March 2016 LOPSAgram - Helping People Become Sysadmins

14 Mar 2016 4:18 PM | Anonymous

1. President's Corner - Helping People Become System Admins

2. LOPSA-East - Registration Opens - register now!

3. LOPSA Cascadia - See you there

4. USENIX LISA SIG being retired at end of 2016

5. Job Opening - Wordpress / HTML Programmer

6. Locals

7. Thank you to our sponsors

8. Comments or suggestions?

February 2016 LOPSAgram

1. President's Corner: Helping People Become System Admins

Last month I wrote about how LOPSA and its members help existing system admins by providing professional development opportunities via organizing and speaking at conferences, chapter meetings, and being active in online communities. This month the focus is on how we can help out people who want to become system admins.

Imagine you just finished secondary school and are interested in computers. You like playing with them and figuring out how they work. You are the person your family and friends come to when they are having computer and technology problems. You would love to do this for a career, but am not sure what that career is called. Does this sound familiar? Most of us did not start out to become system admins, but instead fell into the career. We played with technology and overtime became known as the person who makes technology work.

So the first thing that LOPSA members can do is to go out to secondary schools and tell the kids about system administration as a career. I feel that many kids would start sooner in system administration if they knew it existed. If you are interested in doing this, contact your local secondary school career center and offer to give a talk about system administration. To get you started, check out the presentation at

Now once a person has decided to become a system admin, they need to get training. There are many places in the US to get trained as a database or network admin, but very few that provide system admin training. See  for a start of list of colleges with system admin degrees. Many schools offer 1 or possibly 2 courses as part of some other curriculum. If you know of a school in your area that offers degrees in system administration please email them to so we can add them to the list.

The other option if you cannot go to school is to try and leverage your experience helping friends and family toward getting a system admin job. While possible, this is very difficult as companies these days want 2 or more years of experience as a full time system admin. One route to getting the experience is to work for a non-profit that needs computer help.

LOPSA's Mentorship program is how LOPSA helps out students or people who are looking to gain experience and get a start as a system admin. One part of the Mentorship program matches up experienced system admins with people who want to become system admins. From personal experience, I can say it is very rewarding to help a person realize their dreams of becoming a system admin. I encourage you to help out the community by becoming a mentor. See for more details.

Finally, we can help out at our own workplace, but hiring aspiring system admins as technical assistants or providing internships so they can gain more experience. For the last 8 years at my job we have been hiring technical assistants to leverage our short staffed IT department. For the 12 - 24 months they spend with us, they gain valuable experience in system administration and I get inexpensive labor ($10 - $12/hr) that helps out with my chronically understaffed department. If your job is in an area with a local college and you need more help, I encourage you to look into this solution. It is a win - win for your employeer, the student, and you.

2. LOPSA-East - Registration is Open

The “please fasten you seatbelt sign” is on and LOPSA-NJ is happy to announce that registration for the 2016 LOPSA-East conference is OPEN. Early Bird pricing is a great deal and will be available till March 25th. We have some great classes and talks this year and we hope you all can joinus. There are discounts that you can find out about at

We are in talks with a great Keynote speaker for the Friday Night Keynote given before we release you to the wilds of New Brunswick, New Jersey for dinner so stay tuned for that.

We will be announcing some new things going on later as the conference gets closer. One of the things that was brought up in the feed back from the past few years is a get together on Thursday night for those in the area or arriving early so we will be opening up the bag stuffing party to all. More details on this will be added to the website as the time gets closer. Friday night we will have the Birds-Of-a-Feathers again this year as well as a Cards Against Humanity game for anyone who wants to join and a few more fun things that make LOPSA-East different from other area conferences.

We are still looking for volunteers to help with promotion, manning the registration desk, and being room monitors on Saturday to help speakers get set up and to make sure they stay on time as well as some other duties. So to volunteer please fill out the questionnaire at or send me an email with LOPSA-East volunteer in the subject line to

We can’t wait to see you all in May at the LOPSA-East Conference. Remember to reserve your room at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick at the group rate of $129 single/double plus tax. When the rooms in the LOPSA-East block are sold out, requests will be handled on a space-available basis at the hotel’s standard rate. Make your reservations early! To reserve your room on the web go to

If you have any questions or ideas you would like to ask or discuses please email me

LOPSA-EAST ’16 aims to bring together IT professionals from all walks of life in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond to share war stories, learn for each other’s experiences, and network with industry peers. The conference includes acclaimed speakers and keynotes, expert-lead training designed to build the skillsets and confidence of attendees, lightning talks, and a “Birds of a Feather” track where attendees propose and host their own topics during the event.

