I could be wrong about this…
OK, maybe you won’t earn 3x more as a SysAdmin but you’ll definitely be worth more and get noticed.
Let’s do the math…
If your current salary is 40K, it’s not unlikely that you could increase your pay to 120K, which is a 300% loss if you’re thinking like a SysAdmin.
What I want to share today applies more specifically to SysAdmins but could also apply to any job.
Think about this.
Why do star athletes make so much more than their teammates?
Could the Cavs have won the NBA Championship without LeBron James – not!
Click the arrow to play the video.
Stop Thinking Like A SysAdmin & Start Being a Linchpin
A college degree or certificate doesn’t make you a SysAdmin any more than wearing Nike shoes makes you LeBron James.
In fact — to stand out in the mountain of resumes you have to be able to communicate well, and then prove you’re different. What makes you stand out from all the other SysAdmins?
This same advice applies for people who leave me comments asking how to become a DevOps Engineer.
OK, enough of me ranting. now let’s get to the good stuff…
You know, one of my favorite books of all time is Linchpin by Seth Godin. BTW, LeBron is a Linchpin.
Linchpin is a book about people who love what they do so much that they change the rules.
The concept Seth shares is solid gold. Linchpin is about becoming Indispensable.
Here’s what Dictionary.com says about this big word:
Indispensable means: Absolutely necessary, essential, requisite.
Let’s get personal now…
- Does this sound like you – are you absolutely necessary?
- Are these adjectives how your current boss would describe you – are you essential?
- Are you a requisite to your team’s success – would they notice if you were missing?
It’s painful when you really think about it…and that’s what I want to help solve!
Linchpin – Introduction
Like so many others, are you trading your genius as a SysAdmin for stability and holding back your greatness?
I started the titled of this post ‘3x more pay’ and here’s how – become indispensable to your boss and your team.
This is only a piece of the puzzle. Here’s how to start:
- Read books to get other points of view on topics you think you already know (example post about the Docker book)
- Take courses that you have to pay for yourself (example post about Udemy DevOps Training)
- Build a home lab and start developing new skills (example posts about my home lab and my cloud use case)
- Join clubs and user groups. (here are 3 to start with: VMUG, LUG, OpenStack)
- Don’t be a jerk to work with. Control your temper and become a mentor.
Since 2007, I’ve been giving advice and recommendations for books, training, and tips to help my readers get ahead.
Jot this down on your whiteboard and read it to yourself any time you start feeling unappreciated at work…
To get paid 3x more as a SysAdmin, you have to be worth 3x more!
Let that comment sink in for a moment and then I’ll share a personal experience.
Over the last 6 months I’ve been trying to hire 2 new systems administrators for my team. Let me say, it hasn’t been easy…
Actually, it’s been painful reading through a stack of so-so resumes, and even more painful doing screening calls.
Like I said in the start, maybe I’m wrong?
Maybe I suck at interviewing?
Or maybe times are changing and expectations for SysAdmins are changing too and so-so doesn’t cut it anymore!
Linchpin – Where Does Success Come From
Which side of Seth’s question are you on?
I’m trying very hard not sound too critical because at my core I am a SysAdmin.
But something needs to change if you’re dreaming of having a successful IT career as a SysAdmin making big bucks.
Earlier, Seth gave you the secret how to become a Linchpin, STOP playing it safe! But that only solves half of the problem.
Now here’s how to sell yourself once you regain your genius…
Bonus tips for how to make a great first impression in an interview.
- First off, get some professional help with your resume and stop putting Windows 98 and Server 2000 as a skill. Be relevant for today’s job market. (Post on writing an awesome resume)
- When you’re interviewing by phone or in person with a hiring manager be professional! Speak clearly. Get a hair cut, shave, trim your beard, brush your teeth, wear clean clothes (business attire), bring a note pad and something to write with.
- Remember this. You’re going to be asked questions about your skills and experience so think ahead for great answers. In other words, be prepared for questions related to what SysAdmins do. (Please don’t ask me for examples because you should know what SysAdmins do.)
- Before the interview write down projects you have worked on. Be ready to explain your technical involvement in clear details. Make sure you explain how you made a difference. As the hiring manager, I shouldn’t have to pull this information out of you.
- Sell yourself! Tell me how awesome you are at scripting, or building servers, or troubleshooting. Be confident, not cocky. Make me smile…
- All SysAdmins should have a lab at home or in the cloud. If I ask you how you stay sharp and you tell me by going to company-paid training you are done. On the other hand, if you tell me you have a lab in the cloud and you stay up all night working on your skills, we’ll connect like kindred spirits…
Do you feel me?
In closing, remember what I just shared with you and this final word of advice.
Are you ready to sacrifice your time, sleep, money, and sometimes even being with someone you love to become indispensable?
If you’re ready to start changing your mindset today here’s what I want you to do…
Get yourself a copy of Linchpin by Seth Godin from the library, second-hand store, eBay, Amazon, or you local book store and read it cover to cover. Let it sink into your bones.
Then, start working your butt off to do what you have to and become a Linchpin. Do this and the money will soon follow.
When you’re done reading Linchpin and ready to move forward, I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas. And what actions you plan to take that will make you a Linchpin. Come back and share them with us.
If you found this lesson helpful, I recommend you read 30 Linux Interview Questions: Passion Pays Off Big.