SUMMARY: What skills does it take to be a sun manager?

From: Jason Youngquist (
Date: Tue May 11 1999 - 07:59:55 CDT

I asked what skills I needed to become a sun manager, and I received a lot
of responses. This is a summary of what was sent:

Technical Skills
- How Unix works
        -- File system layouts - generic, specific to Solaris
        -- Memory management, processes, swap, kernel, shells
        -- Unix derivatives (SVR4 vs BSD, Linux vs Solaris)
        -- Unix security model - owner, group, world.

- Unix skills
        --standard unix utilities - sh, vi, sed, awk, cron, ls, find, ps,...
        --freeware utilities - perl, apache, gcc,...
        --freware security packages - COPS, SATAN, TCP Wrappers, Tripwire,...
        --run through man pages
        --databases and information retrieval - mySQL, Postgress
        --Backup and restore - Tar, cpico, dump/restore

- Strong troubleshooting ability
        - Knowledge of how to diagnose basic, common problems quickly: file
          system full, response time problems (system running slow),
          network connectivity problems, runaway processes, etc.

- Strong TCP/IP skills - also PPP, OSI, Netware
- Cross-platform experience - NetWare, Windows9x/NT
- Need to be able to install hardware.
- Networking hardware - hubs, routers, switches,..
- knowledge of Internet standards (RFCs, IETF proposals)
- Solaris Certified - but doesn't mean anything unless you have experience
                      to back it up

Personal Skills
- An enquiring mind that is willing to seek out the reasons that
  things happen, willing to ask questions and learn from the answers given.
- Willingness to work odd hours, do menial work (password resets, management
  of backups, answer client questions)
- Enthusiasm to explore things on your own (what does this do? how can I get
  that to work? has anyone tried this?) and keep up with industry
  developments from Sun, other Unix vendors, Microsoft. Be able to provide
  answers to management questions, or at least know where to look in a hurry.
- Good personal skills with vendors (they're a mine of information, they can
  be sweet-talked into loans and good deals)
- Willingness to stay up late at work.
- A "can do", "will not stop till it's done" attitude
- Be willing to NEVER stop learning; thrive on it.

Helpful URLS
Job Descriptions for SysAdmins

Sun Administrators section

Training Courses ( and older courses)

What will set you apart:
- If you've installed a unix system from soup to nuts, you'll impress the
average company. Soup to nuts means, you get a file server in the mail,
assemble it, size and configure the file systems, install the OS, get the
machine on the network, install DNS, routing, printing, X-Windows, xntp
services, etc. This activity touches on almost all aspects of sysadmin
at somepoint.

Thanks to:

and everyone else who replied.

Jason Youngquist

On Tue, 27 Apr 1999, Jason Youngquist wrote:

> Okay...A bit of background. I'm a Computer Science major at the
> University of Missouri--Columbia, and I'm going to be graduating in Dec
> 1999. I currently have a part-time job at the local hospital where I do
> some sun administration and web work. This is the last summer I'll have
> free time before I get a job.
> I have a few questions:
> 1. What are the basic necessary skills that any sun manager should
> have? (I know this is very broad)
> 2. What skills/experience could set me apart from other applicants?
> An any other words of wisdom you would like to throw my way would be
> greatly appreciated. A summary will be posted.
> Thanks,
> Jason Youngquist

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