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[ale] Let's draft a support personnel competency test! [was: A vent and whine - ignore with dignity]

On Mon, 2010-06-21 at 13:30 -0400, Richard Bronosky wrote:
> I would like to draft a list of ~5-10 questions that could be used to
> pre-screen (like you would to a job applicant) your support
> technician. If they fail, you say "I'm sorry but you do not appear to
> be qualified to handle my support requirements, please transfer me to
> the next tier of support." I don't know how well it would work, but it
> would be a fun exercise. We just may end up creating a new meme in the
> process.
> Here is my v0.1 draft:
> 1. An IPv4 address is composed of how many octets?
> 2. The OSI model is composed of how many layers? Name them.

I would expect most people to fail this one.  I expect people to know
that there are 7 layers, not what every single one of them does... most
people are too far removed from that model to reliably be able to recall
it anyway.

> 3. What purpose does an ARP table serve?
> 4. How many runlevels are there in conventional "system five"? What
> does zero do? What does six do?

Doesn't say yay or nay on terms of network support.  Keep the questions
platform-neutral and OS-neutral.

> 5. How do you identify and bounce a network interface in a POSIX-like
> OS without rebooting? 

Same as for #4.  I would expect 100% of tier-1 and tier-2 technicians to
fail this test unless they include UNIX or POSIX (or UNIX-like or
POSIX-like) system support in their realm.


1.  What is an IPv4 address, and how many octets does it have?
2.  What is,, and
3.  What do the ping and traceroute tools do?
4.  What is the purpose of a routing table, and what happens when it's
    broken or missing entries?
5.  In addition to the Web, what sorts of services does the Internet
    house?  [Because most stupid people think the Web *IS* the 
    Internet, maybe this should be #1.]

	--- Mike