"The simple usage problems are annoying"


It has been celebrated regularly since 2000 and is meant to bring recognition: This year's System Administrator Appreciation Day will take place on July, 30. We, the users, say "thank you"! Because they work hard every day to ensure that notebooks and workstations function, networks and the internet run reliably, software is available and regularly updated, cloud services and high-performance computers are accessible. Let's take a look behind the scenes and find out what sys admins do at LRZ. We interviewed Kevin Pötschke, who is currently doing his vocational training to become a sys admin at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ).

Why did you decide to become a system administrator? Kevin Pötschke: I have been interested in computers for a long time and wanted to deepen my knowledge in this area. And i suppose my brother, who actually is a sys admin, inspired me as well.

What are your daily tasks? Pötschke: Primarily, I create software packages for customers, that is, I receive an order to package an application such as Office or Chrome. To do this, I put the software together and then install it via a silent batch script, i.e. a .cmd file that starts the installation without users noticing or having to actively do something. Because the LRZ manages and distributes the updates, I deactivate the automatic updates and store a licence key or server if necessary. My other tasks include dealing with tickets from customers who face IT problems, for example with the anti-virus programme Sophos or with the connection to a network.

What do you particularly like to do? Pötschke: "What I like best is software packaging. It's always the same procedure, but the content differs from software to software.

What user problems are annoying? Pötschke: Honestly? The very simple ones. Many of these simple problems and questions could be solved by a short search online or in the LRZ documentation itself.

What is your professional dream or goal? Pötschke: I can't say at the moment, but for the time being I would like to stay at the LRZ and build up a professional foothold here.

(Interview: vs/LRZ)