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New IT Admin Training

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December 28, 2012 3:39:52 PM

I am an IT Admin/Systems Consultant for the tech school which I attend. My Supervisors have decided that there is another suitable person that could eventually be my replacement( I will be relived of my duties once I graduate). However He doesn't have any experience with Networking/Windows Servers whatsoever. He understands the basics but beyond that he is lost. He is willingly to learn. What I would like suggestions on is how to ease him into the position. Also notable is that my supervisors are not networking people whatsoever.

More about : admin training

December 28, 2012 4:18:11 PM

mitchell3405 said:
I am an IT Admin/Systems Consultant for the tech school which I attend. My Supervisors have decided that there is another suitable person that could eventually be my replacement( I will be relived of my duties once I graduate). However He doesn't have any experience with Networking/Windows Servers whatsoever. He understands the basics but beyond that he is lost. He is willingly to learn. What I would like suggestions on is how to ease him into the position. Also notable is that my supervisors are not networking people whatsoever.



Sounds like you need to show him around the system possibly speak up a bit(i know this is hard i really do) and tell them that this person doesn't have the experience yet but is willing to learn, Also remember you can't gain 2 years of experience overnight its gonna take some time i taught my friend so much when it comes to networking/Hardware and now he is in charge of a class.


Took me 3 years though :o 

But to learn the basics do what i said and just show him around tell him not to be nervous and that its gonna take some time to learn everything also tell him he will never know everything about networking and hardware.

As for your supervisors sounds natural to me they never have a clue about anything besides telling people what to do.
December 28, 2012 4:33:54 PM

personally, if they are going to let you go i wouldnt actively train this new person.i wouldnt say im not going to train him.But if he doesnt ask dont offer help.

Now if you know you need your boss as a reference you might decide how much help your willing to give.

Related resources
December 28, 2012 4:37:06 PM

ericlw said:
personally, if they are going to let you go i wouldnt actively train this new person.i wouldnt say im not going to train him.But if he doesnt ask dont offer help.

Now if you know you need your boss as a reference you might decide how much help your willing to give.



I'd agree somewhat but in other ways this sounds quite childish as well as selfish.
December 28, 2012 5:42:42 PM

I didn't expect these kind of replies when I started the thread. However that's okay, It gives me some ideas to consider when I hadn't considered prior. However I do have to comment on two things said.

First, The problem is that no one else has the knowledge level to maintain it. IE If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, The System may survive for a while however eventually it would probably break down. Then again one of the supervisors is very resourceful in a pinch so it is hard to tell. That's why we all agreed that someone else needs to be trained as my successor so that the system will continue & not fall apart.

This individual seems the most capable of doing so at this time,that is mutually agreed upon. Recently we were replacing workstations & there was a hard deadline set do to aspects of the tech school's operation beyond our control. I needed the help but the help I needed he couldn't provide because of his limited knowledge. However he did assist me slightly & Hopefully he learned something.

So I am committed to assisting the transition otherwise it might not happen at all. My supervisors mean well however there are many problems which they can't assist with.

But the real question remains, what do I show him first. I think he realizes that he will never know everything. But what is the most crucial in order to begin.
December 28, 2012 6:10:40 PM

Speaking from experience here....as a admin of any kind, these are steps you should always perform:
1) Document infrastructure. This includes location of equipment, methodology used in setup (i.e. names of servers, domain structure, user accounts, groups, etc...). The more that is documented, even in basic form, the easier it is for someone to understand what you have done.
2) Your supervisors need to know where to look for documentation - so teach them. If you are hit by a bus, they need to know where to find the answers.
3) Keep the documentation up to date.

Some people feel like if they know everything in their "head", they have job security. Speaking from experience, those who document their work well, are easier to promote (because they can be replaced).

The best job security you can have is to do your job well, get along with others, and demonstrate you are part of the team...
December 28, 2012 6:12:36 PM

Find out how much he knows first, as said, and I am sure you know there is a lot more to setting up a network and the running of it depending on the type of setup or configuration.
Don`t go into too much depth just deal with the details related to the network setup that is currently running, obviously at some point the hardware used will be replaced, and if you are leaving, and he is replacing you for the post, just set him on the right path with what he needs to learn. I would pull all the information and course work I have but it ranges into Giga bytes of data on desktop support technician MS IT Mitchell.

I always have a hard drive with lot of video tutorials and, written explanations, and also tests for people who wish to learn about networks and configuring a network and managing it as an admin, and network topology. Its a good Idea making sure the person knows what he is doing before the hands on, saying that hands on teaching is often better in some ways I find it tends to stick better in the minds of people who are willing to learn. Still try to draft up some sort of learning or reading work for him to study and if you can test him from time to time.

