I would warn of the disasters to come if certain paths were taken (the example above is such a case). And in all cases, the day I place my resignation on my bosses desk is the day when the grovelling and begging starts, with cries of "what can we do to keep you?". I'm at a loss how to answer these people, when I spent the last 6 months advising what they could do, and nothing was done.

Perhaps more businesses would find staff sticking around longer if they too demanded a higher quality of output from all, and upped the integrity of this sorry industry. You'd be amazed at how motivated people can get when you give them a challenge and a realistic but high expectation. I don't know when this "wet lettuce leaf boss" syndrome first appeared, when all bosses thought they had to tiptoe around their staff. I've had people under me in the past who thrived under the right challenges. More often than not when people leave, it's not stress or a tough job. It's frustration and apathy for an ever sliding quality within their work and team that causes people to walk.

Last edited by elvis; 18th August 2008 at 9:26 PM.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 8:29 AM   #37
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remember that 50% of the population has less than the average IQ.

I would imagine it's very difficult in life to be a passionate person when most people aren't. I think the phrase 'do unto others as you would have done to yourself' is completely wrong also. The best you can hope for (IMO) is to meet or exceed your own standards, and to leave a strong legacy. To expect more from others is only going to leave you banging your head against the wall.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 9:17 AM   #38
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So yes, I'm getting real. I'm asking people to give a shit outside of their realm of expertise. I'm asking people to spend a day once a month learning something that has nothing to do with their job. I'm asking Windows guys to learn scripting, and I'm asking Linux guys to play with an Exchange box. Why is it such a bad thing to cross-skill your staff, and get people understanding stuff outside of their job title? More to the point, when did it become typical to demand mediocrity?
If only more managers thought like this. It's in a business's best interests to cross-skill after all.

The only point against what you have said is that you have to consider the amount of effort it takes to gain a broad range of skills whilst managing your workload. Those who want to upskill are usually those who want out of where they are due to low pay or high workloads or whatever. My problem is that work stays at work, with a new son I refuse to compromise my downtime, but then that's at the expense of developing my career, which is my choice.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 9:23 AM   #39
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The IT boom happened. People thought "IT means big dollars", and got into IT.

And so all the people who did it for the love of it get mixed up in it all and are hard to find. But they do exist...

It's these people doing it just for the money that have caused it, primarily by making it hard to find the truly passionate ones. I've done a little bit of IT recruitment ("on the side" in a sense), and have worked with a lot of HR and Recruitment Consultants (and have wanted to slap most of them btw), and the use of these people for IT recruitment has truly fucked things up.

They'll put a resume on the desk, and a list of required skills next to it. Search for the keywords, tick them off, and the rest get binned. Then this douche, who has no real skill but has an MCSE + CCNA and worked under other fools for a year or two at a government department, gets a phone call offering him $40k for a shitty role at a company that wont appreciate him.

And so someone who didn't list the right skill but could probably pick it up in a few days is sitting on his arse browsing seek thinking "wtf has this industry come to i need out of this shithole". He also thinks "i can't even get a $40k job", he gets out of IT, and the world loses a truly good IT Professional.

----------

I gotta say though I don't agree with your mentality that every IT Professional should know everything. You certainly wouldn't. The world has moved forward thanks to specialisation, and there is no problem with that, however it is critical to know not just your own job really well, but just a little bit of those people you have to deal with. It's what was taught at the beginning of engineering back when I was at uni, and I completely agree with it - if only to help you appreciate the complexity of your colleagues job, but also to help you communicate with them.

That said, I'm a big believer in giving things a shot. I've been criticised by a few people including some on this forum for giving things a go, and copped the "get someone who knows what they're doing" bullshit. Yet after some wanker who apparently knows what he is doing has stuffed something up, I have had to fix it, and the stuff now works.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 9:36 AM   #40
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I haven't read the whole rant, but I'm familiar with the concept. But I think your question can be answered fairly simply:

What the hell happened to professional IT?

