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Ask HN: How to get some money on the side using my SRE and DevOps experience?
39 points by catanama 62 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments
Hi, I worked as a System Administrator and DevOps for last 10 years, but right now I experienced burnout and had to quit my job. My savings are running out but I still don't feel I'll be able to work full time without it detrimentally affecting my mental health. I was thinking about doing some tutoring and did some of that for my friends studying IT, and for my mental health it seems optimal, as I like doing it and don't feel mental strain associated with doing my job. I also wrote a Linux tutorial long ago and was thinking about doing more of this as it turns out that I really like to teach, but life and full time job interfered with those plans. For those interested my tutorial is saved here: https://archive.is/xDb8o

Please tell me if you know how I can earn some money doing Linux tutoring and maybe mentoring, maybe through some companies or communities interested in that. I have a decade of experience working with Linux, FreeBSD, computers networks, and so on and so forth up to modern things and practices like Chaos Engineering, AWS, CI/CD, Ansible and so on.

Also I might be able to do some part-time jobs with load of several hours per day, if you know where I should seek for those I'd be grateful too.

Go do something else, as this job clearly burned you out. Just because you spent a lot of time on it, it doesn't mean it's good. I'm a burned out web designer with 2 decades of experience and applied for a job as an operator for a taxi company. Why? Because I can communicate properly, I speak multiple languages, I have experience with taxi companies from a previous job I had ages ago and the best of all: It's not fucking web design. I am sure you can dig a little deeper to find a skill you can use in a completely different job! And if you don't like it after all, just leave. You need money, not a path to your retirement.

In your case, I would apply for an IT job at a primary school. Literally everything is slow-paced on primary schools (trust me, I made websites for them for 15 years) and with your experience, you'll probably be on of the most valuable assets in their team while at the same time you can enjoy school hours, long vacations, no overtime and you work with a bunch of dorks who have no clue what they're doing. You won't get burned out from telling people to right-click a page and click on 'print'. It's easy.

IMO, sysadmin and devops could be a perfect part-time or retainer type role for many smaller companies. They might need someone to help them occasionally, but not full-time. If I were you, I'd reach out to a lot of smaller (say <10 engineer) startups and present a consulting package of sorts. This could be as simple as a paragraph and bullets on things you can help them with, the hours, and your rate. You can probably source companies by looking at LinkedIn or searching for whatever tech stacks you're best on and filtering in your results from there.

Shamelessly, I've also started https://parttimetech.io/ to try to cover cases like yours where people don't want to work full time but still have very valuable skills to share. We don't have devops roles up yet, but hopefully will in the future.

The reality is human beings haven’t evolved to spend all their lives in front of computers, no matter how much you love working with them. Maybe try something else for a while completely unrelated to your career, a sabbatical etc

Running your own private discount web hosting used to be fun and lucrative, less so with AWS nowadays and it takes time to build up a customer base. Still fun though.

Short term project contracting is what got me out of my burnout. As did learning music on the side and just treating work like a day job rather than a calling.

You can also probably speak to some recruitment consultants about pitching you to companies as part time. So much work going one is bound to be happy with that.

How short is short term? 1 week? 1 month? 6 months?

Move to a vacation resort and get a customer greeting job that provides housing. Then have fun snorkeling/skiing/boating.

maybe something like codementor[0] Also for part time work, try posting in next months who wants to be hired and freelnacer posts. Say you want to do part time work, im sure you'll get alot of people needing part time help


Interview for infosec/cybersecurity roles, specially security engineering or security architect roles. Better comp, better quality of life.

I am data scientist, trying to move into Security engineering. What is the necessary background needed to get into such roles. I have a background in Statistics and not computer science. Thanks.

And can be done as a contractor, with set deliverables and timeline, so you can choose your daily workload and keep your hours low if you want.

OP: share your contact details if you want to chat.

Not the OP. But trying to break into this field and would be thankful for some assitance/advice.

Email : myhandleonhn at gmail.com


Yes, I'd like to chat, thank you. My contact is ayambit.phone at gmail.com

The cliche answer is to go backpacking in Asia and work as an English teacher.

But in general, do something that doesn't burn you out. And working with other humans in general is good for your mood. Plus if you reduce your cost of living, your savings might be enough for years of vacation.

Currently on my 2nd year living in Taiwan. I never became an English teacher but one day I came close!

The book "From Paycheck to Purpose" helped me quite a bit. I did a pivot from software engineering manager to a sales engineer role. I've set the new goal to fully transition to stand up comedian over the next few years too :-)

Work in DevSecOps....very few people have the skills to do development,security and devops

Try Udemy

Honestly, it sounds like you need to work on your work-life balance.

The issues that lead to burnout in the first place are typically boundary issues, and with many people, that often arises out of being too agreeable.

You might find a few videos by Jordan Peterson on youtube about being too agreeable and what you can do to address that.

Just because you stop working in the field doesn't mean those issues will go away. I bet you are one of those 120% all the time workers, and feel bad when you aren't doing your best.

You have to fix that.

Set aside time for you that doesn't involve anything related to computers, and use that time for you.

Find some coping mechanisms like meditation (which ironically is more about learning to still spurious thoughts than actual relaxation).

Then get back to it, learn how to communicate and handle conflict effectively so it doesn't fuck with your zen. There are a lot of shitty people out there, you can't let the bastards grind you down.

Part of that is when you interview people for a job, its two sided. You interview them just as much as they interview you.

Things like vacation, on-call rotation, overtime, inventions agreements, and potential environment and resources available to you if you were to be hired are all potential walkaways. You should know about conditional agreements.

Positions with certain phrases have hidden meanings. Find the red flags and practice walking away.

There is nothing more empowering than walking away from a situation you know is bad. If they try to be abusive (i.e. you request a reasonable time to review legal agreements they want you to sign, and they rescind the offer immediately). The proper response is: The offer and conditional acceptance is mutually rescinded.

There are two books by Patterson I found immensely helpful. Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Accountability.

Hopefully that provides some direction.

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