Andrew Dillon, a junior computer science and systems major, is working as an advanced student system administrator for the CSE Department this summer. Dillon’s primary role is to assist Dr. Carl Daudt, the department’s computer resource manager, with the CSE computers. He has a wide range of responsibilities, but his primary activity has been updating installation scripts that have changed significantly over the past year. The CSE Department is now hosting new operating systems/distributions for both its Windows and Linux builds and running new versions of most of its lab software, including updated developer tools, database tools, malware detection, and user applications.
Dillon, who has worked alongside Daudt since his freshman year, believes that the knowledge he has gleaned will not only serve him well as he continues to pursue his degree, but it has provided him with another benefit as well. Dillon explains, “It’s [the student system administrator position] giving me lots of experience dealing with computers. My computer science classes tell me how to program, but this job is teaching me a lot about how to deal with computers in other practical ways.”
The arrangement is mutually beneficial, allowing the CSE Department to run efficiently and effectively. Daudt elaborates, “Our student system administrators, especially those who work during the summer months, have been essential for equipping our labs with the tools that are needed, implementing and debugging installation scripts, testing software builds, and performing other tasks that make for a smooth opening to the Computer Science and Engineering labs in late August. In addition to serving an essential role for us, students like Andrew are gaining invaluable experience for themselves. Not only are they learning technical skills, but they are learning how to prioritize tasks, track changes, and meet important deadlines.”
–This article is second in a series about students working for the CSE department this summer.