[colug-432] Computer Programmer Productivity Ratio

Jim Wildman jim at rossberry.com
Mon Jul 21 17:17:40 EDT 2014

I'm not trying to be snobbish or anything other than observant.  I
routinely have to sit beside admins who up-up-up-back-back-back-(20x),
then delete what they just backed over, then retype it (often still
wrong) cause they don't know about tab completion, etc.

I have the problem of knowing too many ways to do some things and not
enough ways to do others.  And I also routinely see things that I don't
know.  But some companies I'm at have obviously boiled off the cream and
are left with the dregs who have not learned to do things
efficiently...and then complain about having too much to do.

(haphazardly mixing metaphors with abandon).

On Mon, 21 Jul 2014, Scott Merrill wrote:

> Hash: SHA512
> On 7/21/14, 12:11 PM, Ethan Dicks wrote:
>> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 7:10 AM, Jim Wildman <jim at rossberry.com>
>> wrote:
>>> As part of my work with Red Hat, I interact with the sys admins
>>> at many companies.  I am no longer shocked at how many do not
>>> understand the basic productivity enhancement tools available to
>>> them like
>>> shell history screen commands like watch in place shell
>>> programming (basic for loops, etc)
>> If you are saying there are sysadmins who sit at a shell prompt
>> all day (as opposed to the GUI-clicky types, which is a different
>> problem) and _don't_ use one or more of those tools *every day*, I
>> have to wonder what other obvious things they don't know.
> I agree that there is a necessary modicum of skill to be considered
> "competent", but "obvious things" is a moving target based on situation.
> I recently learned that someone who I consider to be a competent Linux
> sysadmin had never personally installed Linux.  In his professional
> life, that was a task always performed by a different team.
> (Sure, one could argue that one could/should be installing Linux at
> home to round out one's experience, but that's a very different
> discussion.)
> I rarely use anything other than the arrow keys to navigate my history
> because I rarely have any situation arise in which the arrow keys are
> insufficient.  If someone can be productive and successful with a
> limited subset of the tools you find indispensable, it does not
> necessarily make them inferior or subpar.
>>> It's not hard to be better than most when the bar is set so low.
>> One of my standard interview question threads explores how much
>> the candidate knows about signals and processes - things like "what
>> does the command 'kill -1' do?" or "what does 'kill' really do"
>> (i.e., "send a signal to a process".  Even Wikipedia knows that).
>> I've had "experienced" sysadmins tell me they don't really know
>> because they've "never done that"... one guy was a greybeard who
>> got started with UNIX before there was an Linux... I asked him if
>> he ever edited a crontab (before "crontab -e") and how he got cron
>> to notice what he did...
> A lot of this kind of thing gets into self-congratulatory navel
> gazing. While I know that `kill` sends signals to processes, I can't
> tell you offhand what the individual numeric signals equate to.  It
> doesn't matter within the context of my job: knowing the numeric value
> isn't necessary to know how to send the signal I want to send.
> The Linux world is different now than it was a decade ago.  It's
> possible to be professionally successful without the kind of hard-won
> deep expertise many of us acquired through years of tinkering and playing.
> Cheers,
> Scott
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Jim Wildman, CISSP, RHCE       jim at rossberry.com http://www.rossberry.net
"Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best
state, is a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."
Thomas Paine

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