SAGE-Au broadens conference agenda

Members will get a custom-made program at this year's annual System Administrator's Guild of Australia (SAGE-Au) conference in Hobart next month.

While tutorials cover technical topics such as Solaris performance tuning and securing Windows 2000, sessions on project management, certification, training and even computer games development will expand the program.

SAGE-Au president Andrew Hennell said, “Traditionally, the guild has focused on technical skills; however, it is branching out to include areas such as entry-level HR and conflict resolution. We hope to continue this trend and SAGE should end up with its own management stream.”

The change in focus is based on member feedback following a comprehensive survey that was undertaken at the end of last year's conference.

"This year we have fulfilled nine out of 10 requests,” Hennell said. “When SAGE-Au first began it was predominantly focused on Unix as that’s what most system administrators worked with. Now we're about 50-50 between Unix and Windows, and within Unix circles we probably have about 40 per cent who use Linux professionally.”

Hennell said the guild has no bias towards any one offering and will keep to its philosophy of “use the best tool for the job”.

“We don’t concentrate on one particular operating system and didn’t specify topics in the call for papers,” he said. “We have a good spread of content and two-thirds of the speakers are in the guild.”

In a first for the conference, government speakers are on the agenda including John Rimmer, CEO of the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE), and Keith Besgrove, also from NOIE, who will talk on the state of IT in Tasmania.

“Although we are one of the largest computer organisations in Australia with about 900 members, we have not really looked at government issues,” Hennell said.

Training will also be highlighted. “Admins don’t get enough training so we hope to emphasise its importance at the conference," Hennell said. "Admins are usually forgotten when things are going well, and are the centre of attention when something goes wrong.

“There are many levels of systems administrator, from the ‘locked to terminal’ type, to middle management, to the IT director,” he said.

Hennell said feedback from members has topped 500 with about 300 from the commercial sector, 110 from education, and 50 from government for the event which will be held in Hobart from August 4 to 8, 2003.

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