Dear Sysadmin, time is over. Learn coding. Fast!

In my early Linux days over 20 years ago, all you had to do was setting up things in config files. And it worked all fine for me.

On some day there came something up called “virtualisation”. After that more and more systems were installed in less and even lesser time. The problem was to keep up all configs in sync, time was always to less and as always the team was understaffed. Sure you could copy configs or share them on the one or other way but it was not really satisfying to me. So I started to think about to code some solution for that but fast I gave it up. The barrier just seemed to high for me at that point. And overall I am a Sysadmin and no Software Developer if I had wanted to be a developer I had become one. ;-)

But it did not last long and the next big thing for me was the configuration management via puppet about 8 or 9 years ago. Puppet was and still is such a great tool which solves a lot of problems in the modern sysadmin world. But as always new things come with new challenges. So I had to code almost the first time again after my technical schooling. OK, I must admit it was due to the puppet SDL on a very high level and a more descriptive way but it was a totally new way. You had to think about how to work on puppet with different people and teams, how you organize the code structure, where and how do you save and share it, what about versioning, code quality and all these things who come along with the new approach.

Shortly after that, I became the opportunity to switch into a management role responsible for the IT infrastructure of an insurance company, what I accepted. So the technical part came over the years more and more in the background and the people and project management came in the foreground. We experimented with scrum and kanban to solve these both areas at once. And it worked very well in your team but struggled on the border to other teams. As the company was very conservative and slow this barrier could not be taken.

So I moved on and started as an System Architect in a big industry company. Packed with all my knowledge in tech and methods I came just in the right time as my new company is in a heavy digital transformation process and moving very fast and agile in this new direction. My mission is to automate all Linux installations and configurations in the on premise cloud and also in the public clouds as AWS and Azure. Unneeded to say that all machines have to stay compliant with the security and company guidelines. Here are really a lot of different APIs, manufactures and programming languages involved. In my team software developers and sysadmins work together very close. A lot of the coding tasks are only done by the software developers but they heavily hinge on the Sysadmins as wise versa they are from the developers. The cause is that the developers have far to less knowledge of the infrastructure behavior and the admins are often not yet able to code in that deep level.

Almost another 10 years are gone since the first programming needs for Sysadmins and as the history profess that it is more and more important to be able to code. In my opinion it is almost on the verge of being to late. If you are not able to program in the future you won’t be able to do your job anymore. So I can only advice you to learn coding and that fast!

What can you do for a starting?

You have similar experience or you want to tell how you get started coding, just tell in the comments!

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