What makes a SysAdmin of the Year?


The last Friday in this past July marked the 8th Annual System Administrator Appreciation Day -- a day to recognize all the typically unnoticed efforts of systems administrators, network managers, database administrators and other IT professionals.

Last year a group of industry organizations and vendors established a contest around the appreciation day, created by Ted Kekatos, naming one among 5,000 nominated IT professionals SysAdmin of the Year. The winner, Michael Beck, enjoyed the recognition, but the prize -- a trip to a Washington, D.C. LISA conference -- wasn't really the thrill of a lifetime. The free all-expense-paid trip took him just a just a few miles from his Herndon, Va., work place.

Yet Beck more than appreciated the nod; he was after all nominated by his boss and peers. He enjoys his work and was glad to hear others thought he was doing a great job. "I was very excited and a bit overwhelmed, but it was great to hear that I must be doing a good job. It is a very cool thing," says Beck, systems administrator at Emerging Technologies Group, a network and systems forensics consultancy since October 2005.

This year he sits on the panel of judges for the second annual System Admin of the Year contest along with appreciation day creator Kekatos, Jeff Bates from Slashdot.org and author Tom Limoncelli who is quoted saying, "SysAdmins typically only hear from higher-level managers when there is a problem. These IT professionals are the ones on the front lines keeping mission-critical servers and applications running. They deserve to be recognized and applauded."

Now I have some of my own stories about Network World IT staff saving my skin when drafts of perfect prose have nearly been lost. I could recall many times that they jerry-rigged my computers so that when traveling to conferences my leading-edge laptop would work on show networks. And I'll never forget when IT helped me stay connected during the all-too-frequent work-at-home instances when it just seemed I was out in left field and not part of Network World.

For all these reasons, I appreciate the unsung IT heroes at Network World. But I don't forget the IT rock stars when their duties are less than glory-grabbing. For instance, the days I have no IT headaches and no reason to call the help desk are the days I most appreciate the network managers on staff here.

What I want to know is the reasons you appreciate your systems administrator? What life-saving feats have they performed for you, making them worthy of such a title as SysAdmin of the Year? Let me know.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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