I’m a Network Administrator, dammit!

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First off, let me make some warnings and disclaimers. This is a rant. This is an emotionally fueled rant in defensive response for some really irritating attitudes and blogs I see going around recently. This is a rant primarily directed to a few, but very vocal Developers in the IT Community.

As such, this rant might piss some readers off. Frankly, I don’t give a shit. Don’t like it, don’t read it. Don’t agree with it, I don’t care beyond hearing actual logical arguments as to why it’s wrong.

Now, on to the rant.

There is, yet again, a recent resurgence in the IT community of the old, stale, and idiotic attitude of ‘Hardware Engineers vs. Software Engineers’ battle. This time it’s going around as a ‘DevOps vs. SysAdmin’ argument but it’s still the same old, insular, arrogant, petty bullshit it has always been.

Yes, I’m biased because I am a Hardware guy. Yes, I definitely do need to get some code skills to help make my job easier. But let me make my point crystal clear. I WILL ALWAYS BE A HARDWARE GUY!

I’ve recently flat out been told, damn near word for word, that “in the future of IT there will be DevOps and those who serve DevOps their lunch”. If this is your opinion, stop here as my rebuttal to that is Fuck off!

Yes, Developers create extraordinary software. Advancements that will power the next generation of technology. Programs that will be the soul of The Cloud in coming decades. Sure, fine, DevOps are important. No one can argue that for a minute. But the attitude I keep hearing of ‘If you’re not a DevOp, you’re nothing’ is arrogant, self deluding, idiocy.

Software will ALWAYS need Hardware in order to work, that’s simple logic. As such, Software Support, i.e. DevOps, will ALWAYS need Hardware Support, i.e. SysAdmins, NetAdmins, Desktop Support Technicians, etc. Neither side will ever be able to exist without the other.

While the Developers may be ‘touching the sky’ and be the current center of all the glory in the technology world, they’re doing so by standing on the backs of all those ‘scut workers’, LIKE ME, who have made it possible for them to achieve, and continue to achieve, their glory.

Sure, physically running network cables, physically plugging in and setting up PCs, installing operating systems, etc. is ‘scut work’. Those have always been considered Tier 1 beginning level skillsets. “Monkey work” as I have, disrespectfully, heard it described recently. However, those Tier 1 Support “Monkeys” are the base on which the glorious DevOps depend to do their damn jobs. Without them they would be nothing more than glorified secretaries.

I’m no DevOp. I’m a Network Administrator. I’m no more important or less important than any DevOp. We each need each other equally.

I’m an Network Administrator. At my work, I’m also the Tier 1 Desktop Support guy.

I’m the guy who runs your network cable, who formats your PC just the way you need it, who sets it up.

I’m the guy who keeps your network running, who sets up switches, servers, Active Directory credentials, network permissions, software updates, etc.

I’m the guy who resets your account when you forget to turn off your CAPS Lock key and you lock yourself out of your PC.

I’m the guy who restores that lost database you accidentally deleted.

I’m the guy who replaces that keyboard you spend all day at when you spill coffee on it.

I’m the guy who makes it possible for you, oh glorious DevOp, to do your damn job and to get all ‘the limelight’.

Even in a future Cloud Environment there will always be us lowly ‘scut workers’ somewhere. Perhaps not on staff, but somewhere. Be it consultants, or in server farms, somewhere there will always be someone whom you call and cry to the minute you have something go wrong with the system you need to do your work.

I’m a Network Administrator, dammit! I’m a ‘scut worker’ and damn proud of it.

I’m the pedestal that you, as a DevOp, are standing on and I’m damn well going to be the one to knock you off of it.

Get over yourself! Without me, you would be asking customers if they want fries with their orders and without you I’d be doing the same.

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7 Responses to I’m a Network Administrator, dammit!

  1. hear hear, i can only applaud… i’m on both sides of the team, i develop software and i run network cables, and i love it both. And i loath anyone in the IT business who thinks they know everything or are better then someone else. Oh sure there’s plenty of people that are better at any one portion of my work, but like you said, one can’t exist without the other.
    Next time one of those DevOps is spurting his wisdom again i’d say just unplug the network cable on his database server and see him running around frantically 😀

    • Mike Rigsby says:

      Heh, that image gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. We’re not ‘two sides’ ,we’re ‘a single whole’ and this attitude I’m getting from people lately just plain pissed me the hell off and I felt the need to vent my anger.

  2. Shawn says:

    I despise anyone that thinks they are better than me what ever the situation. Sales people think they are better than “support staff”. Doctor’s think they are better than nurses…. At the same time i am way better than the guys that answer our helpdesk phones…Doh!, and yes i deserve to have my network cable pulled some days too.

    A slightly more positive attitude would help most of us.

  3. falconfour says:

    Is it wrong to have spent one’s entire career/life in the tech/computer world (can’t quite say IT, as that implies corporate network admin type things), and have pretty much full understanding of both hardware and software sides… and yet have no idea what in the hell a “SysOp” is? I think that should say a lot to the unimportance (and potential destructive nature) of such distinctions… when I finally decided to go through school to get a paper saying “yes, I know this stuff”, we were never taught a distinction between the two… if you know “IT”, you know both hardware AND software. It’s ridiculous to put someone in a role where they only work with one thing or only work with another. We’ve got a little bit of lingering “role definition” around the office I’m at now (though I’m the only on-staff IT guy that is generally expected to fix *everything*), and it does nothing but hurt the company and cause unnecessary expense and downtime as the “guy with the password” needs to log in and fix the firewall, for example (something I could very well do myself if not for the politics).

    Agree with the article 110%. I just think the root problem is that there’s even a separation!

  4. hydratose says:

    As a network admin major, I had to take a VBasic course, system design course (fucking database and interface design), and learn the TCP/IP stack. That has to count for something.

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