[Linux-aus] Student Run ICT

Andrew Bartlett abartlet at samba.org
Sat May 20 09:22:02 UTC 2006

On Thu, 2006-05-18 at 07:21 -0700, Michael Still wrote:
> Glen Turner wrote:
> > A lot of US universities make great use of paid students to
> > provide help desk and similar services.  One of the better ones
> > I saw had a student-staffed drop-in center where you could
> > take your laptop, demonstrate your problem, and get it seen
> > to.
> Frankly, it's great work experience if you can get it... It's how I 
> started out, and I am sure that's true of a lot of other people too. In 
> fact, when I'm interviewing people one of the things I look for is hands 
> on experience, which is something this sort of student (they're called 
> TAs in the US) can provide.
> On the other hand, I still think you need a cluefull full-timer guiding 
> stuff. That gives you the continuity, and ensures that the students are 
> all pulling in the same direction.
> Clueful students helps too.

I started my sysadmin life (and indeed my life in free software
development) because I was doing IT for my High School as a student.  It
was a project on the side of the network, that grew...

Having spend the past 5 years running what I built, and the last year
training 2 students in systems administration, I support the
well-managed use of students in limited areas.  

Unpaid students can't replace paid staff.  Simply because the network
always seems to have trouble when the students have the least time to
look at it.  And in high schools, students with the maturity and
skill-set to take on any significant part of the sysadmin load are rare
indeed.  I've found one in the 5 years I've been doing this at Hawker

I was fortunate that when I started, the network was still small enough,
and had so little management that I could make a positive move from a
small time investment.  It would be much harder for someone new, now.

On the other hand, the drop-in center is something that could work
really well, particularly as part-time paid work.

(Oh, and on the Linux desktop 'fad' thing, while we never deployed it to
production, it worked very well as a way to teach my trainees while
building a 'real' project, with a visible outcome).

Andrew Bartlett

Andrew Bartlett                                http://samba.org/~abartlet/
Authentication Developer, Samba Team           http://samba.org
Student Network Administrator, Hawker College  http://hawkerc.net
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