What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?
Systems Administrator in Saskatoon:
Systems administration is not a glorious career, actually quite the opposite. People generally dislike you because the only time they see you is when things are broken and you have a million other things to do. It is a very challenging career and also very rewarding.
Systems Administrator in Vancouver:
"Don't Sweat The Small Stuff."
No matter what you think when you get out of school -- you don't know everything, hell you practically don't know anything. Learn all you can about everything.
Troubleshooting is probably your most valuable skill, hone it. Learn about network monitoring tools and automation as much as possible -- make it look like you know everything before it happens.
Don't talk techno-babble at end-users, but try not to sound condescending either (that one tends to be tougher than you'd think).
Don't be a walking stereotype -- wear clothes that fit, groom yourself, try not to be that creepy IT guy.
IT tends to be a thankless job, when things break they're screaming at you to fix them -- and wondering why you can't keep the systems running, and when things are running smoothly they're wondering why they need so many IT guys... Relax, be thankful, remember if they could do what we do they would and we'd have to find something else to do...
Systems Administrator in Prince George:
"Learn how to Learn Fast"
Being a good SysAdmin is about knowing something about almost everything, and being able to quickly fill in any gaps in your knowledge. When starting out, not many people will have a broad experience base. Don't read the manual from cover to cover, start with what you know and pick out the bits that you need to know. Figure out how to make it work, then go back to learning and make it work well.
Don't stop when the clock says the day is over, finish what you're doing. Be the person that answers the phone a few minutes after, as helping someone with their problem when they're having it means you are dedicated.