All good reasons, but... I'm on considerably more than that, but I manage a
team of 8, including developers (Delphi, SQL, PHP/DHTML), and provide
support to 2500 users directly and 10,000 indirectly over 40 sites. I'm
project managing a team to develop a open source school/LEA ERP system (so
much more than SIMS...) in partnership with a private company. I also take
care of a lot of ICT purchasing decisions - well over £0.5 million in 18
The team locally support 250 PCs and 200 laptops and remotely another 200
PCs and 25 laptops. In addition there are 11 servers locally and 4 remote.
There is something on the order of 100 different applications, running on 8
operating systems (a combination which would never be allowed in an
enterprise). There is a layer 3 switched network (about 600 ports) with
gigabit fibre backbone mixed with wireless. We use enterprise level software
and hardware to maintain, manage and secure the systems, for example Fluke
Network Inspector/Fluke DSP2000SR, Symantec Ghost Enterprise, Norton AV
Corporate, Borderware Firewall, Veritas Backup Exec, etc.
The point of this mini-CV? Commercially, my experience/skillset is worth
£40k+ even in the local government sector, but schools in their current
mindset could never pay a non-teacher that sort of money, or anything close.
Their unwillingness to pay a non-teacher more than a teacher, coupled with
the lack of professional courtesy given by most teachers to other
professionals in schools, leads me along with countless other school IT
staff to the verge of leaving. If the team here all gave their contractual
30 day notice and moved on to better-paid, better valued, positions, the
associated schools would be stuffed. Without the type of handover you would
expect in the commercial sector, a new team would be at a complete
standstill for 3 months. A new team made up of the people who are likely to
respond to an advert for a position at £12k would probably be at a total
loss to even maintain the network. A team of people recruited at more
realistic salary levels, with appropriate commercial experience would almost
certainly not cope with (a) the lack of respect, (b) the lack of
knowledgeable users (c) the numbers of users per PC and (d) the number of
users trying to circumvent security measures and vandalise equipment.
Present company excepted, there are very few experienced and skilled IT
professionals in schools, but a large number in industry who cut their teeth
(read "broke stuff") in schools before moving on to industry, leaving
patched together undocumented systems to be rebroken by the new recruits.
School ICT systems cannot become truly better unless developed by
knowledgeable people working to a strategy developed by the knowledgeable
people in consultation with the teaching staff over long periods of time.
Refusing to consider that IT professionals need to be paid reasonably if
they are to stay long enough for strategies to be developed, and also
treated as the professionals they are (or should be), will result in much
money being wasted over and over again. Our money.
Commercially I was always against out-sourcing. In education, maybe an
out-sourced education ICT support service is the only way. Any takers?
Central Manchester City Learning Centre @ Trinity
0161 212 1972/70
From: Robb Bloomfield
Sent: 10/30/01 11:55 AM
Subject: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Techies
> Bear in mind that this is a private school - in LEA controlled schools
> you'd be lucky to get 10K for a part time, term time only position,
> probably requiring you to do much of that work, manage the entire
> network and run the MIS system!
Just over actually, I'm on £12,000 for 42 weeks. And yes, I do it all
> So, I wonder why we do it?
Well, it's experience, it pays the rent, and it was an ideal job for a
school leaver, who'd already helped run the network as a student.... so
big thanks to the RLS.
The suse Website lists the Suse pro 7.3 as around 59 and the upgrade at
around 35 (I think), both have
7cd's / 1 dvd and 5 manuals,
1. Is the upgrade only available to people with an older version of the
2. Can I upgrade from say the personal ed
3. How does it detect I have a previous version, esp as I would eventually
do a clean install and have probably sold the older version on. or given it
away so someone else can benefit.
