Let’s start with the basics. What is a system administrator, or sysadmin? In short, they’re professionals who maintain and configure computer systems, particularly multi-user systems, like servers or networks. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why sysadmins have a big role to play in ed tech, keeping up the tools and tech educators and administrators use each day and ensuring that learning can happen on campuses and in districts across the country and around the world.
That’s why July 30, 2021 marks the 22nd annual commemoration of System Administrator Appreciation Day. This event is an opportunity to express our gratitude to the techies who keep things running smoothly for all of us. Especially after semesters of flipped, blended, and remote learning, it’s worth taking time to thank our sysadmins for their expertise and dedication.
Origins and Ideas
The idea to celebrate sysadmins wasn’t part of a groundswell. Rather, it started as a joke. As we described last year:
It all started with a fruit basket. Sort of. In 2000, system administrator Ted Kekatos saw a magazine ad for HP’s then-latest printer, the HP LaserJet 4000. He’d just installed several of that model at his company. But the ad didn’t seem to match his experience.
Here’s how Kekatos described it in a 2011 interview: “The ad showed a sysadmin sitting in his cube. Outside of his cube was a line of users bringing fruit baskets and flowers. I tore out the ad and showed it to my coworkers. I thought ‘Hey this is great! A sysadmin is getting flowers, fruit and wine from his users!’ So that was how System Administrator Appreciation Day 1.0 got started.”
Kekatos meant it as a gentle ribbing to his coworkers, but soon the company’s annual July barbecue became SysAdmin Day, now formally known as System Administrator Appreciation Day. The idea caught on.“Why System Administrators Matter“
Traditionally, it’s a day to share your gratitude with the administrators at your school in the form of small gifts and tokens of appreciation. Consider small events, parties, cakes, cards, gift cards, and more. The official website for the celebration even suggests posting photos of your hard-working admins and your celebrations on “Facebook, Flickr, Reddit, Twitter, and your preferred social media.”
Resources for System Administrators
Find more ways to celebrate your system administrators — or promote and enhance their work. Check out some previous TechNotes posts below that are meant to offer fresh, practical resources for those who work in the tech trenches. But before you admins put these tips into practice, don’t forget to take a break. It’s your day, after all.
- Looking for ways to treat your admin? Check out our 2017 SysAdmin Day post here.
- For sysadmins, technology coordinators, and tech support workers interested in becoming a leader in the field, TCEA’s TEC-SIG special interest group might be for you.
- You can also read about TEC-SIG events, resources, and engaged members here and here.
And don’t forget, TCEA’s own System Administrator and Technical Support Conference happens Oct. 21–22, 2021!
How will you be celebrating your system admins? Share your ideas and stories in the comments!