My IT profession: Alexey Kamyshev about system administration
05 August 2020, Wednesday

Today's "My IT Profession" column is dedicated to the World System Administrator Day. Last week we talked about what kind of profession it is and what responsibilities a true professional in this field fulfills.
Our colleague, Alexey Kamyshev, director of the department of information technology and security of inDriver, is exactly this kind of a professional. We asked him a few questions about himself and his work.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Aleksey Kamyshev, I am now 40 years old, and for 20 of these years I have been doing system administration. I started in 2001 in the Yakutsk UGMS, since 2004 I have been working in SakhaInternet (Ykt.Ru), now I hold the position of Director of the Department of Information Technology and Security of inDriver.

How did you decide to become a system administrator?

I didn't plan to become a system administrator, I just enjoyed working with the computer. And to be not just a user of a home computer, but to be able to manage what we see so often now - websites, applications, services.
In the third grade, I went to a computer club, where they taught us the basics of programming, but often we just played there. A simple grid of a dozen "BC 1001" (basic computers) and a server based on "Iskra" was set up in the office. All games at that time loaded very slowly, from cassette tapes. But one day a young man came, sat down at the “big” computer and asked who wanted to play games. Then he instantly delivered games to our computers, like magic! It was amazing :) Indeed, it felt like magic! Perhaps it was then when I wanted to understand how it works and decided to devote time to studying computers.

What does one need to know to become a good sysadmin?

What do you need to know? It is desirable to have at least basic programming skills, to know algorithms. And then everything depends on the specifics of the work. It can be a good knowledge of hardware, servers, PCs, the ability to "squeeze" the most out of the provided hardware.
What personal qualities are required for a system administrator?

Of course, the more you know about the subject you are working with, the better, but it's impossible to know everything. Moreover, a system administrator is a multi-directional profession.

The main rule of a system administrator?

It works? Don't fix what isn't broken.

What is a typical day at work for a sysadmin?

It depends on the area the person is working in. I cannot speak for others, since everything is individual here. My working day begins with scrolling through service messages on e-mail, chat channels, news feeds. It is always worth checking the condition of the monitored equipment. There is a planning meeting at the beginning of the week. And then - a stream of incidents, meetings, decision-making and implementation of plans :)

What are your responsibilities?

Roughly, system administrators can be specialized and without specialization. Often, the job responsibilities of a system administrator in a small business, or in a government agency with a small number of employees, include everything that is not the responsibility of others. A universal eployee. It is not right. The system administrator should be responsible for very specific tasks.
But everything is very individual. And it depends on the area of work of the particular company where the system administrator is employed.

What problems do you face every day?

Besides the work tasks? Sometimes colleagues themselves don't know exactly what they want. They give a request for the very tip of the iceberg, and the task ultimately lies somewhere deep down. We have to understand the issue in detail, look for the cause of the incident, and solve it comprehensively. If you do not do this correctly, the employee will come again with a similar request, and maybe not just him

What do you like and dislike most about the work of a sysadmin?

I like unlimited growth prospects. You can choose any direction and dig in until you become a really cool specialist. I have to work with very interesting tasks and puzzles, almost like they were designed for a competition :) It is very pleasant to find a beautiful solution, and after completing it, you catch a great buzz.

How promising of a career is system administrator in the future?

The work is undoubtedly promising, but not in terms of “generalists” (many have basic knowledge in IT nowadays), but in further specialization. The areas of DevOPS, SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) in the field of web development are developing. We need experts who can manage cloud tools, who can build a reliable enterprise infrastructure.

Is the work of the system administrator creative?

I consider it one of the most creative jobs, certainly no less creative than the work of a developer. The system administrator can be compared to an adult playing with LEGO bricks.

The ideal gift for a sysadmin is ...?

The system administrator is, first of all, a person, which means that the gift should be warm, right and pleasant to him, not even necessarily extremely useful.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend time with my family.

Please tell us about an interesting or funny incident that happened at work.

I'd rather tell you a joke. At school, my daughter was asked to tell about her parents' professions. I tried to explain what a sysadmin does. At school, my daughter said that her dad catches "bugs", rules demons (from "daemons" sysadmin term) and talks to "teapots" (literal translation of the slang term "lamer" in Russian) at work.

What would be your advice to those who wish to become system administrators?

Feel free to ask and seek information. Read books, preferably paperbacks, develop in all directions, try different things. Only this way will you understand what exactly you like the most, what you want to devote your life to.
We thank Alexey for an interesting interview! Happy World System Administrator Day!