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 Workshop Offers Unique Training Opportunity

LOPSA, the League of Professional System Administrators, is holding its second Sysadmin Days workshop in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The two-day conference offers training by 12 experts at a fraction of the price of normal vendor- or conference-based training.

 (Submitted by Chris St. Pierre Thu Jul 12, 2007 )

  Vendor training sessions and classes offered in a conference environment are an important component of career growth among computer professionals, but the cost of sending employees to training continues to rise even as many companies and nonprofit institutions have cut training budgets by half or more. In fact, organizations can spend between $3,000 and $5,000 per employee for a single vendor or conference-based training session.

The League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) now offers an accelerated-learning-style conference at a lower cost to participants. This unique two-day program was specifically designed to reach system administrators, particularly those who work at smaller and mid-sized organizations. The compression of the time spent in classes means attendees will only be out of the office for two to three days but will have an opportunity to take four classes, thereby lowering hotel and travel costs, as well as the direct impact on business needs.

“We want to reach as many system administrators as we can because that’s what LOPSA is about,” David Parter, a LOPSA board of directors member, said. “Our goal is to serve the profession and to help our members grow in their careers.”

Sysadmin Days will be held on August 6-7 at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Cherry Hill, NJ. The workshop will feature 12 industry experts who will teach 16 half-day sessions on a variety of topics, most with an emphasis on practical tools and face-to-face advice from other professionals in the field.

Registration fees are under $1,000 per participant, and LOPSA offers discounts for members, students and educational institutions. LOPSA believes the net effect of this unique program will be to provide system administrators with more training and tools to do their jobs.

“We know that the informed system administrator can raise issues about critical business needs and better serve customers,” Parter said. “This training is focused on imparting practical and valuable knowledge.”

This is the second installment of the Sysadmin Days workshop. The 2006 event was held in November in Phoenix, Ariz. Attendance at the inaugural event was high, and the response enthusiastic, organizers say. The goal is to hold Sysadmin Days training sessions in every region of the country in order to better serve system administration professionals.

“We want to attract participants who might not otherwise get a chance to attend training sessions,” says LOPSA board member Jesse Trucks. “Training should be accessible to junior and mid-level sys admins, as well as to senior team members. We want companies to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The program is designed for system administrators of all skill and experience levels. It provides the only opportunity for system administrators to cover all aspects of their careers, from specific technical workshops to discussions and seminars on professional conduct and best practices.

About two-thirds of the Sysadmin Days courses will address both specific platforms and technologies, such as Mac OS X, Perl and Automated Windows Administration, along with general system administration practices, such as security. The remaining classes will focus on professional skill development topics, including drafting policy documents, ethics, and communication and writing skills. In addition, special guest instructor Tom Limoncelli, co-author of The Practice of System and Network Administration and Time Management for System Administrators, will discuss time management skills.

“Many system administrators have to shift back and forth between solving specific problems and big picture issues like budgets and policy development,” Parter says. “We want this training program to reflect that reality and to offer skill-building in both areas.”

Participants are encouraged to talk about real-world problems that they would like to solve. Trucks, a GCUX-certified system administrator who also will serve as an instructor, says this approach helps attendees conceptualize and digest the information that is presented in the accelerated learning environment.

“We don’t just focus on theoretical ideas,” he says. “We want people to have ‘aha’ moments and to go home with new ideas that they can implement immediately.”

League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) is an independent nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing the practice of system administration. The mission of the organization is to support, recognize, educate, and encourage its practitioners and to serve the public through education and outreach on system administration issues.

LOPSA provides educational and networking opportunities, a forum for support and ideas, and an active community engaged in discussion of system administration issues. As a member-driven organization, LOPSA's best ideas come from its membership; IT professionals looking to influence the field of IT can join LOPSA to find other IT professionals to collaborate on projects, advance the state of the art, and search for and share the best practices in IT.

For more information on Sysadmin Days 2007—Training That Makes Sense, including a complete schedule, visit http://lopsa.org/SysadminDays. For more information on LOPSA, visit www.lopsa.org, or contact the executive office: 15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite C, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054; Phone: 856-439-0500 or toll free at 800-285-2141; Fax: 856-439-0525; E-mail: info@lopsa.org.

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