[AusNOG] Uni Graduates - Was Re: Sysadmin opportunities in Melbourne?

Narelle narellec at gmail.com
Tue Jan 6 15:24:32 EST 2015

On Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM, Julian De Marchi
<julian at jdcomputers.com.au> wrote:
> Here is an interesting thread on nanog that is very relevant to this
> discussion.
> http://mailman.nanog.org/pipermail/nanog/2014-December/072247.html

Okay. I'll bite. And attempt to keep this on charter. Note also
compliance with RFC 1855.

The difference between university education and technical training is
that universities should include a range of essential *professional*
skills, whilst technical training is targeted towards specific
technical competencies.

The difference between what you hire for an ISP/telco/ASP is whether
you want a technician or a technologist. A tradesperson or a

I'm not trying to denigrate one vs the other, the art it is in
choosing the skills and the person you need to fill the roles you have
and a achieve a balance overall to get a good organisation.

A professional will write reports readily and easily, and will develop
templates and frameworks (at all *logical* and social layers), new
systems and processes (ditto). A technician will know which handle to
crank on the machine you gave them and may suggest improvements over

Of course this is simplifying the issue, and the complexity of modern
technology and the needs of the modern workplace mean that this is by
no means black and white. The edges across all of this are blurred
today, and there always were artisan craftspeople, but when I hire a
professional engineer/computer scientist in a telco/ISP context I
expect they can do:
- traffic analysis
- protocol analysis
- architecture development and analysis
- devise new processes and train people in them
- document all the above (and not have to be told to do it!)
- contract and vendor management

I don't expect this of a TAFE/private cert graduate. I expect they can:
- cut certain types of code or configure certain types of equipment as requested
- design networks according to existing rules
- debug systems against known approaches
- fill out predesigned templates
- watch lights and respond according to rules I have to train them in
- follow processes that I train them in

Technical competencies date if you don't keep them fresh, so those
certs must be redone, or constantly reinforced. Professionals should
continue to learn and maintain their professional knowledge, and a
true professional will make sure they know where to find the
information they need to refresh.

For those that want combinations of the two I suggest you look at
places like UTS that have built in industry certs with the degree
programs in order to get the level of box configuring you need with a
professional approach.

That said, it aint perfect and I am often annoyed at the lack of
literacy and numeracy in uni graduates.

Don't get me started on the lack of people who can do sensible traffic
models and forecasts in networks! Or in true protocol analysis! And
then there's the univ lecturer who asked me a year (two?) ago whether
they should be teaching IPv6. *facepalm

[Disclaimer - the ranter has degrees in Engineering and Science, and
completed a few Cisco and Juniper courses years ago]




narellec at gmail.com

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