"Close enough is good enough"

Also the lack of realistic qualifications makes judging competent people impossible by anyone non competent.

And I have to agree with people who say "you don't need every skill under the sun to be a sysadmin".
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Old 2nd July 2008, 9:41 AM   #41
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They'll put a resume on the desk, and a list of required skills next to it. Search for the keywords, tick them off, and the rest get binned. Then this douche, who has no real skill but has an MCSE + CCNA and worked under other fools for a year or two at a government department, gets a phone call offering him $40k for a shitty role at a company that wont appreciate him.
Bingo.

We have a chicken and egg situation; if you're a new starter trying to make your way in the industry, chances are you will get a shitty low paying job that not only stifles learning but also presents no chances for career advancement. Companies aren't willing to spend the dollars to improve their own staff (or hire better ones), so the talent pool continues to stagnate.

I personally look forward to the crash; at least then we can separate the wheat from the chaff, and those that truely DO have the passion/skills will get the working environments and pay packages that they deserve

This is an excellent thread and touches on many of the problems in the industry in a literate and comprehensive way
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Old 2nd July 2008, 9:45 AM   #42
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well, in my opinion, post 2001 industry collapse happened.

i came out of uni during this time, and in the end, simply got fed up looking for unpaid work experience with IT firms while working a crap job. I specifically moved to brisbane and spent a YEAR, yes thats right, a whole YEAR looking for unpaid work experience while finishing my last year externally.

what did i do? went to europe, where sayings like "give a bloke a go" actually mean something to people, and aren't just rattled off on the news nightly.

Ive since had to return to Aus in the last 12 months, and have just executed a nice career change, and i feel so much better for it.

/rant
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Old 2nd July 2008, 10:07 AM   #43
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Nice posts Elvis.

I work in health. We have the same issues. I suspect it is becoming more about the people in the new generation of workers rather than the industry itself.

The skills you are describing revolve around the mindset you have to start with. It is obvious (to me) that you have a broader perspective on problem solving and solution development than is apparent today. Not to say that people with these attributes dont exist in the newer workforce but that they are less. Im not sure if it cultural, schooling, mentoring etc.

The other issue I notice is the same is that the people who do the hiring are not working at the coalface to see how these workers actually work, nor do some of the decision makers have these skills to recognise it in others. To them a chequebook solution from an outside contractor provides a great cover-my-arse insurance backup if it goes pear shaped.

I find that a lot of health industries are seeking higher and higher quals, fancy 'models of care' and forgetting the basic solid foundations needed to build high flying services on.

We also have the issue that unless a staff members job description includes 'picking up spilt item' they will walk past it and leave it for others.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 10:18 AM   #44
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Regulate the industry, simple as that

Cheers

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Old 2nd July 2008, 10:37 AM   #45
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I hear what you are saying but this is not something that has happened in the last few years and it is not something that limitted to the IT industry...

I am going to say something that really sucks, I am one of the half baked IT professionals you are talking about . Not because I lack the skills or the motivation, I am just SICK TO DEATH OF FIGHTING with everyone. Basically a few months ago I just gave up...

I have been working in the IT industry since I was 16 (bult a menu system to allow users to navigate to different apps in a DOS environment, how many people here have even used a OS before Windows XP, let alone good ol MSDOS). I am now 32 and have not left the industry. I have worked my butt off for over 15 years with almost nothing to show for it. I have absolutely zero qualifications, never had a mentor, and continually end up reporting to someone who cares more about covering there own arse and/or growing their own career...

I have done everything from helpdesk to sys/net admin and project management to IT recreuitment and I was even a developer for a while, and I am currently working as a network admin, but basically I am a jack of all trades and a master of none... I can configure enterprise messaging systems with both Windows and Linux, I can script in several languages (to varying degress) and I know bucket loads about different hardware platforms...

I just need to find a way to earn the same money in another industry and I am out...
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