Common operational misconceptions

Brandt, Ralph ralph.brandt at
Fri Feb 17 15:01:34 UTC 2012

Hammer, you are at least 75% right.  You will get flamed and in most
cases, the 35 year age is close to right.  

But then in Programming where I spent most of my IT time since Feb 1963,
few current programmers have skills that they need to be really
successful.  Same thing.  

It is the fault of the educational system like one school district here
that teaches Alice, VB and then two days of C++ to High School Kids.
Heck, they will fiddle with Alice on their own.  They need some exposure
to one of the SQL's and how to build some tables, maybe a good script
language, some command line on SQL+ and unix or PostgresSQL and linux if
the school can't afford the unix licenses. 

The fun and games is more important than the substance and it goes into
the colleges in spades.

BTW, I am a school board member who votes 1:8 often on things.... But
let me give you a perspective, one of the board members called Golf an
"Essential Life Skill."  Maybe, but how about balancing a checkbook...

Ralph Brandt
Communications Engineer
HP Enterprise Services
Telephone +1 717.506.0802
FAX +1 717.506.4358
Email Ralph.Brandt at
5095 Ritter Rd
Mechanicsburg PA 17055

-----Original Message-----
From: -Hammer- [mailto:bhmccie at] 
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 9:52 AM
To: nanog at
Subject: Re: Common operational misconceptions

Let me simplify that. If you are over 35 you know how to troubleshoot.

Yes, I'm going to get flamed. Yes, there are exceptions in both


"I was a normal American nerd"
-Jack Herer

On 2/17/2012 8:29 AM, Leo Bicknell wrote:
> In a message written on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 08:50:11PM -1000, Paul
Graydon wrote:
>> At the same time, it's shocking how many network people I come across
>> with no real grasp of even what OSI means by each layer, even if it's
>> only in theory.  Just having a grasp of that makes all the world of
>> difference when it comes to troubleshooting.  Start at layer 1 and
>> upwards (unless you're able to make appropriate intuitive leaps.) Is
>> physically connected? Are the link lights flashing? Can traffic route
>> it, etc. etc.
> I wouldn't call it a "misconception", but I want to echo Paul's
> comment.  I would venture over 90% of the engineers I work with
> have no idea how to troubleshoot properly.  Thinking back to my own
> education, I don't recall anyone in highschool or college attempting
> to teach troubleshooting skills.  Most classes teach you how to
> build things, not deal with them when they are broken.
> The basic skills are probably obvious to someone who might design
> course material if they sat down and thought about how to teach
> troubleshooting.  However, there is one area that may not be obvious.
> There's also a group management problem.  Many times troubleshooting
> is done with multiple folks on the phone (say, customer, ISP and
> vendor).  Not only do you have to know how to troubleshoot, but how
> to get everyone on the same page so every possible cause isn't
> tested 3 times.
> I think all college level courses should include a "break/fix"
> exercise/module after learning how to build something, and much of
> should be done in a group enviornment.

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