Support Engineer Bootcamp Checklist

Bootcamp Checklist for Training of New Support Engineers

Your manager should create an issue with this checklist on the support team issue tracker for you as part of your onboarding. This list looks strange in this handbook because it is formatted to be copy-pasted into an issue and then render properly there.

The topics are generally ordered by priority in which they need to be tackled, but feel free to work on later things in the list when you are waiting on something.

We need to keep iterating on this checklist so please submit MR's for any improvements
that you can think of. The file is located in [`source/handbook/support/onboarding/checklist/`]( in the [www-gitlab-com]( project. If an item does not start with a role or name of someone else, it's yours to do.

**Goal of this entire checklist:** Set a clear path for Support Engineer training

### Stage 0: Complete general onboarding to have all necessary accounts and permissions

- [ ] **Done with Stage 0**

_Typically completed within first week_

1. [ ] General expectations: it is expected that you will _start_ to tackle Stages 0, 1, 2, and 3 as early as your first week, but you are not expected to complete all items for some number of weeks. We believe that you often learn best and fastest by diving into (relatively easy) tickets, and learning by doing. However, this has to be balanced with making time to learn some of the tougher topics. The expectation is therefore that you are sufficiently advanced in your onboarding by the end of your first week, that you can answer 2-5 "simple" tickets. Over the following weeks, your manager will set higher targets for the number and difficulty of tickets to be tackled, but you should always have about 2-3 hrs per day to spend on working through this bootcamp. Some days it will be less, some days it will be more, depending on ticket load and how deep "in the zone" you are in either the bootcamp or the tickets you are responding to; but an average of 2-3 hrs per day should allow you to complete everything through to the end of Stage 6 within about four weeks.
1. [ ] General Onboarding Checklist: this should have been created for you on [the People Ops issue tracker]( when you were hired.
   1. [ ] Finish every item on that list starting with `New team member:` until you are waiting for someone to answer a question or do something before you can continue that list.
   1. [ ] Start with Stage 1 here, but also with the first steps in Stage 2 and Stage 3.
   1. [ ] Check back daily on what was blocking you on your General Onboarding Checklist until that list is completely done, then focus on this one.

### Stage 1: Become familiar with git and GitLab basics

- [ ] **Done with Stage 1**

_Typically started in first week, completed by end of second week_

If you are already comfortable with using Git and GitLab and you will be able to
retain a good amount of information by just reading and watching through, that is
okay. But if you see a topic that is completely new to you, stop the video and try
it out for yourself before continuing.

1. [ ] Let your manager know you're ready to be assigned a trainer.
1. [ ] Just quickly check on your Zendesk account to make sure that is ready for you when you need it.
1. [ ] Add a [profile picture]( to your Zendesk account
1. [ ] Let your manager know if for some reason you were not able to create an account on Zendesk.
1. [ ] Under your profile on Zendesk, it should read `Agent`. If it reads `Light Agent`, inform your manager.
1. [ ] Get familiar with our [support workflows](
1. [ ] Sentry [(used for `500` errors)](
   1. [ ] Log into [Sentry]( and
   choose **"Sign in with GitLab"**.
   1. [ ] View the [teams](
   and select **"Join existing team"**. Then **Request access** to all the teams.

Cover these topics on the [GitLab University](

1. [ ] Under the topic of Git
  1. [ ] [About Version Control](
  1. [ ] [Try Git](
1. [ ] Under the topic of GitLab Basics
  1. [ ] All the [GitLab Basics]( that you don't feel comfortable with. If you get stuck, see the linked videos under GLB in GitLab University
  1. [ ] [GitLab Flow](
  1. [ ] Take a look at how the different GitLab versions [compare](
1. [ ] Any of these that you don't feel comfortable with in the [user training]( we use for our customers.
  1. [ ] ``
  1. [ ] ``
  1. [ ] ``
  1. [ ] ``
  1. [ ] ``
  1. [ ] For the rest of the topics in `user training`, just do a quick read over the file names so you start remembering where to find them.
1. [ ] Get familiar with the services GitLab offers
  1. [ ] The differences between [CE and EE](
  1. [ ] [GitHost](

### Stage 2. Installation and Administration basics.

- [ ] **Done with Stage 2**

_Typically started in first week, completed by end of third week_


- Get your development machine set up.
- Familiarize yourself with the codebase
- Be prepared to reproduce issues that our users encounter.
- Be comfortable with the different installation options of GitLab
  and configure LDAP.
- Have an installation available for reproducing customer bug reports.

