[Beowulf] cluster admin employment

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Fri Apr 4 05:42:05 PDT 2008

Mark Kosmowski wrote:

> For Mike and the rest of you:
> If one of these unqualified applicants had accurately mapped out their
> deficiencies and let you know that they would need a little training,
> would said applicant have been considered at all or would their resume
> have been filed in the "circular file" (slang for the trash bin)?

Hi Mark:

   As an employer, I'll provide my perspective.

   I want people who I can assign a task to and a time line, and have 
that task delivered in that time line.  If the person doesn't know 
something they need for the task, I expect them to be smart enough to 
recognize it, intelligent enough to figure out what they need to learn, 
and then learn it.  All within our time and deliverable constraints. 
Even better, someone for whom I can define a nebulous goal, a due date, 
and then let them tear into it, figuring out all the details on their own.

   FWIW:  I am not convinced that certifications map into this in any 
reasonable way, nor am I convinced that they correlate with the ability 
to learn and execute in a limited time window based upon what you learn. 
  My experience (dealing with certified people) has been quite the opposite.

> Does someone who has maintained a personal cluster for their graduate
> research have any reasonable chance of landing some sort of admin
> position?  Given that state of the economy, I've been kind of hoping
> that I could look into admin positions as a backup plan if a position
> in my field is not readily available once I finish my doctoral studies
> - it would be helpful to know whether this is a realistic possibility.

   I would aim higher than admin.  A doctoral degree implies one has the 
critical thinking and reasoning skills well honed for identifying, 
understanding, and solving problems (caveat: see my point on 
certifications above).  Do a realistic self inventory.  What items would 
an employer find valuable?  During grad school, I met students with 
perfect GPAs, who could regurgitate qual-exam problems and their 
solutions, but were lost on basic reasoning skills.  And I met students 
who, once a problem got stuck in their craw, would keep hammering on it 
until the "got it done".  Well, some of them would be motivated to get 
it done in a reasonable time.  They would learn what they needed to get 
the job done.  Guess which group is interesting to me as an employer.


Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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