Our theme this year for SysAdmin Appreciation Day is celebrating the heroic IT pros who work hard to keep networks, systems, and devices optimized and secure — while also helping their organizations improve overall security hygiene.

And so last month, we asked you to share: what makes you feel like an IT superhero? As we had hoped, there were many inspiring responses. Here is a look at what you had to say about your heroic efforts:

  • I get my satisfaction working in IT every day by solving complex issues for our customers and when they let me know that they appreciate it very much. Issues like very slow performing databases, crashed PCs with weighing scale attached to them (needed for production), etc. But also when I help colleagues who are having technical issues.
  • I wouldn't call myself a superhero, but when 5 people have worked on something and can't get it to work and you can, it makes you feel awesome.
  • Feeling like a superhero when I find an innovative solution or finish a script that makes a task go like The Flash :)
  • When a piece of equipment starts to work when I walk in the room, I feel like a superhero.
  • When I manage to solve a pesky problem with a simple click or a parameter tweak.
  • Those times when I've managed to solve a critical problem in a few minutes.
  • One hardly sees the IT hero when things run smoothly, but we are loved when things go bad and we unleash our superpowers to fix things before hiding back in our super cave.
  • Like most of us, I don’t think of myself as an IT superhero. First, it’s important to get all your tasks done (preferably on time) and help others (juniors) to excel at their job. Since the company I work for has the tendency to create a war room call for all major issues, I've seen a lot of so-called IT Superheroes who fail to deliver when the going gets tough. The real IT Superhero doesn't boast about him/herself, but just gets the job done. If that's being done correctly, our clients/customers/users don't notice you (or the work), which might not be rewarding, but it is actually the best compliment you can get (imo).
  • When things are good, we're invisible. The other thing (apart from when things go bad and we have to go all out to fix it — hello, printnightmare!) is when people throw emergencies over the wall and expect us to achieve everything in immeasurably short timescales.
  • When I see clients solve simple problems by themselves, then I know I tech them well.
  • I've been told by my supervisor and co-workers that I have "the touch." I used to get called or I would just show up and touch a server, and the next thing you know the issue was resolved. I remember one time a user was trying to do something on one of his servers. I'm going to date myself here, but he couldn't get the floppy drive to recognize the disc he was trying to load. He would put it in but was unable to access A:. He called me over, I touched the drive, inserted the disc, and MAGICALLY A: loaded! If that's not being an IT Superhero, I don't know what is!
  • Superheroes don't have any problems, only challenges. There is always a solution.
  • "Look there! The person who will solve our problems has arrived!" I enter the room and solve the problem. But it's happened a few times that I solve the problem, and as I'm leaving, someone says: "You solved it? So fast?" They go on to tell everyone in the room: "Didn't I say he was going to solve the problem? We've been trying to solve it for hours and he solved it in minutes!"
  • I always stay modest and just say, “It’s my job.” But helping someone out of trouble remotely while their only working device is a phone and then getting them back online makes me feel quite good.
  • Automating complex things that used to take a lot of time (often a whole workday) always makes me feel like a hero, especially when it’s been reduced to a simple doubleclick ;)
  • I think I need to have a co-hero to feel the hero vibe. On my own, it feels fumbling and inept, but with another geek it feels like we’re bouncing ideas off each other, and gaining energy and focus with each iteration until SHAZAM! Or something like that. :-) I really do like working with other motivated IT peeps, though, and I think we get more done, at a higher quality, when we team up.
  • Figuring out that complex Google Sheets formula that no one else could solve :)
  • Migrating 3.5 PBS of data from one cloud service to two others; then also migrating 110K plus mailboxes to Exchange online all within 1 year. A great team makes this possible.
  • Deploying technology solutions that not only improve our customers’/employees’ experience, but also the experience of the IT staff supporting the solution, which is quite rare! "Total experience" vs. "customer experience."
  • The word hero is overused, especially in the IT field. Let’s give it a rest and just restore Pam’s spreadsheet without your superiority complex being stroked.
  • Automation. Example: A print server was dying and needed to be replaced. Option A: Having the operators manually installing ~2,000 queues on the new server (a couple of days work). Option B: Running a script that copies the old printer queues, with settings, drivers, etc., from the old server to the new (about 2 hours in total and less prone to human errors). Within IT, you can rarely "take someone’s job away" since anytime you manage to free up some time for someone, more tasks emerge somewhere else...
  • Making changes for good and seeing those changes delivering results!
  • When helping my colleagues and friends fix their IT issues.
  • I love making a difference by fixing a problem. I love identifying something that has been plaguing an organization for a long time and providing them with a solution!
  • Superhero is a bit of a strong word, but I do love producing clean vulnerability scan results...for the ten minutes they last in this world.
  • Just started a new job. They had a HUGE workflow they wanted replaced. Thought it would be a huge undertaking, but in understanding the requirements, it will actually be very straight forward and so much easier to maintain when completed.

An Interesting Insight

One theme that connected several responses was the simple fact that many of you don’t necessarily see yourselves as “heroes.” Instead, you humbly see yourselves as competent professionals who are doing your job to the very best of your ability.

However, one of the reasons we still prefer to call all of you “heroes” is because we believe that many SysAdmins and IT pros are under-appreciated — largely because many customers, end users, and even managers/bosses don’t really understand what you do.

In addition, SysAdmins and other IT pros are often only noticed when something goes wrong. It’s kind of like how many patients only consult their doctor when they have a problem. When they feel fine, they usually don’t think about thanking their doctor (in fact, they usually don’t think about their doctor at all!).

And so, part of our effort with the July poll question, and our theme for SysAdmin Appreciation Day, was to give all of you a richly deserved “pat on the back.” We appreciate and admire all that you do!

The Winners Are…

You’re all winners because, without you, the workplace (including the virtual edition) would grind to a halt and chaos would erupt.

Now, let’s reveal the two randomly-selected poll participants who have each won a $25 Amazon gift card. Congratulations to Eric Stott and nvO! Please email me at dsthilaire@devolutions.net to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who participated and shared your inspiring answers. And please stay tuned for the August poll, which is coming very soon.