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Looking for a demi-god

Someone sent me a link the other day, it was a job offer posting for a LUG, the title is Unix/Linux admin, and here are the requirements:

Required experience and skills:
Excellent communication, documentation and organization skills
Excellent problem solving techniques
Self motivated and strong desire for self improvement
Master of Linux/UNIX administration
Strong Programming background
PERL, PHP, Java, Python, etc.
UNIX scripting
Master of web-server technologies
Tomcat, Apache, IIS, etc.
Strong database background
MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle, etc.
Master of network administration
Routers, Firewalls, Layer2-3 switches, etc.
Master with managing backups and backup rotations for:
File systems, DB servers, etc.
Proficient Windows 2000/XP workstation administration
Thorough knowledge of Office 2000/XP/2003

For the full post, see here:

Let's count how many jobs are there in these requirements:

1. A Linux and Unix Guru, it does not specify which Unix they are talking about, AIX, Solaris, HPUX?
2. A programmer of many talents, Perl, PHP and Python can be lumped together to some degree, but Java and "etc.", Seriously?
3. A web-master, does that include graphics as well?
4. A database administrator that masters Oracle as well as MSSQL and MySQL as well, why didn't they throw in SQLite and DB2?
5. Someone who can do desktop support as well (2000/XP and Office 2000/XP/2003)
6. Oh, and a network administrator, which is a completely different role than a system administrator.

And this ladies and gentlemen is one of the biggest problems in the job market today. For some reason people think that if you can do one thing on a computer, you can do everything, and do it well.

A Linux administrator is not the same as a Unix administrator, even though Linux is very close it is absolutely not the same thing, most of the Linux administrators will have one or more distributions under their belts, as well as one or more BSD flavor, maybe some Solaris as well, but you get that after maybe 10 years? When it comes to HPUX and AIX, there is no way to get any experience on them unless you work in a company that has them, and I am yet to see a company that deploys AIX and HPUX in the same shop.

A system administrator will usually have some good network management experience, but these are completely different fields, simple networks and VPNs are one thing, but when it comes to mastering Cisco or Juniper, then you are dealing with a very specialized fields, you might as well let your podiatrist do you eye surgery, why not, they are all "doctors", right?

Now when it comes to databases, again most system administrators will have basic DBA knowledge, how to install the thing, secure it...etc, but optimize queries and write stored procedures, and a million other things that I don't even know? No, not by a long shot, maybe we can do it with MySQL and PostgreSQL, but it will not be great, and we will blamed for the shortcomings, and then management will end up hiring a consultant to fix our errors.

Technical support, the description says workstation administration and office. I don't mind doing *some* support from time to time, but a company would be stupid to pay someone the rate of an administrator and then waste his or her time doing technical support for end users. There are some places where your job title is Technical Support but it is such a high end position that you are actually a system or network administrator in disguise.

And last, a programmer and web-master who knows every modern programming language, they put the 3 big Ps in there, as well as Java, there is probably some C++ or C# or something like that as well, they probably feel that they are all one and the same, I say that because they are clueless on the rest of the description.

Here is a message to HR people out there, you will not find such a creature, and if you do, he'll just be bluffing his way through the interview. Even if such a person exists, there is no way you can afford them in the first place, I do not mean to offend, but your expectations are unrealistic at best.

A good system administrator can also be a competent network administrator, he might know several Unix and Linux flavors, but not all of them, he will know how to script in several languages, mostly it will be shell, Perl and Python, probably not all three of them. He might have some basic DBA knowledge and some programming experience that is outdated or he does not want to use anymore, after all, if he is a good programmer, there is a good reason that he quit the 9 to 5 highly paid Dev job to work 24/7 carrying a pager and getting less money, yes programmers make more money, administrators are aware of this and do not complain much.

Over the last year, I have struggled with the job market and I have seen numerous job offers that resemble this one to various degrees, this is what you get when you have HR people writing job descriptions, again, I am not putting down HR people, but unless you are a technical recruiter who came out of our field, you cannot understand the depth and different branches of our field.

Variations on this theme are job offers requiring CCNA to do first level tech support, Linux administration jobs that require MCSA, or offers that require deep knowledge in a very specialized field and only offer 30% of market salary (one example comes to mind, a security specialist with Cisco, Microsoft, Sun and several security certificates, plus government security clearance, and offering 35,000 per year, I actually emailed that guy and told him that he is missing a zero).

This job offer is not realistic, I imagine three possible scenarios:

1. HR did not consult Tech
2. This is just to attract ANY talent out there and then filter them out
3. This was done to prove something to management.

In all cases, it is wrong, you labeled yourself as ignorant, your LUG members will never forget how clueless you are, and when reality hits and you find the 5 or 6 people you need to fill in all the requirements you will always be disappointed and start crying about talent shortage.

Good luck to you sir, such gods do not exist anymore, the era of "Real Programmers" is over, deal with it.


very well said

ur peice is very well put and honestly impressive