Aug 24, 2011

The Joel Test for system administrator jobs


Based on “Organizational issues” — sore spots of IT? I think it would be fair to say that system administrators need to determine if a place is worth working at. There is a similar well known test by Joel for programmers.

What are the 12 questions system administrators should ask at an interview in order to help them decide if it’s a good place to work at?

Following Joel’s rules:

  1. Questions should be platform and technology agnostic
  2. Questions should elicit a simple response such as yes or no

EDIT: Please post one question at a time so we can see what users are voting for.

UPDATE Thank you for everyone’s response. I’ll have to collate the best 12 questions and maintain them here, when I have some more time.

I’m attempting to condense and throw up a few of the most popular items, hopefully this is somewhat successful in reflecting what was upvoted. If not, edit away! –Kara

  1. Do you use an incident/ticket tracking system?
  2. Do you test restores from backup regularly?
  3. Do you keep offsite backups?
  4. Do you have a regularly revised IT disaster recovery plan?
  5. Do you have enforceable standardization of IT-supported hardware/software?
  6. Is the current environment documented?
  7. Do you use robust monitoring/logging tools for critical systems?
  8. Do you monitor and apply patch/firmware updates?
  9. Do you have a hardware refresh and recycle policy?
  10. Do you have separate development, stage, and production systems with a change control process?


Do you use an incident/ticket tracking system?

Related posts:

  1. Following the Joel Test for SysAdmin; For all the places don’t meet the test, what needs to be done, and in what order?
  2. User cron jobs are not running but system jobs are
  3. What’s the simplest test that I can do to check if my cron jobs are working?
  4. LabManager – Assigning “System Administrator” to a User – Possible?
  5. System Administrator Appreciation Day

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