Questions from Readers! [The Jira Guy]

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Happy Wednesday, Jira Guys and Gals! It's been...a week. So - if you tuned into the live recording session for The Jira Life, you may have seen my internet periodically cutting out. Well, that kept getting worse and worse until, on Monday, I was down to this.


The problem ended up being half Xfinity. Something was wrong on their end - but all the "on and off" meant my router - described as some measure of both abused and old - was starting to show over the years. So even after they "fixed the issue" on Saturday, we still saw issues. The worse part is I could not be sure it was our router or Xfinity - I know the aggregate switch was good - I could maintain transfers to systems on that switch even through internet outages, so I isolated the problem that far.

All that leads to yesterday morning, when the internet finally gave out entirely. I switched out to the wan2 port for troubleshooting's sake, and the internet came back online, albeit intermittently. Back to wan1, it was entirely dead. Well, that sucks, but it's new router time. I installed that yesterday afternoon, and after a bit of settling time - the internet has remained up since.  

But yeah, knowing I have customers pinging me, working, waiting, and I cannot do anything until I get this resolved - and not being able to diagnose or resolve it was frustrating.

What helped was a pair of reader emails that came in last week - on the same day, as it happens. Unfortunately, I don't have permission to share the emails themselves, but they helped when I felt useless. 

The questions boiled down to the following:

  • I'm a non-technical person - where can I go to learn Jira?
  • I know Jira, but I'm still early in my career and have only managed relatively small instances. How do I make the jump when companies require experience with larger instances?
  • How best do I show "I know Jira"?
  • How do I refine my resume or optimize my application to roles?

All great questions that - being completely honest here - I don't know if I'm qualified enough to answer them! But I'll give my honest opinions where applicable and invite the community to give their feedback and answers! So, let's dig into this!

Where can I learn Jira?

I will say this: The best way to learn Jira is to use and manage Jira. It used to be not long ago that to use Jira, you'd be expected to have some technical skills, as Jira Cloud was too immature, so you'd be expected to stand up and run Jira Server (or Data Center). That's not the case anymore. Jira Software on the Cloud is free for groups under ten users and includes Jira Work Management. Or you can get a 3-agent Jira Service Management instance to learn that product.  

Still, many of the technical guides assume some technical proficiency - some of mine included! However, one content creator is bucking that trend - especially as his content has always been Cloud-first. I'm, of course, talking about my colleague and friend Alex at Apetech Tech Tutorials. If you want to go further, he's offering paid classes, which I have yet to consider doing, so he's a great resource if you are looking for more. 

Another resource I cannot recommend highly enough to learn Atlassian tools is, well, Atlassian. Atlassian University is the company's user and admin learning site and has a massive amount of free learning available to people learning how to use the tools. I've taken a few courses from them, especially early in my career, particularly focused on Workflow setup and configuration, reporting using the built-in tools, and how to prepare for the ACP exams. 

How do I get experience with larger instances when all the companies first require experience with larger instances?

I've always disliked job requirements like this. I'll give you - the problems you face with a large instance are ENTIRELY different than those you face with a smaller instance; this is the classic "entry-level job" problem. How is a job "entry-level" when it requires you already have experience?  

Unfortunately, I'm seeing a lot of requirement creep in job postings. More and more, I see job postings with either a "like to have" or "requirement" to not only have Atlassian tool experience but experience in the company's specific industry. And to a point, I get it. Every industry is slightly bit different. But you know what's not different in all of these? Jira.  

Unfortunately, this isn't a problem I've had to deal with - my first Jira instance was already considered "large" for its time, so I never had to prove I could work on a larger instance. For this reason, I keep general stats on the instances I've worked on.  

My advice: Ignore the requirement. No, seriously, apply anyways. Let your work show for you, answer the questions as best you can, and if they throw out the application of a skilled Jira admin for such a small issue, you want to work elsewhere. Job Requirement creep is so bad that if you can meet 9 out of 10 requirements, that's usually good enough.  

How best do I show "I know Jira"?

This question is one I'm hoping I get some community help with because I don't know if my answer will work for anyone else.

No, seriously, this blog was my answer to this very question. I was doing my job hunt and wanted to show I knew Jira. Nearly four years later (wow...4 years is coming up already?), here we are.

That being said, will this approach work for everyone? This situation is one reason I encourage employers to test potential Jira Admins by having them use Jira. The best way to see if someone knows Jira is to have them Jira. 

How do I refine my resume or optimize my application to roles?

Numbers. Numbers everywhere. No, from what I've been told, you should include numbers as often as possible and have them tell a story. Did you move a Jira instance? How many users did it support? How many issues did it have? Did you drive adoption? What percentage of the company was using it, and what percentage when you finished the drive? Improve uptime? What was the final uptime percentage? Have the number tell your potential employers how you made life better for your users.  

Ultimately, that's what it all boils down to. Jira, without an expert hand to guide it, gets bad fast. The idea here is to convince your potential employer that you are that expert hand - and the best place to do that is to talk about what you've done at previous jobs. Is this advice foolproof? No. But it helps. 

So, what do you think?

How do you promote yourself to a job? What do you do to show "what you know"? Who are you learning from? I want to hear all of this!

You can find my social media on Linktree. Please be sure to follow, like, comment, and share the posts; it does help out!

In speaking of helping out, have you been listening to the Jira Life? This new podcast from Alex and me record live on Youtube every Thursday at 5 PM eastern/2 PM Pacific. We invite you to join the other lifers and talk with us as we talk about all things Atlassian. Can't catch us live? You can watch past broadcasts on YouTube or catch the podcast wherever you get yours. 

But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, "Have you updated your Jira issues today?"

1 comment

Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
June 28, 2023

@Rodney Nissen - ReleaseTEAM You should know that .. The best place to learn from is of course .. Atlassian Community! :) ..

Solving real problem that people have is the best way to dive into the details of specific system. I personally started with this almost 15years ago, no courses, no tutorials, no more experienced colleague.. My first instance was very large 50k users and not only Jira but other Atlassian tools connected to each other. I had to deal with many problems on my own and this was very good for me. The over the years I transfer that knowledge and I am happy and proud now that many after that many started own journey with Atlassian and after few years become experts too!

My advice: Be curious! .. Learn how things works going deeper than it is required, find answers that are not obvious and try things out OOTB first then look for extensions.

And remember.. Everything is possible in JIRA.. it is only a matter of time.. and money (of course) :)

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