Thanks for any help, I am currently using Red Hat, and have heard about
problems with 7.2 mainly with the ext3 filesystem support and older kernels
which don't support it very well. So I have decided to get Suse as my next
I think Michael Brown hit the nail on the head. Certainly, for the types of
questions posed I would have great difficulty sorting them out without some
thinking time--which you don't always have; and possibly even need some
outside help (there's always someone who knows more than you principle works
well in IT ;-). That's where all sorts of problems come in with the MCSE,
CCNA, etc etc etc..you can never be really sure that the person is a well
rounded technician, and not just a good learner that has looked at some
books and passed an exam!
I think a more generalised education in computers helps more than
proprietary led courses; in other words, a good BSc in Computer Science may
be able to help with Michael's questions more than a good MCSE or CNE. But
then that was my whole weak point :-O
Thanks anyway Michael, that was a wake up call!!!
<putting CV away :-(>
The only complaint I have about anykind of Alevel/degree in computing is the trend to concentrate on things like binary logic, CPU architecture, BCD, how capacitance affects phase voltage, things which don't make any difference to how a good a technician you are.
Not that that will stop me finishing my degree.....
>What's the difference between a northbridge and southbridge chip then?
I think you answered that, and probably learnt something on the way ;-)
Maybe I'm just a geek then. And why would you want to fix a CDROM drive
belt when you are in contract? You wouldn't if you were in contract, but
the college I worked at were out of contract for their machines and to
replace something like 15 drives that had no need of replacing was
pathetic; instead, I took them apart and re-attached the separated drive
belts, giving them a new lease of life :-) Why would you need to know
about the PCs architecture? Building them, analysing them, using them,
programming for them..and so on. On every hardware course I've been on
from Tresham to correspondence, the north and south bridge ICs have been
mentioned..maybe you have been missing some of the fun?
I don't question that some here know more than me (I know they do), or
that some MCSEs have the knowledge they profess on paper (some do no
doubt) I just haven't met any! Software knowledge doesn't make a rounded
technician; neither does solely hardware knowledge--it's having a good
combination of these and other skills that makes a marked improvement
upon the time it takes to fix/install/upgrade things.
The moral of the story is that the IT industry is a dynamic industry,
and we all need lots of skills in many areas to even have the chance of
being employable. If that means I have to take an MCSE though, I'd
<who can even point to a north and south bridge chip>
I think the last few posts have been indicative of the kinds of things we in
the IT sector have to put up with *because* of the MCSE. Let me clarify what
I mean: when I started in IT I worked in a local technical college for £9500
per year, for sometimes 60 hours a week. I liked the job, but the financial
strain was too much Of course the network manager at the time was on £17500
a year, and only got the job because he had...guess what...an MCP!
What annoyed me more than anything was the fact that he used Microsoft
software on the LAN, not because it was better, but because it was part of
his next MCP test. It was one big lab to him! As it happens, I had to leave;
he is still there, and now has three MCPs and a CCNA--still earning the same
amount. He didn't know how to build PCs, couldn't do even basic scripting,
didn't know HTML, and had to get me to install Windows NT Workstation 4 for
him to test it for wider use. I had to call MS support for him many times,
and he wouldn't entertain Linux at all...he didn't know computers, he knew
I have considered an MCSE in the past just to get a job in IT, but I
literally *hate* MS software I am an open source believer, and always will
be. I would really love to take RHCE, but don't think I have the depth of
knowledge to do it--otherwise I'd be in there slogging my guts out! There
are alternatives to MCSEs, and yet businesses need that sort of knowledge
because MS have built up a whole support industry around that certification.
That's why I opted for my HND in Network Support. It covered Office, LANs,
Data Comms, Hardware, project Management, Databases, Software Development
etc., but I was allowed to use Linux as the OS and even Star Office for the
office suite! I used MySQL for databases and Linux for Multi User components
of the course....yet that wasn't enough for many employers!?
I WILL NOT take an MCSE, MCP, MOUS or other MS certification. I love
networking, IT, and the industry, but my goals eventually are on some form
of Linux certification. Low pay in that case? Maybe. Self respect? Loads. I
know LOTS of MCSEs and MCPs, even CCNAs...its just paper in the
end..really...a piece of paper that says "you passed one exam". IT support
is a lot more than one exam!
