[nycbug-talk] Thoughts on Creating Internship Programs?

Marc Spitzer mspitzer at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 21:42:17 EDT 2011

Well I think projects need to fit the following criteria:

1: read only, as much as possible
2: not root, as much as possible
3: genuinely useful
4: neato shiny output, kids like this shit
5: kept away from anything that can have mission or business critical
put next to it
6: if possible they should be able to keep a copy of the work to show
future employers
7: well defined, small and incremental.

one of the problems with SA tasks is that they are all about good
judgement and good judgement is all about making mistakes at your
previous jobs.  And interns not having previous jobs are just waiting
to get some experience.

Some of the things that come to mind are:

1: system/network audit/reporting scripts, you can have lots of fun with SNMP
2: nagios/monitoring setup/cleanup or collectd etc
3: event correlation/log analysis
4: system documentation, as mentioned elsewhere
5: cable tester
6: and make sure he measures the impedance mismatch on your virtual circuits
7: basic capacity planning comes to mind, if it is not there, with reports

I would not do backups as when you need them you do not get a do over.



On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM, Isaac Levy <ike at blackskyresearch.net> wrote:
> Hi All,
> So I was inspired a while back by an internship program at my old company, (but not in the tech groups- in Business/Product development).  Essentially, the project pulled candidates from local schools, gave them well-defined projects to complete during their term, and the results were really excellent- the energy and ideas that the interns brought was amazing.
> With that, I'm trying to think of how to create a similar program, in a Systems-Engineering (SysAdmin) group.  Aside from the idea of bringing people in to push projects through, I love the idea of all the fresh energy- and the temporal nature of having 'guests' working on deck- it's selfish really, I want the fresh eyes and ideas on deck.
> However, I'd really love to hear people's thoughts on:
> --------
> SA Interns (contrary to other types of groups), have some obvious issues:
> - Liability carried at the Systems Admin/Engineer station
> (obviously can't walk the interns/temps in and hand them root or privileged sys internals, in spirit)
> - Stringent Requirements of Systems Engineering
> when Sys tools break, (N) developers to the (N)th business peoples wail, (at high cost to the business)
> - Overall Systems Complexity
> Without a terrific amount of oversight, (or extremely well defined projects), there is risk that SA interns could leave behind well intentioned, yet structurally inappropriate implementations- (e.g. wow, where did this ldap store come from, and why does the website now stop functioning when we turn it off?)  This could be quite damaging...
> Problem is, these are all valuable 'real-world' components of Systems Engineering / Systems Administration- (or any tech team responsible for operations and maintenance).  It's of little use to me to bring on an intern, (or any SA IHMO), and just turn them into gruntwork-slaves, even though we all know how much grunt-work is involved in any job or task...
> --------------------------------------------------
> IDEAS FOR  INTERNS, SysAdmin / Systems Engineering
> - Working in-house on Open Source/Public projects which directly benefit the company, (ala Google summer of code type attitude)?
> (but then what's compelling to bring an Intern in-house?)
> - Working on one or two extremely well-defined projects?
> (but then what value do they take that's different than the structure of a classroom?)
> - Work on redundancy oriented projects, e.g. DB Replication and failover, other systems replication and failover, writing overall "Systems Regressions Testing" tools?
> Hrm.  Would love to hear what people think- I'm now really serious about trying to create a program.
> Best,
> .ike
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