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Skirmantas Krunglevičius: Rewards of Being a Linux SysAdmin

4 min read

The term “Big Data” and the problems of a vastly increasing volume of data have been circulating in the tech news for quite some time. Every growing company faces this issue at one point or another, especially people responsible for that data to be stored and processed without a hitch. In this week’s blog post, we spoke with one of the Linux SysAdmins here at Tesonet about the in’s and out’s of his profession, the future data problems, and why cybersecurity is so vital for every company out there. 

First of all, could you tell us more about what a Linux SysAdmin actually does? 

A very important job indeed. But jokes aside, SysAdmin makes sure that the infrastructure on which all the services are running is secure and working as it should. Basically, we’re in charge of the foundation on which everything in the company is built. And that includes automation of tasks, continuous monitoring, upgrading systems, and reacting to incidents if they occur.

How did you become a Linux SysAdmin, and how does one prepare for a job like this? 

Personally, I have been interested in computers since I was a young kid. Mainly because my father had an IT-related job and showed me how to work with computers, including Linux, which was very interesting to me at the time. I spent a lot of time reading about how the internet, storage, and other things work, experimented by creating websites, game servers, and scripting, programming things I needed. It helped me tremendously in my professional career in the future. I also have a bachelor’s degree in IT, which contributed to my success. So, in short, you need patience, passion to learn new things, and to read, analyze, experiment. It’s what matters the most in my line of work. 

There’s an understanding that being a SysAdmin is stressful as you get to deal with unexpected problems and perform under pressure. Would you agree with that? 

Yes, it’s quite stressful, and you often get to “extinguish fires,” as we sometimes say. However, as time goes, you get used to that, and later, you learn how to deal with stress better in such situations. It can be quite a cold shower at first, but then you learn resistance, and it actually becomes an everyday thing. Personally, I also have to deal with unexpected problems in my work, but what helps is that I’m not alone in this. All that we do is teamwork, and that support makes it much easier to deal with these problems. 

Would you say that you have more problem-solving tasks arising from the company’s need or shortcomings of software? 

I would say that most of the problems SysAdmins faces are related to human errors or just hardware, software failures. However, the biggest challenge at the moment is definitely security. And not in the sense that we cannot take precautions and ensure that security, but as the technology is evolving, the cyber attacks are getting more sophisticated. And they’re extremely common, making it difficult to predict and prepare for what might happen. You always have to do and hope for the best. It applies to any company out there to take care of their cybersecurity.

There’s a lot of talk going around the “Big data.” What’s your take on that, and how will the increasing volume of data impact tech companies’ future?

We indeed store, analyze, and process more and more data in this day and age. That’s why we need to constantly keep up with software, hardware, and technical skills to be able to do that. But personally, I think that in the future, we’ll reach such a level where we can automate the vast majority of complex things, prevent most of the failures and make our life easier overall. It’s a two-way street because the more data we’re able to store and process, the easier it’s to make AIs, which can perform tasks, predict failures, and other essential things for us. In return, it makes the storing processing less of a hassle. 

Is it true that sometimes when wanting to implement changes you have to work strange hours, e.g., at night when other employees aren’t working? 

Haha, absolutely. Strange working hours is part of the SysAdmin job :)) But, to be honest, it’s more of an exception than a rule. In most cases, you just know when you will need to work extra hours and prepare for that. However, when planning your career, you have to be open to this requirement. For some people, it’s quite obvious. Others are quite adverse to the idea and aren’t so keen on an additional evening in the office. 

What are the most rewarding things about your job? What advice would you give to the future SysAdmins out there?

It’s an extremely interesting and mentally stimulating job. You’re always in a position to learn new things, wonder, solve complex problems, which brings a sense of gratification and satisfaction. My personal advice to the future SysAdmins would be to read a lot about IT stuff, experiment and if you fail to do something, just try again until you succeed. Try to do projects that could be useful to yourself, such as setting up your website, mail server, etc. It’ll turn into beneficial skills in the future. 

Finally, if you had a chance to go back in time and change your profession, what would you choose? Why? 

I wouldn’t. I like the path which I took, and I wouldn’t change one thing. As I’ve mentioned before, I find SysAdmin’s work very interesting and rewarding despite being quite stressful at times. However, the benefits outweigh the cons in my case.