Franck Laprevote is a SysAdmin at Cosmo Tech. He answered our questions from the Cosmo Tech headquarters in Lyon, France.
How did you come to work at Cosmo Tech?
I had been working for the last few years in Grenoble when my partner got a promotion that would see her move closer to Lyon. I decided the time was right to make a move, too, and I started looking for a position in a firm closer to her new job.
I saw Cosmo Tech’s advertisement for a Systems Administrator (SysAdmin) on LinkedIn and got in contact with the company immediately. I met with Jean-Baptiste and Regis from the IT and DevOps team and, after successfully moving through the interview stage, I accepted an offer to join the company as a SysAdmin.
What does a normal day look like for you?
There are some things that I’ll do most days but, in reality, every day is very different – that’s one of the things that makes working in IT and in a startup interesting!
The IT and DevOps teams have regular meetings during the week. This is chance for us to keep each other updated on what we are working on, any problems we might be having, and to ensure that the resources of the team are well deployed.
I’m responsible for maintaining the technology systems that we use at Cosmo Tech and for installing new systems when they are adopted. Adopting a new system can be a challenge as the Cosmo Tech team uses a variety of operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux) and whatever we adopt company-wide must be made available to the entire team from day one. As such, I spend time studying how a software solution could or would work with our existing systems, on the different devices and operating systems that Cosmonauts use, and seek to understand whether there will be any problems integrating with existing software at Cosmo Tech.
As part of the IT team, I am also one of the ‘go to’ people that Cosmonauts refer to when they have a problem with their machine, their software, or an externally hosted application. I help resolve issues with Atlassian, with Google’s suite of business tools, and with our Git repository, too. I enjoy solving these problems, especially when that problem is particularly challenging.
What are some of the differences between being a SysAdmin at a startup and the same role in a big company?
For one thing, the sorts of problems that a SysAdmin faces in a startup are very different. Most of the people who work in a technology startup are adept at solving basic issues with their personal machines and sot are are a lot fewer problems that can be solved by checking a laptop is plugged in, connecting a screen to a computer, or connecting to a Wi-Fi network. I probably see a lot fewer ‘basic’ problems because the Cosmonauts are more tech savvy but, in contrast, I have to deal with issues that a SysAdmin at a bigger company would not see regularly.
In a startup the role of a SysAdmin is dynamic and the challenges are very diverse. In a larger company, in contrast, people on the DevOps or IT teams can be far more specialised. There might be some team members who only deal with the internal help desk, others who only deal with security issues, and others whose only focus is on maintaining and updating installed systems. Working at a startup gives you an opportunity to get a taste of all of these domains and develop experience across the board.
That said, while there are certainly some big differences between the sort of work that a SysAdmin would undertake in a startup versus in a big company, there are some things that make the roles similar. The biggest? Security. Keeping systems secure, ensuring that users don’t open the company up to external threats, and ensuring that data is held securely are all tasks that a SysAdmin would encounter daily no matter the size of the business. While a startup like Cosmo Tech might not be a specific target in the same way a bigger company is, the general threats that pose a risk to all users are just as dangerous and can do just as much damage.