December 28, 2012 6:16:55 PM

weaselman said:
Find out how much he knows first, as said, and I am sure you know there is a lot more to setting up a network and the running of it depending on the type of setup or configuration.
Don`t go into too much depth just deal with the details related to the network setup that is currently running, obviously at some point the hardware used will be replaced, and if you are leaving, and he is replacing you for the post, just set him on the right path with what he needs to learn.

I always have a hard drive with lot of video tutorials and, written explanations, and also tests for people who wish to learn about networks and configuring a network and managing it as an admin, and network topology. Its a good Idea making sure the person knows what he is doing before the hands on, saying that hands on teaching is often better in some ways I find it tends to stick better in the minds of people who are willing to learn. Still try to draft up some sort of learning or reading work for him to study and if you can test him from time to time.


That's what I was thinking as well. Now I just have to figure out how to construct the lessons. Any Suggestions?
December 28, 2012 6:18:36 PM

Does this guy even have any certs or degree's in this field?

As for your supervisors they get what they deserve


I like the idea of videos and such by the way but what you need to teach him is how to redo everything if it all fails is this a windows server or linux?

December 28, 2012 6:23:56 PM

There are many good books out there for admins who have no experience, the challenge for any admin, regardless of experience, isn't learning from a book...it is the "unknowns" which will basically be your "style" of administration.

Example of this. Server names - USC_STUDENT_AD1 (University of Southern California Student Domain Active Directory Server 1), custom names of groups for user access (i.e. Professor, Student Teacher, Student, Visitor, etc) and what those groups are.

Finding answers to issues like "how to create a user account" is well documented across the web and in books, but user groups, server names, etc. that are unique to your domain are not....that is why I suggested the documentation.

December 28, 2012 6:25:42 PM

http://www.cbtnuggets.com/
But you have to subscribe and it costs, but it is a good way to learn stuff, with videos and online tutorial depending on what you want him to learn.

You should sort of mention this to some one higher in the chain, and get this sorted out since you will be doing them a favor in keeping the integrity of the network and hardware running of the network, if the person is to put it mildy not currently up to speed on the running of it and maintenance
December 28, 2012 6:26:15 PM

Experience also dictates, that in situations like yours, you will receive a lot of phone calls, emails, etc., without documentation. Teach them where to find the answers, and the requests for information will disappear. It also teaches them how to be self sufficient....
December 28, 2012 7:30:00 PM

So since I have gotten many useful questions to ponder from this forum.

RoninTexas, You mentioned an admin's "style". I do have my style & It is somewhat strange. For example my naming scheme is a little bit unorthodox. I use NAP-SNDTRLM#

Where:
NAP=Name of Program(IST- Only one program under my jurisdiction)
SN=Two letter representation of School Name(In my case:p T-Only one School under jurisdiction)
DT=Device Type IE WS for Workstation
RL=Respective Location in Program IE US for Upper side of the room where the program is housed.
M#=Machine number

My Supervisors frown upon that because it seems a little long, however it works so it was a keeper.

jdwii, You mentioned certs & degree's. I failed to mention in my original post that the tech school I performing work for is varied in it's studies & the program I am enrolled in is Information Systems as well as my future replacement so we are working towards that goal.

You also mentioned that they get what they deserve. I used to feel that way also but have since discovered that it is not ignorance but lack of interest in this particular area of the IT Field, That is where the "Systems Consultant" Comes into play.

I am not leaving this post for awhile yet(June 2014) but I would like to have everything prepared for when I do leave.

This is a Entirely Windows Shop being that we are in the IT training business.

Now that I think about it, there are resources available to me that I can utilize. This is a first for me so I would appreciate any advice which is offered.
December 28, 2012 7:42:57 PM

You have time. That's your biggest advantage.

Ask your bosses if you can get the trainee on half pay for a year, even just twice a week. Have the new guy come in and shadow you, as you explain what you're doing, how you're doing it, and why you're doing it.

If he's any good, he'll learn quickly, and gain the experience to see common problems before they arise.
December 28, 2012 7:45:52 PM

DarkSable said:
You have time. That's your biggest advantage.

Ask your bosses if you can get the trainee on half pay for a year, even just twice a week. Have the new guy come in and shadow you, as you explain what you're doing, how you're doing it, and why you're doing it.

If he's any good, he'll learn quickly, and gain the experience to see common problems before they arise.