1. [ ] Check back on your Zendesk account if you are not yet an `Agent`.
1. [ ] Manager: Add team member to to the `GitLab Support` Google Calendar.

**Set up your development machine**

1. [ ] Install the [GDK](
1. [ ] Add [OpenLDAP]( to your GDK installation.


You will keep one installation continually updated on Digital Ocean (managed through terraform), just like many of our clients. But you need to choose where you would like to test other installations. TODO: We need to list some benefits of each choice here.

1. [ ] Manager: Add new team member to the [dev-resources]( project.
1. [ ] Use terraform to create a new test instance.
    1. [ ] Clone the dev-resources project.
    1. [ ] Read up on [how to create a new instance](
    1. [ ] Create a new file and name it `<your-full-name>.tf` in a new branch. You can copy another team member's file and modify it or you can create your own from scratch. If you have any issues or questions ask in the #support channel.
    1. [ ] After you've created it, open up a merge request and if the tests pass then merge it.
1. [ ] Set up your [test environments](
1. [ ] Choose your preferred test environment between Local VM's or Digital Ocean and put it in a comment below.

Installation from source is not common but will give you a greater understanding of the components that we employ and how everything fits together.

1. [ ] Perform each of the following [Installation Methods]( on your preferred test environment you chose above:
  1. [ ] Install via [Omnibus](
  1. [ ] Populate with some test data: User account, Project, Issue
  1. [ ] Backup using our [Backup rake task](
  1. [ ] Install via [Docker](
  1. [ ] Restore backup to your Docker VM using our [Restore rake task](
  1. [ ] Version 7 from [Source](
1. [ ] As a part of your general onboarding checklist, you should have been given access to Digital Ocean, create a droplet for yourself, where you can install and maintain your own instance of GitLab
  1. [ ] Install via [Omnibus](
  1. [ ] Populate with some test data
    1. [ ] Populated Repos
    1. [ ] Users
    1. [ ] Groups
    1. [ ] Projects
    1. [ ] You can check this box but this one never stops as long as you are a Support Engineer for GitLab. Keep this installation up-to-date as patch and version releases become available, just like our customers would.
1. [ ] Ask as many questions as you can think of on the `#support` chat channel

### Stage 3. Customer Interaction through Zendesk

- [ ] **Done with Stage 3**

_Typically started in first week, and completed by the end of the fourth week_


- Have a good understanding of ticket flow through Zendesk and how to interact with our various channels
- See some common issues that our customers are facing and how to resolve them.

**Initial Zendesk training**

1. [ ] Complete Zendesk Agent training (allow 40 minutes for completion)
  1. Navigate to [Zendesk university]( and order the **"Agents: Zendesk Fundamentals Online"** course
     1. Add the **"Agents: Zendesk Fundamentals Online"** course to your cart and click "Proceed to Checkout"
     1. Follow the prompts and finalize your order.
     1. You'll receive an email with information on accessing the Zendesk course
  1. Proceed to complete the **"Agents: Zendesk Fundamentals Online"** course
1. [ ] Review additional Zendesk resources
  1. [ ] [UI Overview](
  1. [ ] [Updating Tickets](
  1. [ ] [Working w/ Tickets]( *Read: avoiding agent collision.*

**Learn about the Support process**

Zendesk is our Support Centre and our main communication line with our customers. We communicate with customers through several other channels too, see the support handbook for the full list.

