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Thrown in the deep end, where should I start?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by danny13d, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. danny13d

    danny13d New Member

    Hello Guys,

    Basically I have recently been given a new job at my company (last week) as the IT administrator. The guy before me has left now and I have no experience or qualifications for this type of position, not sure why my company has decided to fill the role like this but hey I get paid more because of it.

    We have support for all our systems here so nothing should go wrong while im learning.

    It isnt the biggest network, around 50 computers in the company. Using SQL server 2008, Linux mail sever and Windows server 2008.

    I was hoping someone would be able to explain the best path for me to go about learning the skills I need for this role.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

    Depends what your current skill set is like? They picked you for a reason I assume?

    Microsoft do courses/exams for Server OS's, maybe do one of them, SQL courses can also be got as can Linux courses. If you use all 3 of those systems a lot then look for relevant courses.

    It also depends how involved you will need to get with each system. You could always ask the current support staff for the various systems to give you the low down and show you the basics and what you need to do etc so at least you have some base knowledge to work from?

    What does your role actually entail? What are your responsibilities and what is expected of you personally if you already have support teams for all of the applications?
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  3. danny13d

    danny13d New Member

    I have no skills in IT or experience, my bosses words were just he sees potential.

    When I said support I meant we currently pay external companies to resolve any issues we have with our systems, so unfortunately they are not available to provide me with any advice.

    Day to day I am expected to create reports, control and monitor email and internet usage, resolve any software or hardware issues in the company. Then maintaining the servers with essential updates, along with adding new users to the servers.
  4. TheMagician

    TheMagician Nibble Poster

    What was your job before being given this one? It's an interesting scenario - there's probably lots of people with loads of IT experience and passion who would give their right arm for that sort of gig!

    As you will soon discover, that sort of job is very nice and easy, laid back, not much stress - until somethng goes horribly wrong - then it's pretty manic.

    At least it sounds like there's good support contracts in place to take care of most eventualities.

    First and foremost if I was in your position I would spend a lot of time just getting aquanited with everything. Including servers, all the roles they perform, what applications are running, backups. And on the client side all the different applications the users use, any bespoke software. After that you can start identifying areas for improvement.

    Microsoft do lots of Windows Server based certifications for 2003/2008 so you could look to study some of those if interested. 2003 is getting a bit long in the tooth now and while it will doubtless have a place in companies for many years to come, you may get more value out of embarking on the 2008 track.
    Certifications: MCSA 2012, MCITP: EA, SA, ITIL
  5. danny13d

    danny13d New Member

    I was a product development assistant, for skin care products. So not really a clear progression path.

    Like I said I have no experience so was considering doing a course for the CompTIA A+ so that I can get a better foundation of knowledge before progressing to the more difficult areas, and will be more capable of handling small issues in the office. Or maybe doing "MS Windows 7 Enterprise Desk Top Support", which do you think would be better to begin with, if any?

  6. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

    Do you have Windows 7 deployed across the branch??? Might wanna check before you do a course on it!

    A+ is probably a good enough place to start as it will cover basics from the ground up, so if you really know nothing about computers and how they fit together or work then it would probably be useful.

    If you are a fairly seasoned user of computers and maybe built computers in the past etc then it may not be AS worthwhile, but that't not to say it's not worth doing.

    CompTia also do a Server+ course, might be worth looking into as well before moving on to say an MS Server course. It's all down to your current experience and confidence really, and also how well you learn and can put things together in your head etc to make sense of all the acronyms / tech jargon.
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  7. Dazzo

    Dazzo Byte Poster Premium Member

    Ah dude, I was in the same situation as you!

    30 computers, countless printers and two servers. Service contracts for each but previous person handled pretty much what you are doing now. Offered the job whilst data entry, wasn't going to say no!

    I did the A+ first as a base, very informative and interesting. Can help with fault finding and general understanding.

    I'm onto MCSA 2003 now about to sit first exam in December with hope to complete all by June next year.

    In the NHS so we'll have server 2k3 for a while ;)
    Certifications: A+, MOS: Master 2010, Network +
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Then how are you going to do this with any reasonable proficiency ?

    Well I guess you can always put some cream on it...

    Granted admin for a small network is not rocket science, but its not something for a complete amateur either.

    So if in actual fact someone else is doing everything what will you be doing ? You're only an administrator if you administer something.

    Its traditional to learn most jobs by shadowing someone else while in a junior position. Sys Admin is a senior position, you shouldn't be in that position with zero experience, its putting your company at risk. Its also an unnecessary risk as your boss could probably pay someone with experience to do said position.

    Someone with zero experience is probably looking at at least 2 years experience before they have some basic competency, assuming they have the capacity. During this time you won't be an effective administrator.

    Its like making someone who can't swim a lifeguard...
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  9. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

    Well its an interesting story, if I was you, get ready to put in some mega hours and work your arse off if you want to stay working in the IT aspect of the business.

    First, get some budget to buy you the necessary books and study for your A+. While it won't help with any Server stuff it will definitely help with end-user support.

    Once you've done the A+, and hopefully you'll be learning and fixing the day-to-day issues at work. Go straight for a Windows Client exam, this gives you experience with the client operating system. If they're using Windows 7, great! If not, then learn what you can with XP even if you don't sit the exam.

    From there, look what you don't know but really need/would like to know. Networking? Go for the CompTIA N+ exam. Need more server experience? Go for the CompTIA S+ or start the Microsoft Route.

    Above all, push your self - be patient with others and never stop learning. You have a lot to do, ask any questions in Google (or here) and I'm sure you'll be able to come out on top.

    Remember you pay for external support, use them if you have ANY doubts.
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010

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