You know funny you mention that, I don't think that will be too difficult. I was consider doing that myself. There are a couple of kinks that would need to be worked out first though.
December 28, 2012 8:03:40 PM

Also if I may, I would like to throw another related question out there. We have some of our network switching distributed thru out our area of the campus. The switches are 12 Port 100 mbps unmanaged.

They are daisy changed together. On Occasion we have had problems where connectivity on this segment of the lan is interrupted when the physical environment changes. For example the electrical outlet where the switch is powered from goes dead for whatever reason, When power is restored we cannot get solid connectivity for a few hours.

To make matter worse, the feed to one of the building's cisco catalysts(Which I don't manage) is located on the first switch & the server equipment is located on the last. Don't ask me why I didn't cable it. I just used what was there. To make matters worse one or two of the switches are only 5 port. On top of that file transfers are painfully slow from one end of our section of the campus to the other.

I am convinced that it is a bottleneck on the first switch & the small 5 ports as the mac tables get too large for them to handle. My Supervisors are skeptical. What do you think?
December 28, 2012 8:11:31 PM

My first bet would be the length of cable, damaged cable and/or possible interference (electrical lines, other networks, etc) that would be causing the issue. If the switches are unmanaged, theoretically the mac tables shouldn't be an issue.

That being said, the best way to troubleshoot connectivity issues like this is to isolate the segments and test. It could be a single faulty cable, a trouble spot with interference and/or a faulty switch that is creating the issue.
December 28, 2012 8:13:35 PM

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Arthur Conan Doyle



December 28, 2012 8:15:22 PM

How are the switches linked together and how far are the away from each other?
December 28, 2012 8:15:31 PM

ronintexas said:
Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Arthur Conan Doyle

You just destroyed my argument for centralized switching, Back to the drawing board.
December 28, 2012 8:17:57 PM

Jim_L9 said:
How are the switches linked together and how far are the away from each other?

They are linked by Ethernet & are only 20 feet away from one another.
December 28, 2012 8:25:02 PM

mitchell3405 said:
They are linked by Ethernet & are only 20 feet away from one another.


That eliminates length of cable. Centralized switching would be the best practice...as you eliminate electrical issues when the switches are on different power runs.

Dealing with legacy hardware/software in the workplace is always going to be a nightmare, as often budgeting considerations aren't given to improve something that "works"....and a second theory of mine...."If it ain't broke - don't fix it" may apply. LOL.

If the runs are 20 feet - It may be easy to get a few 25-50 foot cables and see if you can find a bad cable. If you have an extra switch around, replacing a switch at a time could be done...

Are there electrical closets or electrical conduit running near the cables?

Cat 6 cable has better shielding and could solve a problem near those "problem spots".

Depending upon how many switches there are...it may be a lot of "fun" tracking down the issue...
December 28, 2012 8:29:22 PM

ronintexas said:
That eliminates length of cable. Centralized switching would be the best practice...as you eliminate electrical issues when the switches are on different power runs.

Dealing with legacy hardware/software in the workplace is always going to be a nightmare, as often budgeting considerations aren't given to improve something that "works"....and a second theory of mine...."If it ain't broke - don't fix it" may apply. LOL.

If the runs are 20 feet - It may be easy to get a few 25-50 foot cables and see if you can find a bad cable. If you have an extra switch around, replacing a switch at a time could be done...

Are there electrical closets or electrical conduit running near the cables?

Cat 6 cable has better shielding and could solve a problem near those "problem spots".

Depending upon how many switches there are...it may be a lot of "fun" tracking down the issue...



Your killing me here, I was hoping for a rather simple explanation. I must admit that the cabling job is not the best. There are alot of switches. Problem is start playing with them & it is like playing with fire. Last time we had problems, It took 2-3 days to become stable again.
December 28, 2012 8:36:38 PM

WOW. I will say this - if there are a lot of daisy chained switches, that could be the issue. When PC's restart/renew their connections, if they aren't on the network properly, they can't get their IP Addresses from the DHCP and/or DNS servers, and you have conflicts within the network.

That would make sense in that within 2-3 days, all the PC's should have been rebooted...and connected properly to the DHCP/DNS servers....
December 28, 2012 8:42:51 PM

ronintexas said:
WOW. I will say this - if there are a lot of daisy chained switches, that could be the issue. When PC's restart/renew their connections, if they aren't on the network properly, they can't get their IP Addresses from the DHCP and/or DNS servers, and you have conflicts within the network.

That would make sense in that within 2-3 days, all the PC's should have been rebooted...and connected properly to the DHCP/DNS servers....