Conference schedule will be posted, and registration open soon at:

3. LOPSA Cascadia - See you there

If you're down to the last minute, you can still register at:

Instead of our usual monthly SASAG meeting, there will be a free Meetup at the Hotel Deca on Thursday March 10. RSVP:

4. USENIX LISA SIG being retired at end of 2016

USENIX has announced that they will be retiring the LISA SIG at the end of 2016. LOPSA has reached out to USENIX to see what we can do to make sure the materials and services of the LISA SIG are kept available and promoted to the system admin community. We will keep you posted as we find out more. For more information see:

5. Job Opening - Wordpress / HTML Programmer

have a small project for a member who has experience with Wordpress sites. What I need is a html page on our Wordpress blog site that displays all Wordpress blog posts with a special tag on them. The idea is that this page can be embedded into our main website. This will allow members to post about current system admin events on their blogs and have it show up on the front page of our website. If you are interested, please contact

6. Locals

LOPSA-NJ: April 7th, 7pm

An introduction to no-sql databases

April 7th 7pm


While many folks are familiar with relational databases, there are many exotic cousins that fall under the moniker of NoSql. This talk will give a overview of the concepts behind these unusual databases and explain the trade-offs that give these databases their unusual characteristics, flexibility and performance. Key-value databases, columnar databases, document databases and graph databases will be covered.

SASAG: Seattle Area System Administrators Guild

LOPSA Cascadia IT Conference Thursday Evening meetup will also be our monthly meeting at the Hotel Deca, instead of our usual location. Meet and chat with instructors and speakers from the conference! This event is free of charge.

RSVP for Thurs, March 10, 7pm-9pm:


While we've been behind on updates, we've had a busy few months at LOPSA Cbus.

At the end of 2015, we collaborated with nearly 20 other local user groups. Our event sold out with 250 RSVPs. It was a social event with limited agenda and charity collection. Finally, we had quick pitches for community leaders and music from DJ Bobsan. An amazing party with an exceptional community! 

In 2016, we resumed presentations. Beginning in January, David Mortman presented about Docker security. In February, JP O'Donnell presented about collaboration between database and development teams. We've stuck to our home base at CoverMyMeds and they've continued to be a gracious host! 

On March 2, LOPSA Cbus collaborated with Pair Columbus and several other user groups to host a special event with Michael Feathers. Mike flew in from Miami and presented about technical debt. Warner Moore acted as MC. 

Our next meeting will be on March 24 and be related to DevOps practices. Register here:

7. Thank You To Our Sponsors

We'd like to thank our sponsors. We're deeply grateful for their continuing support of LOPSA. More information on how to become a sponsor.

Thanks to our individual sponsors:

Platinum: Jennine Townsend, Dan Rich 
Gold: Ski Kacoroski
Silver: Matt Disney, Lee Damon, Scott Murphy, Ian Viemeister
Bronze: Gary Studwell
unique approach to trading in the financial markets. Our company designs, builds and runs a global trading software platform. We take pride in our software craftsmanship and use Python, Cython and C on Linux to run our global trading operations. We also use open-source tools as much as possible - Python, PostgreSQL, numpy, git, Cobbler, Puppet and Ansible are all crucial to our business.

Gold Sponsor Paessler AG

Bronze Sponsor Edgestream Partners is a small group of scientists and engineers with a unique approach to trading in the financial markets. Our company designs, builds and runs a global trading software platform. We take pride in our software craftsmanship and use Python, Cython and C on Linux to run our global trading operations. We also use open-source tools as much as possible - Python, PostgreSQL, numpy, git, Cobbler, Puppet and Ansible are all crucial to our business.

Bronze Sponsor O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism. Check them out.

Some of LOPSA's web content is hosted by ServerBeach.

8. Comments or suggestions?

As we close out this month's LOPSAgram, we want to make sure we're giving you the information you want or need. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to send them to 

Office: +1 (202) 567-7201, Fax: 609-219-6787, Address: PO Box 5161, Trenton, NJ 08638-0161

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1200 Route 22 East, Suite 200
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