Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Adam Moskowitz <email@example.com>, Facilitator
Nick Stoughton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Scribe
Tuesday was the Advanced Topics Workshop, hosted and moderated once again by Adam Moskowitz. The 30 or so of us went around the room doing introductions (our names, companies, numbers of users servers and gigabytes of storage), discussed our environments, and mentioned some of the problems we were seeing.
Hiring seems to be a common theme this year. People who changed employers this year generally took a 10% or so raise. Increased benefits — some companies are working harder on improving worklplace (more coffee machines) and better incentives/benefits. This has previously been a rathole, but why has it come back?
Another common theme is fast growth. Freenix/Linux has not yet really discovered large scale; they still think in the Windows mentality of single systems, not in terms of clusters.
These are linked... the growth in systems requires more human resources. Hiring itself is not fixing the problem. The question was raised if there is a Y2K impact? No... most of this is pure growth. Lack of certification ("I'm NT certified... I want to learn Unix") and lack of competence are the biggest problems. Not just pure technical skills (what commands do what) but other skills such as change management, project management, and so on are what's missing. Pure technical skills (measured in certification) are not enough; it is the soft skills — knowing when to do something rather than what to do — that is the hardest thing to find.
The afternoon session of the Workshop included some predictions for what we think will be coming in the next year. Numbers in square brackets indicate the number of people present who agreed with the prediction.
Lest you think that we're omniscient — or that we even consider that as a possibility — we also looked at our success rate from the previous 4 workshops. We were right about some things, dead wrong on others, and 1-4 years ahead of our time on still others. So take these predictions with a grain (or bushel) of salt.
Finally, we wrapped up the workshop with a discussion of some problems we're facing (a VMS to Unix transition in one place, the administration of customers' router passwords in another, and so on), with possible solutions bandied about. We also mentioned some interesting or cool stuff we'd done in the past year. Other than Y2K Remediation and documentation of policies and procedures, I hadn't done a lot.