Become a LOPSA Mentor!

Remember how it was when you got started? Perhaps there were few resources and people to talk to when you had a question. Today many online resources exist for system administrators of all experience levels, but most answer specific technical questions, and the flood of data makes it hard to cull the good information from the bad. Given this, we believe "paying it forward" and helping others to learn is more important than ever. Mentors can "fill the gaps" by providing insight and tacit knowledge; the kind that only comes from experience.

Becoming a mentor is easy!

  1. Join LOPSA if you're not already a current member.
  2. Register at and list your availability and a brief description of your skills and interests.
  3. Once you are approved, new proteges will request mentors. You may approve and reject their requests.

Expectations of Mentors:

  • Be an active LOPSA member.
  • Work with the new protege to refine the project definition and end-state.
  • Coach, don't teach. Let the protege come to you for help. Rather than providing answers; provide suggestions on how they might find the answer for themselves. The goal is to have the protege learn how to learn.
  • Spend one to two hours each week communicating by email with the protege.
  • At the conclusion of the project or when the relationship comes to an end, make sure a relationship summary gets written and sent to the mentor-coordinators so that they know to close the project/relationship!
  • We hope that your years of experience can help teach:
    • Problem solving: Being able to abstract away certain elements of a problem, and conversely being able to drill down into a narrow problem scope when needed, benefits proteges in design, troubleshooting, and overall service outage and root cause analysis.
    • Automation: Mentors can help proteges evaluate the cost/benefit trade-off and deterime what they should automate first when given a limited amount of time.
    • Teamwork and People Skills: Showing a protege how to augment their technical skills with interpersonal and collaboration skills helps both our profession and the protege advance.
    • Discipline: More experienced system administrators often instill habits in themselves to limit human error: double checking things that they type, using standard tools to edit files, using revision control, etc. Without mentorship, these lessons are often learned the hard way after accidentally deleting or corrupting important files.
    • Tenacity: Staying with a problem until it is resolved is a critical skill for any system administrator.