This Article is About
5 steps
network engineer
exchange systems
4 steps
5 Steps To Becoming The Best IT Professional
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

5 Steps to Becoming the Best IT Professional

What are the 5 steps?

  1. Learn
  2. Read logs
  3. Research
  4. Protect Data
  5. Be decisive

What is an IT Professional?

IT Professional is just a blanket term to cover a variety of IT positions. Positions such as Systems Administrator, Helpdesk Engineer, Support Engineer, Network Engineer, etc...

What makes you think I have any authority to judge such a wide range of people?

I don't have any authority. However, I do have more exposure to people who work in IT than most others due to my consulting experience. I spent 5 years of my career as a DR consultant doing DR solution design and implementation. To be successful I had to work with the big picture. That meant I worked with the Systems Admin, Network Engineer, Operations Manager, Email Admin, Backup Admin, DBA and the like. In some smaller shops this was one or two people. In larger corporations it was 5 or 6 different people. By the time I left the consulting life I had worked with well over 100 different companies and over two hundred IT Professionals.

Can you give me some examples of where the 4 steps has worked for you?

Example 1:

I was consulting for a large law firm in New York where I was implementing a cross geographical cluster of their Exchange systems. I showed up at 8:00 AM EST and by the time 11:00 AM came around I still hadn't done anything because their Exchange cluster was down and they were still working on solving the problem. They finally got me an administrative account so I could start looking at things and I thought I'd look at their Exchange server to see if I could help with the problem they were having.

  1. Learned - Prior to this project I had configured everything on my laptop using VMWare Workstation. I read help files and other documentation to get an idea how MS Exchange worked
  2. Read Logs - I started up Event Viewer, connected to their Exchange cluster, and started reading the logs. In less than a minute I saw that the Information Store service had been stopped.
  3. Research - I used a utility called psservice to check the status of the service to verify that it was stopped. I already new that this service was required for Exchange to be operational from the learning I did in step 1.
  4. Protect Data - Exchange data was already protected using transaction logging.
  5. Be decisive - I then promptly grabbed one of the three Exchange Admins and told them that their Information Store was down. They started the services which brought Exchange up so I was able to get started on my project.

Example 2:

I worked with a customer who had a backup application to backup Virtual Machines on a VMWare server. Backups were fine but restores failed. I had never looked at this application before so it took me a minute to find where the logs were stored. After reading the logs I found that the software couldn't restore the files because it couldn't find them. It had the path to the file which I compared with the path on the actual target file system. Right away I noticed that the case of the letters in the log were different from the case of the letters on the file system. Since a lot of things these days are still case sensitive I thought maybe that was our problem.

After looking through the software I learned that it was not possible to retype the path so that it had the correct case. From my knowledge of what I've worked with at other customer sites, played with in the lab and read about, I knew that most enterprise applications that are written for windows and have large datasets use MS SQL on the back end. So I had the customer log me into a SQL server that had the MS SQL GUI installed. I then pointed to the database on this server used by the backup applications.

Right away I found the table that contained these filesystem paths and after making a backup I changed the path to match the case on the target backup system. We then tested a restore using that particular share and it was successful.

This case had been opened for 5 months and had gone through multiple people within my team and the backup app vendor's company. I solved it in about 25 minutes. The customer called my boss to give me some big kudos and after proving this pattern over and over again I know work from home with a lot of freedom.

It wasn't because I know everything and as my wife will tell you I am by no means a genius. It was because:

  1. Learn - I quickly learned about the backup application that the customer was using by spending a few minutes on Google.
  2. Read Logs - I found and read the logs
  3. Researched - Fortunately I already knew a little about all involved in the big picture (I've never managed MS SQL before but I know enough to poke around) For me, my research almost always includes a recreation of the solution. When I implement the entire solution where a problem is involved then I learn more about the big picture. I often will also have good logs to compare with the logs that contain errors from the customer or my own systems.
  4. Protect Data - I protected the data by backing it up. If you can test this type of thing in a lab environment then you eliminate risk because you now have an expected outcome.
  5. Be Decisive - Then I made the necessary modifications with confidence that it would either solve the problem or break the software completely :D

I have dozens of similar experiences where I can tie everything to these 5 steps. From recovering data after formatting a drive to a full blown Disaster Recovery project for a fortune 500 company. My experience in the industry within the USA has shown me that we are severely lacking in IT Professionals who can consistently follow any if not all of these steps.

I've met a lot of people who are so afraid to make any changes that things don't get done. I've seen data lost from silly mistakes and out of the 200+ IT Professionals with whom I have worked I would say that maybe 15% actually read logs!

Where I think we lack most is in step one. I have seen a lot more Facebook and Ebay on LCD screens than I have logs and white papers. I've seen hundreds of shelves filled with technical books but most look untouched. I've asked dozens of Systems Administrators for large fortune 500 companies to open a command prompt to learn that they don't know how. It is frustrating to watch a customer point and click through 35 windows when a one liner command could do them all in 5 seconds.

Let me know what you think of my 5 steps. They have served me well and hopefully they add value to someone else.