MCSEs have weakened the market; not only is the exam deemed easy by its
users, but its also seen as a fast track entry into IT and higher pay. Yet
that has backfired: now MCSEs are wanted for less than £20000 a year whereas
before they were averaging £30000pa. That's the way of the market--such
skill, yet so much of them out there with it. It really can't be all that
hard then. This only serves to reduce the level of computer knowledge needed
to not only obtain one but also support an MS LAN. I have MCSE friends who
can't tell the difference between a Northbridge and Southbridge chip inside
the PC; they can't tell you what the little brown slots are next to a lot of
AGP slots on newer motherboards; they can't fix CDROM drive belts that have
come loose; they can't grasp SCSI or whatever...and these examples are real!
Enough ranting....you get the picture. You guys just keep up the good work,
keep learning, keep adapting and maybe even consider Linux
certification--Linux is, after all, the future of IT!!!
> From: Frank Shute <frank(a)esperance-linux.co.uk>
> To: Tom Davison <tom(a)lubs.leeds.ac.uk>
> Cc: Schools List <suse-linux-uk-schools(a)suse.com>
> Subject: Re: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Techies
> Date: 02 November 2001 06:01
> On Thu, Nov 01, 2001 at 04:15:00PM -0000, Tom Davison wrote:
> > i have read the replies on this subject and i have come to the
> yourself over to the unix/linux side - there's more money there &
> you'll enjoy the work more.
> > ok sorry just realized that i went into selling mode then but you get
> > the idea, i am only 21 which does go against me but i think i get a
> > rough deal with my pay and workload.
> Hey, I'm near 40 which really works against me!
When I was 27, I was told - "Sorry, you're too old to be employed in our
-FYI, they were still using COBOL, RPGII and FORTRAN. I wasn't actually old
15 years on, I'm still here. Guess about the company...
Well, I'm on £14k and work for Bucks County Council. I'm only 19, so I'm
treating it as a great job for someone of my age.
Yes, it's true, it is often a thankless job and everything always has to be
done *now*, but it can be very rewarding (the advantage of the educational
sector), and yes, there are perks (like a 128k connection all to your self
after the kids go...)...
As for MCSE's, I see why people ask for them, but just because you haven't
taken the exam yet doesn't mean you're not capable. was extremely
disappointed when MS withdrew support for the NT4 MCSE, as that is what I've
supported for nearly three years now. However, they've re-introduced it.
Also, by taking these exams, you get to add in the bits you miss, for
example, I've never used RAS or Exchange, but they are extremely useful
skills to have.
I would like to take the CCNA, and I'm currently fiddling with an 802 router
that I've managed to get hold of. I'm also taking a BSc and a DipIT with
the Open University. It's all about knowledge really. There is so much to
learn in this profession, that at some point it's easier to start
specialising. I haven't done that yet, but I already know which areas
interest me, and which interest me less (notice I said less, and not don't.
I love this profession....)...
Sorry for the ramble, but I thought I'd chip in...
Thanks to all that have replied. So- it seems I have two choices:
1) I can remotely boot using BootP, and this means having a bootROM or
floppy on the local machine from which to boot, or,
2) I can use NFS to mount (export from the server) the files I wish to share
(home directory etc) at boot time or by connecting and mounting afterwards.
have I picked that up right? If so, I would prefer to learn to use thin
clients running from a boot floppy/ROM image- since that's how I figure work
will want it done if it comes to choice between the two methods. I have been
reading a lot from the LTSP pages, so haven't been lazy on this, but it's
like a minefield to someone who hasn't done it before :-O I would much
rather configure a Cisco switch ;-) However, it also looks like being a good
application of old machines that would otherwise be literally thrown out, so
I'll give it a try.
has anyone tried the Intel Etherexpress Pro 100+ with Linux for this
purpose, since apparently it has its own built in EPROM for booting
Finally, any good books or materials where I can get some paper information
Thanks again all!!
PS I think I will be looking at the 3Com 509..let you know how it goes