Interview with Noah Bailey

My name is Noah, I'm a computer geek from Ontario, Canada. My day job is as a system admin working mostly on Linux servers, so anything I do at home or for my personal website are "mad science" type experiments, or just things I think are neat. Sometimes I discover new and exciting things, other times it's just a fun waste of time (a "hobby" as some say).

What is your Computer Systems Technology education background?

I graduated a local college a few years ago, the courses were about 50/50 with theoretical and practical content. Most were focused on the traditional "enterprise IT" stack, stuff like Windows Server, Cisco, Dell, etc. The most interesting classes were the ones related to cloud, linux, and security, and that's really where I started to specialize towards the end. If you look through my old posts, the amount of Windows stuff really drops off around the end of 2018.

Outside of college, I have spent a long time being a nerd. I first started using Linux as a teenager, and spent some time dabbling in the "hackintosh" scene as well (that is, installing the Mac operating system on a PC). My drive has always been to 'do things wrong', stuff like turning routers into computers and vice versa. In a more recent example, hooking up an old '70s telephone to a VOIP system. It's kind of funny, a little shocking, and full of juxtaposition which I enjoy a lot. 

What does your average weekly schedule look like? Do you use any time management software?

My day job takes up most of my time and energy, so if there's anything left at the end of the day I'll poke around with my own gear. Like I said, it's mostly experimental "fun" stuff that may or may not materialize into something useful. In terms of 'time management software' I try to spice things up a little to give myself a break from the world of Jira, these days I've been trying to get into the GNU Emacs org-mode tools. I've heard some good things about it, any software that's survived a quarter of a century has to be good, right?

What sysadmin tools make your day easier?

Number one is Ansible, it's an absolutely fantastic tool. I like to say that it's my army of robots, and in some ways it is. I can't think of a simpler way to remote into a hundred servers at once and apply a config.

But more important is just automation in general. Bash is great for Linux guys, PowerShell is also an option these days, both are very good tools for anybody to have.

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of your work nowadays?

Advantage - the industry is changing so fast. There's so much room for newcomers to quickly level up their skills and find a niche. And most of all, it's fun. Every day is a little different, there's always a new problem to solve.

Disadvantage - Security is a never ending struggle. It's a little frightening how many large scale hacks have happened in the last year, and keeping yourself (and your organization) safe can be challenging. Some see that as an opportunity though, there's an expanding field of cyber security research with lots of room for newcomers.

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