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
5 Steps To Make Hip Hop Beats
Today we are teaching how to make hip hop beats! So sit back, get your creative juices flowing and let's do this! We will go over five steps that need to take place in order to get you on track to making a hit song! Step One to Make Hip…
By: Tim Hooper in  Arts and Entertainment  >  Music Industry   Dec 05, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

5 Steps to Great Compost
Composting is a great way to help reduce your impact on the planet. It saves you money, and you can use it in your vegetable garden. Some people can even sell it. Apparently 23% of all household rubbish in the US is stuff that could be composted - it's an…
By: Richard Tui in  Home and Family  >  Gardening   Sep 18, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Are You A Giver Or A Taker? 5 Steps to Become A Giver
This is one thing I try to ask myself on a daily basis. I want to be a giver, not a taker. Why, you may ask. Well, I find that being a giver is much more rewarding than being a taker. This is not to say that when you given…
By: Joyce aka Nana in  Self Improvement  >  Inspirational   Nov 10, 2012  
5
  Likes: 1

5 Steps To A Better You
You can make huge strides to a better physical and mental well being by following through on some small resolutions. And if you know that you want to improve on say your health and lifestyle, you most definitely can be on your way if you follow these 7 steps to…
By: Ronald Colona in  Self Improvement  >  Personal Growth   Jul 27, 2013  
1
  Likes: 2

5 Steps to Better Organization In the Bathroom
In the home, the bathroom ranks as the most visited room. It will require daily attention because, if not, the room can become a disorganized mess quite quickly. While no one would ever suggest the bathroom is the most fun room to clean or organize, anyone who follows these five…
By: Nicole Alan in  Home and Family   Jul 31, 2013  
0
  Likes: 0

5 Steps To An Easy Article Writing Campaign
I started writing articles for an article marketing campaign about a year ago in an effort to drive traffic to a site I had developed. I had never thought much about writing before, so it was all new to me. Over the year though, I have learned some methods that…
By: Scott10 in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Nov 22, 2012  
4
  Likes: 1

5 Steps To Success In Affiliate Marketing
If you're really serious about finding out more about affiliate marketing then read all this article. For new people coming online hoping to make some extra cash, quickly find out about the probability of doing affiliate marketing, and hope to make their fortune. Sadly most fail, because they dont' understand…
By: Len Cecchetto in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Affiliate Revenue   May 28, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

Curing Back Acne – 5 Steps To A Clear Back
Curing back acne is hard without the proper knowledge and instruction. The most difficult thing about trying to get rid of acne is that there are so many different ways that people recommend, making it more confusing than it needs to be. So, here the 5 steps that I've used…
By: Michael Gutierrez1 in  Health and Fitness  >  Acne   Jun 08, 2011  
0
  Likes: 10

5 Steps to Easy Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can seem so complicated to a person just starting out in internet marketing. Is there really such a thing as easy affiliate marketing? Actually, it can seem complex to someone who has been around for a while, as well. There are so many big name gurus pushing their…
By: Andy Denton in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Affiliate Revenue   May 20, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

5 Steps to Overcome This Problem - My Ex Is Sleeping With Another Guy
If you're in the unhappy situation of saying "my ex is sleeping with another guy," here are five tips that will help you deal with the pain and get back on the road to reconnecting with her.1. Accept the jealousy and pain.Realize that there is nothing you can do about…
By: Max Grimnar in  Relationships  >  Conflict   Nov 15, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

5 Steps to Starting a Business from Home
The 5 steps to starting a business from home are: first, making a list of your skills and talents; second, study the list to generate business ideas; third, check local and online markets to see what people are looking for; fourth, make a business plan and calculate your profit potential;…
By: Andy Denton in  Home Based Business   May 07, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Own an online business : 5 steps to get you started
Many would be entrepreneurs fail because they think they can’t afford to start. Wrong! Just about everyone can afford to own an online business. It’s the perfect option if you’re starting out because there is no risk or overhead cost. It’s not the easy way out (I assure, be prepared…
By: bek in  Internet and Businesses Online   Apr 11, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Make Money Affiliate Marketing - 5 Steps To Success
As we speak there are literally thousands of people all around the world doing affiliate marketing either full or part time and making money from it - whether it is a few dollars a week to help fund those little extras or tens of thousands of dollars every month, and…
By: Andy Denton in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Affiliate Revenue   May 05, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

5 Steps To Exorcising Your Ex How To Get Rid Of The Demons Of Relationships Past
Getting over a past relationship can be difficult. Your memory will be haunted for months, even years, after you have broken up with your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend. It will take some work getting past this relationship. These five steps are going to help exorcise your ex. Although it…
By: Garry2 in  Relationships   Dec 26, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

5 Steps to Get Your Ex to Want You Back
After a breakup, it is just normal to feel hurt and long for your ex boyfriend. Even if it was him who dumped you when you think you have not done anything wrong, you will have to feel the need to see and be with him from time to time.…
By: John Jarvis in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Dec 29, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

Article Views: 1716    Report this Article