If you’ve ever dreamt of being the lynchpin in a multi-faceted, high-paced, high-pressure environment, you may have the DNA to be a network administrator for a custom software development firm.
My morning typically begins earlier than most so that by the time I get hit with the typical requests for server access, new staging environments and tech support, I’ll have some good progress under my belt.
The first morning rush is typically for access to network resources. In an environment where things are constantly in a state of flux – developers are cutting code, software packages are being installed and removed, etc. – requests for access to specific network & IT resources are common. Someone may have tools they use everyday but due to some change in network or software configuration they no longer have access. I get to swoop in, figure out the problem, and help them get productive. The beauty and frustration in this is that every challenge is unique. Of course there are common threads, but when it comes to troubleshooting these types of issue, it’s as much about IT problem solving as it is about persistence. There is ALWAYS a way to make something work and it’s my job to find it.
The second wave is commonly for new development and staging servers. We have a consistent flow of projects starting and ending which necessitates spooling up or archiving servers, project-specific user accounts, and a variety of other processes depending on the nature of the project. This work is a bit more rote but is a crucial part of our process. A tidy digital environment is much easier to manage than one littered with outdated VMs, old mail accounts and unused VPN rules.
The middle part of the day is typically my time to work on internal IT projects. I recently set up a new domain controller and mail server. We’re also expecting a fiber backbone in the office in the next couple months which will allow us to do more tier 1 hosting from our local office, and there’s a lot of underwater work to do before that happens. And once that happens, we’ll be working to duplicate the infrastructure at our office (generator backup, redundant network connections, etc) which will allow us to certify at a higher tier for hosting.
These initiatives are part and parcel for us at PLAYXPERT. We enjoy what we do and are always looking for ways to improve. Since our industry changes at an alarming rate, we are constantly learning new methods, trying new tools, and implementing new concepts. By playing with the technology ourselves, it gives us the necessary experience to hit the ground running on client projects.
As the network administrator, I am rarely a visible part of our consulting work. However, our IT infrastructure is the backbone that allows us to function at the level that we do. I’m the first one to get the call at 3am when there’s a hardware failure or some unexpected behavior on our servers. I am constantly in situations where I am trying to fix something that I didn’t break. The lion’s share of requests for my help are unexpected emergencies at the 11th hour on some crucial deliverable where I either need to figure it out or the whole thing will collapse. And I love it.