Holidays from an IT Perspective

I shared this with my Sysadmin class from last semester:

7 Ways IT Staff Can Prepare for the Holidays












Some have responded with interest. It reminds me of a guest presenter I invited a few semesters back. He told the class, among other things, that for the first five years of his career, he spent not one holiday with his family. Naturally, night time, specifically holiday nights, are typically low-peak times and thus regarded as the ‘best’ time for system upgrades/maintenance. ‘Best,’ but for the folks who have to perform those tasks, not so much.

Peanuts Christmas

Interestingly, when I was in law enforcement, the same condition held true: I was a cop for five years before I got a Christmas/New Year’s off from work. In that, very different profession, it was  a matter of scheduling and my lousy luck of the draw. At least with the cops, we’d cover for each other for a few hours on the day, so each of us got a chance to spend at least a little time with our family, even though we were on duty.

Looking even further back to when I was in the military, it seemed like most folks would take their annual leave during the traditional vacation months, May – August. But I always saved up my leave time for Christmas time. I guess this is particularly significant when you consider just how much fun Savannah, GA can be during the Summer months. Not so much. I always felt as if I was working/running PT in a sauna. But whatever.

It probably [very] rarely works out that way for the IT folks who are stuck in the trenches during those times. But that’s the nature of our modern, 24/7/365 world. Some services cannot be interrupted, regardless of the reason. Today, I’m looking forward to visiting my mom; passing all the ’24/7′ establishments that are nevertheless closed for business during this one time of the year. Working at McDonalds or Walmart may or may not be fulfilling for folks, but at least they get to spend time, this one special [for a large segment of the world’s population] time of year, where we’re supposed to appreciate the blessings that life has bestowed upon us.

Life goes on. Some things change. Others stay the same. In retrospect, it’s been an interesting, if stressful, year. Characterized, as each year so often is, with its ups and downs. But the balance sheet is showing mostly black. I’ve found a happy relationship. I’ve had a blast at work, cycling close to 200 students through the four different classes I’ve taught.

I was handed an opportunity to revive an old class, Intermediate Web, which I feel has an ever more relevant place in our curriculum, what with the web being such a prominent part of everyday life. It’s still very much in developmental stages, since the last time we were able to offer it was five years ago. Naturally, almost all of the archived course materials were deprecated by the time I got my hands on them. So I’m working the thing practically from the ground up. As a result, there’s a bit of overlap with the Intro class. But I think that’s a good thing — much of the technology associated with front-end web development works together to create a modern website. We’re exploring, in addition to vanilla HTML and CSS, frameworks, JavaScript, jQuery, and CSS preprocessing (Sass, specifically). Moving forward from those two classes, students will take server-side web development and advanced web. I hope that my intro classes, particularly the new one, will effectively prepare them for those classes.

On another note, doctor school is progressing. I made an A- in Qualitative Research Methods this semester. This spring, I’m looking forward to taking a computer security class. Hopefully, this summer, I’ll be able to take another class and then start taking two classes a semester. When I started, I registered for two classes, only to learn that it was too much to handle while simultaneously teaching an overload (four classes). So I dropped one of them, only to learn that Nova has a 2/3 policy, where you have to pass two-thirds of the classes you register for in order to maintain enrollment. Great. And, given the fact that I’ve been on an overloaded schedule ever since, I’ve just been taking one class each semester. But I’m hoping to ramp that up, in spite of my work schedule. I’ve taken to joking that I hope to graduate sometime before  I retire. We’ll see.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday break and an opportunity to recharge for the coming year. Merry Christmas!

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