At 7:19 AM +0100 2003/11/26, Erik Trulsson quoted Allan Bowhill:

>> Minus time, you should be able to see that the skill sets of system
>> administration skills and programming are mutually exclusive. The two
>> activities are so distinct, that you cannot do both at the same time.

> And here lies the linguistical problem with your argumentation.

One of many problems.

Just because the activities of system administration and
programming may be mutually exclusive (you cannot perform both kinds
of activities at the same time), this has no bearing whatsoever on
the question of whether or not the skillsets are mutually exclusive.

I would argue that there are certain types of tasks which fall
within the category of both system administration or programming at
the same time, and what makes that a "programming" activity versus a
"system administration" activity is the broader context in which that
function is being performed. For example, are you cp'ing that file
during the process of developing a program, or in the context of
administering a system on which the file might be completely
unrelated to anything else that it is that you are personally doing?

Indeed, it is quite clear that there is a great deal of overlap
between the two skillsets -- in order to do either function, you need
to know how to think critically. You need to know how to solve
problems. Of course, these high-level skills further depend on so
many lower-level skills.

>> You can be a sysadmin with great programming skills. But when you write
>> code to automate systems administration tasks, you are programming.

Again, this mistaken identification of the activity as the skill itself.

While there are many activities that may be mutually exclusive
with other activities, a single person may very well possess multiple
skillsets which may or may not be related, in order to be able to
perform the activities in question.

> Writing code to automate a system administration task is programming.
> It is also system administration. I do not see that these are
> distinct.

It's certainly a fuzzy issue. I can see arguments for
considering it to be one or the other, or both. I think that the
answer to this question would be largely a personal one, and most
reasonable parties would agree to disagree.

> As you can see I disagree with your notion that system administration
> and programming are two distinct activities, but rather believe that
> many tasks fall into both categories at once.


Brad Knowles,

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

GCS/IT d+(-) s:+(++)>: a C++(+++)$ UMBSHI++++$ P+>++ L+ !E-(---) W+++(--) N+
!w--- O- M++ V PS++(+++) PE- Y+(++) PGP>+++ t+(+++) 5++(+++) X++(+++) R+(+++)
tv+(+++) b+(++++) DI+(++++) D+(++) G+(++++) e++>++++ h--- r---(+++)* z(+++)
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