Brillo to the Brain

On Sunday, I took a test for work to try and qualify for the Level III Sysadmin position. The test started around 8:30 and lasted until 4:30. To make a long story short, I didn’t pass.

The experience was a lot like getting your brain scrubbed down with a brillo pad. We started off with three servers that would not boot, and we had to fix them. That part was moderately fun.

Then it got really unpleasant. We had to start diagnosing problems on running servers – things like PHP scripts not executing correctly, DNS resolution not working, etc. These are the kinds of problems I deal with on a daily basis, so you’d think I’d be able to deal with them. Except our testing environment was one I was completely unfamiliar with going in, and it made me really frustrated pretty quickly. And as anyone who knows me can attest, I don’t work very well once I get frustrated.

I probably would not have passed the test even if I hadn’t gotten so confused and worked up by the crackhead environment we had to work in, and that’s okay. I don’t want to get promoted to a position that I feel I just barely qualified for – when I get promoted, I want to be a solid L3.

I did have one very nice consolation from the exam though. When my supervisor was discussing my score with me, he mentioned one of the final tasks in the test. I had to configure an Apache webserver to log directly to a MySQL database instead of to flat files, and it had to be done without installing any additional software. I hacked together a system that worked quite nicely, and it took the senior techs who were grading the test fifteen minutes of going over the server to figure out how I got it working. :-) It’s the little things.

I am *still* working on my current pair of socks, but I’m in the home stretch. I’ve turned the heel and decreased the gusset, and now it’s a mad dash down the instep with some simple toe shaping. Then I grab the next hank of sock yarn and get cracking again.

No Responses to “Brillo to the Brain”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I empathize with the horrors of testing. I have never been good at testing of any kind, and in our educational system that means that I have barely scraped by. But kudos for your good attitude and mad skilz *wink*

  2. MMario Says:

    Test environments so rarely mirror the “real world” – the company I work for used to use a commercial testing/teaching center in a nearby city for a lot of our training sessions – the instructors quickly learned never to use the phrase” cannot be done” as one or another of our guys would usually prove them wrong by the end of the day.

  3. LisaK Says:

    I admire you for trying! I totally get the brillo pad brain scrub thing.

  4. troll Says:

    just remember to break it all down to the LCD and work it from there. Some simple things everyone always forgets, 1. the obvious thing you rule out as too obvious is usually it. 2, the end does matter when troubleshooting, start there and drop back in equal sections to define the scope and you almost always find the cause. 3, never get discouraged….

    I know you’re smarter than me and if I can do it so can you.


  5. pippy Says:

    Enough geek stuff. Show us the socks.

  6. Wendy Says:

    I feel like I’ve had a brillo pad to the brain just reading about it. I think I need to go lie down now.

  7. Jess, of the Bugs Says:

    Umm…so you were unable to make all the gnomes do what they’re supposed to, but managed to organize some of the gnomes into some sort of underground secret society?

    computers are run by gnomes

    Go socks, go!