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Novice Network Administrator Questions

By aaronpctech ·
Hello all,

I am a long time reader, first time poster. I am somewhat of a novice network administrator/consultant. I was just assigned to this brand new location for a couple days a week and I am supposed to be "THE IT GUY". I basically have to start from scratch in terms of documentation, mapping out the layout of the network, building up a better relationship with all the managers, improving the efficiency of the company, etc. etc.) My company has all ready installed all the servers, set up the network and all.

I'm kind of going to be like the hands and eyes of my PM. I really dont want to screw this up.

What I really want to know is , can you all provide me with some great tips on how to be super efficent and pretty much organize the place. Questions I should ask to learn more about the company and its functions. How to keep great relationships. Things I should look out for.

Things like that. If you know of any great books I should take a look at that would be appreciated as well.

Thank you so much much for any help you can provide. If i'm not being clear or whatever please let me know so that I can clarify myself.

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One suggestion

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Novice Network Administra ...

Rummage through the IT Generalist discussion at It may do as a starting place.

You've already asked about one of the best things you can do, and that's learning about the company and it's business. Their HR and Sales managers are usually great places to start, since they have to explain the company to outsiders on a regular basis.

Get a good inventory of all hardware and software you'll have to support. Find out which departments have the most computers; that's usually a good indicator of which ones will need your support the most. Learn something about the applications that they use most heavily. Talk to those department managers about their needs over both the short term and the long term.

It sounds like you work for a consulting or third-party support company. Talk to other employees of your company and see how they handle client company relations.

My, that "One suggestion" really mushroomed.

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Thank You

by aaronpctech In reply to One suggestion

Tank you so much Palmetto for your reply.
I need all the help I can get.

My company does a bit of connsulting and third party support.
This is my first site where I am pretty much by myself. I've had a few hiccups in the past, so I really want to shine here so that I can prove to the company that I've got what it takes if you know what I mean.

Your suggentions are greatly appreciated and right along the lines of what I was looking for. I will definitely look through Generalist discussion and read all posts.

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On being the only IT guy

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Thank You

It can be an interesting career path, and there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to being the only IT guy on site. Your situation is somewhat different from my experiences. You apparently have your boss right there in town. I've always worked several hundred miles away from my immediate supervisor and any other IT department member.

If you can show you have the self-discipline to work with minimal supervision, and can grasp the priorities of the business you're supporting, you can tailor your schedule to meet the local needs. On the other hand, you wind up turning to on-line forums (like this one) for technical interaction and feedback.

Do you have an annual review? Be sure to have your reviewer discuss your performance with the on-site managers. I've found if I can keep the locals happy, my boss will factor their satisfaction into my review.

Good luck. Drop me a private message if you want to discuss the situation in more detail.

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When there is nothing to do.

by aaronpctech In reply to On being the only IT guy

Here is a good question. What does an administrator do when there seems like there is nothing to do.

When everything seems like it is running smoothly and no major problems are occuring. What could I be doing instead of sitting on my *** waiting for something to happen.

Also, can anyone point me to an article or form posting on how to write up a good network assesment.

Thank you for all your help.

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by wmcmillin In reply to When there is nothing to ...

Documentation is the best tool a Net Admin could ever have. In the slow periods, document everything! Wiring maps of the network, diagrams of the wiring closets, swithes, patch panels, routers, hubs, fiber, cat5! Everything. Don't trust the old diagrams. Things always change! Keep them updated as often as you can! When the feces hits the rotary oscillator, you will know exactly what is what!

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Learn a new skill

by CharlieSpencer In reply to When there is nothing to ...

Do you have a machine at this location dedicated to your use? Load a compiler and learn a programming language.

Got an extra machine available? Load Linux and play with that. It will improve your GQ (Geek Quotient) with the locals.

Are there any software programs in heavy use that you aren't familiar with? Load one and see if it has an online tutorial.

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Survey says ...

by stress junkie In reply to Learn a new skill

... 89 out of 100 people agreed.

Good answer!!!

I've learned a lot over the years by using a spare computer for experiments.

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New Skill

by aaronpctech In reply to Learn a new skill

I guess the best thing for me to do is Learn as much as I can about the current software programs, and then tackle a new language.

I currently do not know any languages. Which would be the best to start?

I need to learn Linux as well.

Geez, there are too many things to learn in IT :)

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"There is no 'try'; only DO!", said Yoda.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to New Skill

Expect to spend 15-20% of your career learning new technologies. Being a generalist is a lot tougher than it was even five years ago. You'll have to focus on those aspects that are important to your current employer. I've had multimedia / digital media stuff on the back burner for years. Work priorities have placed other technologies on the front of my "To Learn" list.

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New Skills are a must

by LadyAdmin In reply to Learn a new skill

I am a proponent of learning new things. Being a Relatively new admin at a new job, learning is all I do (besides firefighting).

This is not an easy field to be in. If you can't commit to a lifelong commitment to learning, it's going to be hard. I appreciate the questions Aaron is asking as they are questions we've all asked in one form or another in our lives. I've never posted before, but this thread compelled me to. I sent an offline message to Palmetto too for that "awesome spreadsheet"; it can only help me here.

VBScripting is my next "skill" to acquire!

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