developer be a good administrator too : mandatory?

Polytropon freebsd at
Mon Apr 14 03:43:57 UTC 2014

On Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:40:41 +0530, Mayuresh Kathe wrote:
> the question that's popping up in my mind is;
> "is it necessary for a freebsd developer (c89) to also be a
> great system administrator?".
> the rationale i've heard is that if you can't handle your
> own freebsd system, how are you going to get productive!

I can't speak for others, but in my opinion, being a
good developer (in regards of server software or
application software) often goes hand in hand with
being a good system administrator. You need to know
about how the server works in order to write proper
software, and vice versa, you need to know how software
works in order to do your administration work correctly.
There may be other "professions" which help you to do
a good job: for example, security research, a bit of
cryptography, very basic things like reading, thinking
and learning (yes, those _are_ important and also _not_
"standard" today anymore!), but also knowledge about
system components, such as system design, file systems,
process communication, configuration files and so on.
The more you know, the better and "balanced" your
achievements can be. This will probably set you above
others who have a narrow mind and no real attitude
to improve.

So if your career path has made you a programmer, it
will definitely _not_ hurt you to learn about system
administration. Operating systems which are open, up
to the innermost parts, and which provide excellent
documentation and source, can be more help than
arbitrary and expensive "courses" which end in a
shiny certificate, and burden you with knowledge
which is outdated or non-transferable (or both).
Learning _fundamentals_ enables you to conclude and
learn new things, whereas short-term "knowledge"
will probably only be a dead mass that leads you

Coming back to the phrasing of your question:
I would not claim it's "neccessary", but it's
definitely helpful, especially in the context
of FreeBSD.

I'm saying all this from my very individual
observations and feelings from the relatively
short time of a little bit more tham 25 years
in IT. ;-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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