Mikko Salenius – What makes a good admin

We’ve all met alot of administrators and work with them daily, but have you ever thought what makes a good admin? Good administrator is required to have lots of crucial skills in addition to technical skills. I speak of administrators as we, because we’re also practising administrator work in our datacenter studies.

We’re required to be able to follow very difficult procedures and make people feel like their information is secured. We have access to almost anything inside our work so we can do our job properly. We’re required by law to obey strict settings what to do when we view personal messages, mails and other delicate information. You have to be able to trust us.

In addition to this we’re required to be able to communicate what we’re doing and what we need from you for our work to accomplish the goals set for it. Often we are thought to be very quiet and  like we don’t want to listen to you since we know a lot more but that isn’t true at all. The more fluid and integrated our communication is, the better results will there be. Communication is top 1 reason for everyday delays, misunderstanding and reasons why some service isn’t working as it’s supposed to. So please be friends with your administrator and we’ll be sure to pay you back.

Admin work is tough, really tough. We’re required to have huge quantities of technical information memorized in our head in addition to our workplaces infrastructure and systems. More often than not even in school we are facing a situation where we have to build something, but it doesn’t have any documentation how it was done previously. So we Google, read books, combine guides, ask experts. Very our work is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. We find a piece here piece there.. then slowly build a working solution for our system. This is due to the lack of documentation and version differences. We might have complete guide for Windows Server 2003 but we’re using Windows Server 2012, so what to do? We improvise, improvise, improvise and improvise. It’s a crucial skill for administrator to have. We need critical thinking, logical thinking, problem solving and steel nerves everyday in our work.

I’ve (Mikko) been working on rebuilding our datacenters Active Directory completely from ground up with two others. We have almost none documentation, we are first and second year students. But we have to make this work in 2 months! Otherwise we are in trouble. It’s been very interesting but very interesting and has made me realize just how much I have to grow as a person to grow into a fine administrator.

Administrator is required to have passion! Why you ask? The answer is simple, we’re on the bullet train when it comes to technologies advancement and because of that new and better versions of the software and hardware are introduced daily. We have to keep on track of them, especially what do they change in the current system. This relates closely to the second thing we talked about. If something changes, does it break anything? Can we keep the system stabilized with it or do we have to change? If we have to change how do we do it? What has to be taken in account for when we’re upgrading? There are tons of questions to be answered and it’s our job to find the answers.

Lastly but not least: Don’t hate your administrator if you’re denied from somewhere. It’s a golden rule for administrators to deny and shut down access to everything first and then when the need arises allow access for persons. So love and communicate to your administrators and we’ll be sure to make it worthwhile for you.


  • Mikko Salenius Kamk Datacenter student and Microsoft Student Partner. Found in booth KajakDC
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