April 2016 LOPSAgram - Elections!

11 Apr 2016 9:55 PM | Anonymous

1. President's Corner - Internships, Co-ops and Tech Assistants

2. LOPSA-East - Register now!

3. LOPSA Board Elections Approach

4. Recent Sysadmin News tied to blogs.lopsa.org

5. LinuxFest Northwest

6. Locals

7. Thank you to our sponsors

8. Comments or suggestions?

1. President's Corner: Internships, Co-ops and Tech Assistants

At the end of last months column, I mentioned the idea of hiring college students who are aspiring to be system admins as a way to increase short staffed IT departments. In this column I will cover a few of the ways this can done and some of the other benefits with hiring them.

First a few definitions. A Tech Assistant is where you hire someone at a low rate. An internship is the same, but you as the employer has to do extra paperwork because the student gets college credit for the work they do for you. They have to have a specific project and you have to track the student's work toward the project goal. In both of these cases the student typically works part time and continues their schooling while they are working for you. The final case is a co-op where the student leaves college for 3 - 6 months and works full time for you and you pay them an entry level salary. Drexel University's educational program is based on the co-op model.

So, what can a college student do for you? Think of all the lower priority projects that you have that you will never have time to get done. College students are perfect for these projects. For your first one, pick one that is not 'customer facing' but where the results will only be used by your technology department. Start with the easier projects - the low hanging fruit and then work up to the more difficult ones. For example, I needed to write a script that would read an excel file and update an application via an API. It would only take me a few hours, but it was so low on the priority list, I would never get to it. Instead I gave it to a Tech Assistant and they were able to do the work. Sure it took longer, but this way the project was actually done and they learned a lot about scripting - a win - win solution.

I also have the students work on tasks such as:

  • Screening and resolving helpdesk tickets
  • Patching and upgrading servers
  • All account management tasks
  • Creating VMs as needed
  • Managing and verifying backups
  • Imaging workstations
  • Documentation

When you bring a college student on, you need to set clear expectations of what they will and will not be doing. In my case there are certain systems (email, payroll, student records) that they cannot get near. I also tell them ask lots of questions and give them a list of skills they need to work on. I usually start them with a review of our system documentation or backups as that will have them touch the majority of our systems so they get a good idea of our environment. I typically have them agree to stay at least a year with 2 years preferred for them and for me. After 2 years of part time work, they have enough experience to get the Junior System Admin job. The one downside with part time college students is that they will miss days for finals and large projects.

So I encourage you to reach out to your local community college or 4 year college and talk with them about hiring some their students. It will be a win-win situation for you and for the students.

2. LOPSA-East - Register now!


Get trained top caliber trainers, and hear our amazing keynote speaker:

Tanya Reilly on

Traps and Cookies

Does technical debt turn your small changes into minefields? Does your production environment expect perfect humans? This talk highlights tools, configuration and documentation that set us up for failure. It advocates for removing traps, so that you don’t have to waste brain cycles on remembering where they are. And it offers practical advice for sending your future self (and future coworkers!) gifts, instead of post mortems that just say “human error :-(”.

Includes stories of preventable outages. Bring your schadenfreude.

Tanya Reilly has been a Site Reliability Engineer at Google since 2005, working on low level infrastructure like distributed locking, load balancing, bootstrapping and monitoring systems. Before Google, she worked as a Systems Administrator at eircom.net, Ireland’s largest ISP, and before that she was the entire IT Department for a small software house. She likes writing Go, building Lego spaceships, and predicting how things will break.

3. LOPSA Board Elections Approach

Elections are coming up in June and we will have five positions up for election. Please submit your interest or potential candidates to leadership@lopsa.org.

4. Recent Sysadmin News tied to https://blogs.lopsa.org

Thanks to member Adam Boulware, members can post URL's to their LOPSA blogs about interesting system admin news and have it show up on the front page of https://lopsa.org.  All you have to do is to log into https://blogs.lopsa.org, choose sysadmin-news as the category, then enter a title and URL. 

So anytime you see read something interesting on the web, please take a minute or two
to share it with the rest of LOPSA by doing a quick blog post.

5. LinuxFest Northwest

Meet other LOPSA members, and hear great talks on Linux and open source technology at LinuxFest Northwest, one of the largest FOSS events in the country at 1500 attendees.


LOPSA will table at this event, and we could use some help staffing the table. Sign up here:


6. Locals

SASAG: Seattle Area System Administrators Guild

The topic this month is "A Practical Introduction to Cloud Services" by Ahmed El-Shimi, and we'll be at the usual location, the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences / Stam Lab: 2211 Elliot Ave, 1st Floor, Seattle WA

Dinner will be sponsored by Silicon Mechanics.

CBUS: Columbus

LOPSA Columbus got together over pizza to discuss DevOps, technology strategy, and the local community. Big thanks to CoverMyMeds for pizza and drinks! We're meeting in April to review the twelve-factor app methodology. RSVP here: https://lopsacbus201604.eventbrite.com

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 communications@lopsa.org 

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

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The League of Professional System Administrators
1200 Route 22 East, Suite 200
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Phone: (202) LOPSA01 (202-567-7201)
Email: info@lopsa.org

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