Actually I made sure all pcs were rebooted as well and that didn't help. Symptoms of the problem surface every now & then like, Since we have offline files enabled via gpo for those machines on that segment, sometimes a machine will think certain files on one of our file servers are offline even though everything is functioning.
December 28, 2012 8:49:59 PM

There must be a "flaky" cable and/or switch somewhere in the network. Troubleshooting can be a nightmare....my suggestion would be to eliminate as many variables as possible (i.e. remove all connections to the switches other than the daisy chain, servers, and a test pc) and see if that doesn't work. Eliminating segments of the daisy chain would be where I would start the next test if the failure continues.

If eliminating the runs to the PC's does eliminate the problem, adding in one PC at a time would be the solution. A flaky network card in one or more PC's could be the issue.

I have found several cards where the auto-negotiation between 10/100MBs can create havoc on the network...In a large network - it can be a real pain to find the offending "bad part"...and the only way to find it is to isolate the segments...depending upon the count of machines...it could take days...if not longer to find the solution....

I hope you are old enough to drop back a few "adult beverages" to celebrate when you find out what it is... :-)
December 28, 2012 8:54:54 PM

ronintexas said:
There must be a "flaky" cable and/or switch somewhere in the network. Troubleshooting can be a nightmare....my suggestion would be to eliminate as many variables as possible (i.e. remove all connections to the switches other than the daisy chain, servers, and a test pc) and see if that doesn't work. Eliminating segments of the daisy chain would be where I would start the next test if the failure continues.

If eliminating the runs to the PC's does eliminate the problem, adding in one PC at a time would be the solution. A flaky network card in one or more PC's could be the issue.

I have found several cards where the auto-negotiation between 10/100MBs can create havoc on the network...In a large network - it can be a real pain to find the offending "bad part"...and the only way to find it is to isolate the segments...depending upon the count of machines...it could take days...if not longer to find the solution....

I hope you are old enough to drop back a few "adult beverages" to celebrate when you find out what it is... :-)

The machines are all brand new, with 10/100/100 Network cards.
Well Going wireless is on the table for consideration. I just wonder what problems will arise from that.

Well finding out the problem is all the benefits I need.
December 28, 2012 9:02:39 PM

It used to be a home computer was a single machine, located in the den. Now, I have a PC, the wife has a PC, a home theater PC, XBox360, printers, phones, tablets, etc., all require connections to the home network.

When you have wired connections, it is easier to troubleshoot, as wireless can bring a whole new level of headaches into the arena. Wireless tends to work like big circles around the "hot spot" (router, access point), and depending upon the placement of other hot spots, they can cancel out signals, even the devices themselves create issues with other devices.

An example of this - when I go into the bedroom with my phone, there is a spot in by the dresser where my XBox will lose it's network connection if the phone has wi-fi turned on.

It is my personal preference to have a wire connecting every device possible, as it is easier to troubleshoot....

Most new computers with 10/100/1000 network cards don't have the issue with auto negotiate...are all the switches 10/100/1000 as well?

Another thing - if you are running gigabit networks - you will probably need to ensure that cabling is Cat 5e or Cat 6....the longer the cable and proximity to interference will cause issues with Cat 5 cable. Cat 6 is a few bucks more....but the extra shielding in a commercial environment is worth while....
December 28, 2012 9:12:12 PM

ronintexas said:
It used to be a home computer was a single machine, located in the den. Now, I have a PC, the wife has a PC, a home theater PC, XBox360, printers, phones, tablets, etc., all require connections to the home network.

When you have wired connections, it is easier to troubleshoot, as wireless can bring a whole new level of headaches into the arena. Wireless tends to work like big circles around the "hot spot" (router, access point), and depending upon the placement of other hot spots, they can cancel out signals, even the devices themselves create issues with other devices.

An example of this - when I go into the bedroom with my phone, there is a spot in by the dresser where my XBox will lose it's network connection if the phone has wi-fi turned on.

It is my personal preference to have a wire connecting every device possible, as it is easier to troubleshoot....

Most new computers with 10/100/1000 network cards don't have the issue with auto negotiate...are all the switches 10/100/1000 as well?

Another thing - if you are running gigabit networks - you will probably need to ensure that cabling is Cat 5e or Cat 6....the longer the cable and proximity to interference will cause issues with Cat 5 cable. Cat 6 is a few bucks more....but the extra shielding in a commercial environment is worth while....


The switches are only 10/100. I realize the wireless issues in terms of coverage, but the building has pretty good reception/ very little interference so I don't think that will be of issue. However I just wonder because all the PCS are on an AD Domain & I just wonder how pushing the client configuration out via GPO or scripts will work out.
December 28, 2012 9:16:42 PM

Thanks to Everyone that has posted advice or assisted with my related inquiry. I appreciate it.
!