By Kyle Gingrich
The last Friday in July is SysAdmin Appreciation Day, a holiday sacred to all of us who work in IT. A day dedicated to acknowledging the grueling, and often thankless, work by systems administrators all over the world. Created on a whim by Chicago-based Systems Administrator Ted Kekatos back in 2000, it has steadily grown, and today has its own Wikipedia page, hashtag (#SysAdminDay), special events, and giveaways.
The holiday’s official website shares irreverent tips such as “how to appropriately use your SysAdmin’s time” and suggestions for gifts, curiously mostly edible, to show your thanks. SysAdmin Appreciation Day now attracts a few big-name sponsors, including Spiceworks, who thinking so highly of it, extended it so that we now also have “The 12 Days of Sysmas.”
How should you observe SysAdmin Appreciation Day?
Just like any appreciation day, it’s all about giving thanks. Whether that means showering your SysAdmin with gifts, cards, food, or just praise, the important thing is to remember to acknowledge what they do. Even just an office wide email or an in-person kudos works – or if you are feeling particularly generous, you might give them the day off.
To ensure that the correct people get to bask in the glory for their special day, it is crucial to know exactly who is getting appreciated.
So what exactly is a SysAdmin?
Think about it like this. Who is that one IT person or team responsible for everything from setting up new machines, connecting them to the office intranet, performing maintenance on the server to troubleshooting connectivity issues? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — the list is endless.
Well say hello to your or Systems Administrator, or SysAdmin.
Often larger companies will have entire teams of SysAdmins who specialize in different aspects of systems administration: security, maintenance, networking, server management, database management, hardware, and troubleshooting. So it could be one or many team members you need to appreciate.
Why does SysAdmin Appreciation Day Matter?
Primarily, because the role they play is just so extraordinary and essential to the smooth running of any organization.
- A SysAdmin ensures that business-critical computer networks remain operational, and this often means being on-call 24/7 to fix a problem.
- If the email server crashes over the weekend, a SysAdmin will fix it.
- If the internet cuts out midday, the SysAdmin leaps into action.
- If there’s news of a virus sweeping the net, a SysAdmin will investigate and deploy patches.
This means there is a huge amount of pressure on SysAdmins to respond quickly and perform under pressure. By its very nature, the position is byzantine with the specific requirements for technical fluency varying greatly from one company to another. SysAdmins need to continually upskill-either on the job or by studying for an official IT certification to keep up with the constant evolution of technology.
Furthermore, the demand for qualified SysAdmins usually far exceeds supply, making it highly beneficial to the company to ensure their SysAdmin feels appreciated.
So show them you care, and thank your SysAdmin this Friday!
Kyle Gingrich is the VP of IT & Certification at Skillsoft.