It is 25 July, and that means it’s Systems Administrators Appreciation Day once more. Sysadmin Day is that one special day a year where syadmins the world over say to each other “Wow, I can’t believe we all made it another year”, and everyone else forgets that this has been a thing for 14 years.
Though SysAdmins are rarely noticed until they’re needed, and people never seem to understand what it is they do (“oh, so you’re the guy who deals with the printers?”), without them no business would run smoothly and maybe you’ve heard one of the misconceptions in this image:
Despite the inevitable apathy of sysadmins’ coworkers and employers, IT vendors big and small have attached themselves to the internet holiday with marketing budget-fuelled glee.
The modern tradition of Sysadmin Day was created by Ted Kekatos and first celebrated on 28 July, 2000. It is celebrated on the last Friday in July and is supposed to include demonstrations of appreciation for the systems administrators who are critical to keeping the digital infrastructure supporting our entire society up and running.
Sysadmin Day has become something of a marketing bonanza, but one in which many sysadmins are happily complicit. Geek culture mainstays like Thinkgeek have run contests or sales for years. Other companies sponsor the sysadminday.com website, usually with a contest or promotion to hand.
Some produce infographics containing interesting tit-bits of information about sysadmins. This year, Solarwinds created a PDF that plays with maths to say that sysadmins are worth an average of $673,719 per year to companies. This is done by adding together the salaries of various “side jobs” that sysadmins report being asked to do in addition to their computer maintenance duties.
PuppetLabs’ community should get a shout for some very creative entries to this year’s image macro competition while Spiceworks made a Sysadmin Day theme song.
This being Spiceworks, it can’t just do one thing for Sysadmin Day. Hence Spiceworks is also doing a special Ctrl-Alt-Tech episode at 10.00am CDT (4.00pm BST, 12.00pm PDT).
Ten years ago, it would have been possible to write an article that captured all the major Sysadmin Day contests, celebrations, get-togethers and so forth. Today, geek culture has gone mainstream. Marketing money and extroverts are no longer rarities and celebrations big and small are the norm.
If you are a systems administrator, chances are good that those outside your department still won’t have a clue that there even is a sysadmin day, let alone that it is today. Despite this, chances good that a local users’ group is having a night at the pub, or a vendor is holding a local bash, or that there’s a #sysadminday tweetup in your neighbourhood.
So take this one day, fellow sysadmins. Stop running endless simulations of your “enjoyment and jubilation” scripts on the test cluster, go outside and run that code in production. Today – this one day every year – is your day. Enjoy it; you’ve earned it.