The system administrator! And July 27 celebrates the community
They are not noticed until things go wrong. They are the system administrators, men and women who work behind the scenes, round-the-clock, to keep the computers in an organisation up and running.
“If nobody looks for a system administrator, then he can be sure he is doing his job,” says N.S. Shankar, AVP, IT System Engineering, Polaris. Every ‘sysadmin’ will tell you his is a thankless job. He might have kept the system network running smoothly for months, but a glitch lasting just a few minutes can spoil all the good work. Suddenly, he’s the subject of intense attention from various quarters of the organisation. But on the last Friday of July (July 27 this year) he is noticed for the right reasons — it’s System Administrator Day.
Wes Borg, playwright-comedian-musician (visit www.deadtroll.com for more about him), has paid what is probably the best tribute to the sysadmin community. His song — ‘The System Administrator Song’ — is funny, and at the same time, sensitive to the challenges of being a sysadmin guy. The song is available on YouTube, as are other ‘happy sysadmin day’ eulogies.
Most of these tributes on the Internet have missed one point: almost all system administrators are hooked on their jobs. (But then, aimed primarily at raising a laugh, the YouTube song and funny videos can hardly be blamed for this lapse).
Says Shankar: “It’s impossible to find a sysadmin guy who wants to move to another area of expertise. He has to keep abreast of hardware and software developments and has to constantly learn new things — this requirement, though challenging, is what lends his job is greatest charm.”
This positive feature appears to make up for all that is undesirable about the job, which often includes having to forgo weekends and public holidays.
“System maintenance work can be carried out only when the rest of the organisation is off duty. In that little time, he will have to fix niggling problems,” says Shankar. “A sysadmin can’t afford to let down his guard. A lot rests on his shoulders. He knows it and that’s why is happy with his job.”
System Administrator Day (SAD) was initiated by Ted Kekatos
SAD is observed on the last Friday in July
SAD has an official website — www.sysadminday.com