There are many great SysAdmin blogs out there, one of them we like most is the Practical System Administration. Josh Reichardt gives a lot of specific and practical tips about topics like Shell scripting, automation, and productivity. We asked Josh about his top 3 tips for SysAdmins to make their life easier and more effective.

Here’s his list:

Be helpful

Do whatever you can to try to find a way to contribute to the community, however small it is. This tip can include doing simple things like answering questions on various forums, or making a PR to a public open-source project, or sharing a really thoughtful blog post or video you found somewhere. I’m of the opinion that everybody has areas of strength and being able to share these strengths with others makes everybody better in the long run. As an example, I have recently become interested in creating and building communities around all different technical interests as well as mentoring others that have only just recently begun their journey in tech. Whatever it is you like and/or are good at, find a way to teach it to other people and to help each other out.

Search for the simple answer

The odds of finding either an unsolved problem or a tool that doesn’t yet exist are a lot lower than you would think.  As such it can often times be easy to get wrapped up in new shiny tools. There are numerous problems though when deciding to choose something new. As with anything new, all of the edge cases have not yet been discovered and so when you are doing things that are complicated things tend to fall apart more quickly. Another downside of reaching for the shiny new thing is that a lot of times a community has not yet had time to fully form, which leads to less well rounded support. There are obviously exceptions to the shiny new thing, but I would argue more often than not, changing things for the sake of changing things should be avoided.


This third one is more of a productivity tool. With new versions of Mac OS X switching to zsh I feel like this tool is probably more relevant now than ever. If you aren’t familiar, oh-my-zsh is basically a framework for managing zsh configurations. It is simple to install and configure, a great community, simple documentation and has a ton of plugins for nearly everything you may need to do.  For example, to add a plugin just add it to your .zshrc and reload your shell.

plugins=(… git)

Placing “git” into the plugin section will automatically turn on tons of aliases and other functions for you.

What would be your Top 3? Leave us a comment or write us a mail and get featured on this blog 🙂

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