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It is my opinion that you can't be a great SA and a great coder.

It's hard to image a better training ground than being an SA (but then that's my background so I would say that). One of the things that distinguishes a great coder from a good coder is attention to detail and that's typically something that good SysAdmins have in bucket loads.

A SysAdmin also tends to recognise fairly quickly when something will be supportable in the long run - a programmer who has never done support might not even care. SysAdmins are usually fairly close to users and have a pretty good feel for what things they find frustrating or could use help with. This is the perfect opportunity to spot a little project to sink your teeth into and implement in Perl.

For example, say someone in your organisation regularly emails (or FTPs) some files to a business partner. You could put a script together using Mail::Mailer or Net::FTP and run it from the system scheduler. If the person saves 10 minutes a day that adds up to one whole week over a year - you'll be a hero!

As another example, are there any log files you check on a daily basis? What do you look for? Write a Perl script to look for the same things, schedule it to run daily and each morning when you arrive at work there'll be an email in your In Tray telling you (from the subject line) whether everything is OK or not. If you save yourself 10 minutes a day, you can spend it on Perl Monks.

And I wouldn't get too hung up on 'the science of programming' - for your needs, a little common sense is all you'll need. After you've got a few projects under your belt (and made a few mistakes like we all do) you may find that you're interested enough to read up on some of the theory and you'll have some real-world experience to relate it back to. Good Luck.

In reply to Re: Beginning Perl for system admins by grantm
in thread Beginning Perl for system admins by jjohnson

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