September 27, 2009
I'm a firm believer that people are stronger when they're united than when they're divided. It's one of the reasons that I started this blog...those of us who have no teammates with which to collaborate lose out on a valuable part of the educational experience. The internet helps immeasurably, not just for finding the solution for our problems, but for building relationships with other people.
I really feel like there's a community of sorts around this site, and that's something I count as a huge success. The discussion in the comments of a lot of the stories on here is great, if a little one directional. I have considered adding something like forums on this site, but I haven't been convinced that there aren't better resources like that already (if you're curious, I'm thinking of serverfault for technical issues and sysadmin network for social talk). Even tinychat.com, which offers simple video conferencing over the web. One of the channels that I see pretty frequently in use is WanParty, which is typically manned (and womanned) by IT people from around the internet. Of course, if you like old school, there's always IRC. #lopsa on Freenode is always a busy channel with lots of admins, and you don't need to belong to LOPSA to join
All of these community-building resources are great, and most weren't available even a couple of years ago. As useful as they are, though, even better is getting out and meeting other admins in person. There are sysadmin meetups all over the country, not to mention tons of other worthy meetups, some of which are cooler than others ;-) Also available are OS user groups, LOPSA user groups, and other user groups of all kinds.
Above and beyond normal meetings are things like conferences, which bring together amazing amounts of people all devoted to the same topic. For systems administrators, the undesputed king (or queen, as the case may be) has to be LISA. This year it's in Baltimore, MD from Nov 1st through 6th, and it should be an amazing group of sysadmins. I'm hoping very much to be able to attend, and if it turns out that I can, I'll definitely let you know here.
In short, go out, meet people, join groups, and be sociable. You'll learn more, have a better time, and gain relationships that will last a long time.