The Challenges and Opportunities of Training a Latecomer Junior Sysadmin


As a senior sysadmin, how do I train and delegate tasks to a newly promoted junior sysadmin who joined after most of the infrastructure overhaul was done?

I have been working as a full sysadmin for a corporation that needed a major upgrade of its IT systems. I have successfully replaced outdated servers, improved policies and security, and documented the end user experience. However, I still have some complex and critical tasks left, such as migrating email servers and deploying web services.

Recently, my department head decided to promote a helpdesk employee to a junior sysadmin role and assigned me to mentor them. I am not worried about losing my job, but I am unsure what to teach them and what to let them do. They have little experience and knowledge of our environment, and I do not want to risk any errors or downtime.

I think the best time to train them was earlier, when I could show them the basics of our systems and processes. But now, most of the routine work is done, and I only have challenging and sensitive tasks left. I plan to have them shadow me and write change requests, but I do not know what else to give them.

Have you faced a similar situation? How did you handle it? What kind of tasks and permissions did you assign to your junior sysadmin?


As a senior sysadmin, you may face the challenge of training and delegating tasks to a newly promoted junior sysadmin who joined your team after most of the infrastructure overhaul was done. This can be a difficult situation, as you want to help them grow and learn, but you also have to balance the risk and complexity of the remaining tasks. How can you make the best of this scenario and ensure a smooth transition for both of you?

First of all, you should communicate clearly with your junior sysadmin about the expectations and goals of their role. Explain to them what your current projects are, what the priorities and deadlines are, and what the potential challenges and risks are. Give them a sense of the big picture and how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization. Also, let them know what kind of support and feedback they can expect from you and how often you will check in with them.

Secondly, you should assess their current skills and knowledge and identify the gaps and areas for improvement. You can do this by asking them to demonstrate some basic tasks, such as troubleshooting a common issue, configuring a service, or writing a script. You can also ask them to explain some concepts or processes that are relevant to your environment, such as how the network works, how the security policies are enforced, or how the backups are done. Based on their performance and understanding, you can determine what they need to learn and practice more.

Thirdly, you should design a learning plan and a task list for your junior sysadmin that matches their level and interests. You can use various resources and methods to help them learn, such as:

  • Online courses, tutorials, blogs, podcasts, and forums that cover the topics and technologies that they need to master.
  • Books, magazines, journals, and newsletters that provide the latest trends and best practices in the field of sysadmin.
  • Mentors, role models, co-workers, and friends that can offer advice, guidance, and feedback on their work and progress.
  • Teaching others what they know, which can help them consolidate their skills and insights.
  • You can also assign them tasks that are appropriate for their level and that can help them gain confidence and experience. Some examples of tasks that you can give them are:

  • Performing routine maintenance and monitoring of the systems and services, such as checking logs, updating software, running backups, and reporting issues.
  • Documenting the systems and processes, such as creating diagrams, manuals, wikis, and FAQs that can help other users and admins.
  • Automating and optimizing the tasks and workflows, such as writing scripts, using tools, and applying best practices that can improve efficiency and quality.
  • Researching and testing new solutions and technologies, such as exploring new features, comparing alternatives, and evaluating performance and compatibility.
  • Finally, you should review and evaluate their work and progress regularly and provide constructive feedback and recognition. You can do this by:

  • Checking their change requests and testing their changes before approving and deploying them to production.
  • Reviewing their documentation and automation and suggesting improvements and corrections.
  • Asking them to present and explain their research and testing results and giving them feedback and suggestions.
  • Praising their achievements and efforts and rewarding them with more responsibilities and opportunities.
  • By

following these steps, you can train and delegate tasks to your junior sysadmin effectively and efficiently. You can help them develop their skills and knowledge, increase their productivity and satisfaction, and build a strong and trusting relationship with them. You can also benefit from their work and contributions, as they can help you complete your projects faster and better. Together, you can form a great sysadmin team that can handle any challenge and deliver any solution.

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