LDC: Teaching Computing Lab

Even as hooked on Competitive Programming as I was, at almost the same time I started training, I joined the Teaching Computing Lab of the USB (Laboratorio Docente de Computación or LDC). The unknown was calling for me everywhere I looked. It was my first trimester studying real computer science, and I got the opportunity to learn about networks and system administration here. I took it.

IT Support and homework

This organization is in charge of managing the Department of Computing and IT entire network. Inside this network, most of the CS undergrad and postgraduate studies is managed. Professors have their personal sites there, accounts for using services like the printers, email, storage and so on.

As a newbie there, you’re not ready to handle all that; instead, you get homework to stay learning progressively, while in the meantime solving IT issues of students and faculty alike. Sometimes requests are easy, like installing an OS, or installing something, while other times it’s about fixing a printer (God I hate printers).

What you learn about

The LDC is in charge of several basic and not-so-basic services, like:

  • Mail (IMAP, SMTP)
  • NFS
  • LDAP
  • Databases (Postgres, MySQL… )
  • Logwatchers
  • Backups (Bacula, Amanda…)
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • SSH

In some way or another, you end up learning anything from regular expressions as life savers, package managers, the OSI model, sniffing the network and just being good at getting your hands dirty in the console.

I’ve completed several “tareas” (homework about a specific topic), but due to rules of the LDC, I can’t post them here yet. Someday I will post them somewhere. I was a pain to find some solutions to the problems and questions there, I’d like to make it easier for others to move on faster to higher topics.