I’ve been involved in I.T for as long as I can remember.. I remember writing applications within BASIC at a very young age, hardware tinkering in my early to late teens, on to ISP/Unix system administration with my first proper jobs, now currently sitting in Corporate I.T.
Through-ought my journey, I’ve come across an over-abundance of people who just really shouldn’t be doing I.T–. It’s not that they’re stupid people, they just seem to lack “clue”.
Perhaps clue isn’t really the right word to describe it, but it’s a word a lot of people use. It’s not so much about how much someone does or doesn’t know, it’s more about their processes, their attitude and most importantly their aptitude.
The main problem I’ve found is in Corporate I.T– through dealing with them during my ISP days, through to working for them– it seems to be littered with people who have just enough knowledge and enthusiasm to “get by”. They’re more about playing politics and justifying their own position, than actually working together toward a common goal. You often hear things like “oh, that’s just the way we’ve always done it” when querying some kind of peculiar practice.
In stark comparison the ISP environment breeds clue. It demands complex problem solving skills, often with a rapid time deadline involved. There’s a constant cycle of evolution– you’re always looking for new and exciting ways to improve your existing systems, not only to make life easier for yourselves, but for your customers as well. There’s also a premium placed on efficiency, if your solution isn’t as efficient as possible, it’s likely it won’t be adopted, It’s not that most ISP sysadmin’s are lazy, their time is just at a premium, they’d rather not deal with mundane tasks unless absolutely required. There also seems to be a much greater ‘community’ surrounding the ISP industry, there’s a culture of imparting knowledge, helping each other out (even if they work for a competitor).
This isn’t to say that working for ISP’s is perfect in every way, it’s often quite difficult to break into the ‘upper ranks’ of the ISP crowd– you often have to start yourself at a helpdesk level and slowly work your way up (but trust me, if the people above you realise your potential, they tend to reach out to you and mentor you) and the pay isn’t anywhere near as rewarding as working elsewhere.
But trust me when I say, it’s a million times more rewarding overall.