I’ve been asked this question many times. What makes a good PeopleSoft Admin? What should we be looking for when interviewing? Being an Admin myself, I thought I would write about some of my general thoughts on the topic. Of course these are only my opinions and do not fit every environment or employment scenario.
To answer the question “What makes a good PeopleSoft Admin?” you need to consider what the role of the PeopleSoft Administrator is. To me the Admin is the glue that holds together a very complex system. PeopleSoft hits every aspect of a companies technology infrastructure. Obvious ones are servers, databases, storage, and networking. There are others as well, and they continue to evolve, even mobile can now be consider a very important aspect of the IT landscape. In my opinion, to be truly strong, the Admin needs to be able to understand and interface with all the these other teams effectively and efficiently, to speak their language, per se.
Because of this, a PeopleSoft Admin is what I consider a specialized generalist. A role that should have a strong foundation in the general technology of the whole tech stack. Then the Admin specializes in PeopleSoft and it’s associated apps (Weblogic, Tuxedo, etc), and uses that broader knowledge/experience to allow the PeopleSoft system to best utilize that stack.
Having a strong understanding of networking concepts, server administration, operating system concepts and fundamentals (and I don’t mean Next, Next, Finish) is crucial. Almost every install of PeopleSoft I’ve seen relies on storage devices external to the server which adds yet another very important layer of complexity. And of course, having some kind of development experience or database skills also helps.
One obviously cannot be a master of all these things. In some organizations it’s almost impossible to even get exposure to these aspects of the environment. However, I strongly recommend having a good book on each topic on your desk and reading them (more than once). Gaining exposure to these areas as often as possible will only make a stronger Admin. Someone doesn’t have to be on the networking team to understand session stickiness / load balancing and immediately be able to spot the symptoms of it’s failure.
The PeopleSoft skills layer on top of this foundation of infrastucture skills to give administrators a real understanding of the “full picture” of the PeopleSoft environment. They are heavily relied on and provide an upper hand especially in trouble shooting scenarios.
A strong PeopleSoft Administrator can save hours and even days worth of time and labor costs, especially in production down scenarios or when compounded over time during a major upgrade for instance. Reducing delays to development teams and minimizing development environment down times keeps everyone more productive and saves real money.
My recommendation to other Admins out there? Try your best to get involved in these areas and build your skills. Read a good book, get your hands on some VM’s. Never simply say, well that’s not a PeopleSoft problem, that’s a server or storage thing. If it impacts PeopleSoft, it’s your problem too, be involved and learn from it.