1. [ ] Ask different people in your team if they would be willing to do a 45 minute pairing session with you as they answer tickets on Zendesk, thinking out loud as much as they can and answering your questions. Continue with the rest of the list while you wait for these to get scheduled. [Create an issue in the support issue tracker]( (use the "Ticket Pairing" template) and make comments and notes in the issue about the tickets you solve and the things you learn.
  1. [ ] call with ___
  1. [ ] call with ___
  1. [ ] call with ___
  1. [ ] call with ___
  1. [ ] call with ___
1. [ ] Dive into our ZenDesk support process by reading how to [handle tickets](
1. [ ] Learn about the [hot queue](
1. [ ] Start getting real world experience by handling real tickets, all the while gaining further experience with the Product.
   1. [ ] First, learn about our [Support Channels](
    1. [ ] Start with [StackOverflow]( and the [GitLab forum]( Work with the Community Advocacy team (see their chat channel) to make sure you are not duplicating efforts.
      1. Here you will find a large variety of queries mainly from our Users who are self hosting GitLab CE
      1. [ ] Answer one by understanding a question dig in to try to find a solution
  1. [ ] [Proceed on to the Support Tracker](
     1. Here you will find queries regarding our own
     1. [ ] Find a user you can help and help them, this will give you an understanding of our Admin interface and other tools
  1. [ ] [Proceed on to Regular email Support tickets](
     1. Here you will find tickets from our GitLab EE Customers and GitLab CE Users
     1. Tickets here are extremely varied and often very technical
     1. You should be prepared for these tickets, given the knowledge gained from previous tiers and your training
1. [ ] Check out your colleagues' responses
   1. [ ] Hop on to the #support-live-feed channel in Slack and see the tickets as they come in and are updated
   1. [ ] Read through about 20 old tickets that your colleagues have worked on and their responses

**Learn about the Escalation process for Issues**

Some tickets need specific knowledge or a deep understanding of a particular component and will need to be escalated to a Senior Support Engineer or Developer

1. [ ] Read about [creating issues and issue prioritazion](
1. [ ] Take a look at the [ Team page]( to find the resident experts in their fields

**Learn about raising issues and fielding feature proposals**

1. [ ] Understand what's in the pipeline and proposed features at GitLab: [Direction Page](
1. [ ] Practice searching issues and filtering using [labels]( to find existing feature proposals and bugs
1. [ ] If raising a new issue always provide a relevant label and a link to the relevant ticket in Zendesk
1. [ ] Add [customer labels]( for those issues relevant to our subscribers
1. [ ] Take a look at the [existing issue templates]( to see what is expected
1. [ ] Raise issues for bugs in a manner that would make the issue easily reproducible. A Developer or a contributor may work on your issue.
1. [ ] Schedule a 45 minute call with your trainer where you share your screen
with them while you answer tickets on Zendesk, they give you feedback and answer
your questions. The goal with this call is for your trainer to pass on tactical
knowledge about the ticket handling process. Repeat this step a few times if that seems useful.

### Congratulations. You now have your Zendesk Wings!

### From now on you can spend most of your work time answering tickets on Zendesk, try to set aside 2 hours per day to make it through **Stage 4-6** of this list. Never hesitate to ask as many questions as you can think of on the `#support` chat channel

### Stage 4. Customer Calls

- [ ] **Done with Stage 4**

_Typically start this in week 2 or 3, complete by end of week 4._

**Goal** Gain experience in scheduling and participating in calls with customers.

Look at the `GitLab Support` Google Calendar to find customer calls you can listen in on. Contact the person leading the call to check if it is okay for you to jump in on the call, and if they could stay on with you for a few minutes after the call, for you to ask them a few questions about things you didn't understand, and them to ask you a few questions to make sure you understood the items they want you to take away.

1. [ ] Manager: make sure that the new team member has a "Pro" account within the GitLab team account on [](
1. [ ] Start arranging to pair on calls with other Support Engineers. Aim to cover two of each type of call. Comment on this issue with the type of call you were in, who it was with, and the link to the relevant ticket (if one exists)
   1. [ ] [Learn about Cisco WebEx](
   1. [ ] Information gathering calls and diagnosis calls
     1. It's good to find out how new and prospective customers are going to be using the product and how they will set up their infrastructure
     1. When email isn't enough we may need to hop on a call and do some debugging along side the customer
     1. These paired calls are a great learning experience
     1. [ ] call with ___
     1. [ ] call with ___
     1. [ ] call with ___
  1. [ ] Upgrade calls
     1. [ ] call with ___
     1. [ ] call with ___

### Stage 5. Gathering Diagnostics

- [ ] **Done with Stage 5**

_Typically do this around the third week._

**Goal** Understand the gathering of diagnostics for GitLab instances

1. [ ] Learn about the GitLab checks that are available
    1. [ ] [Environment Information and maintenance checks](
    1. [ ] [GitLab check](
    1. [ ] Omnibus commands
        1. [ ] [Status](
        1. [ ] [Starting and stopping services](
        1. [ ] [Starting a rails console](
1. [ ] Ping the Support Lead to provide you admin access to, so that you can resolve user issues there. Create an admin user account for this purpose.

### Stage 6. On Call Duty

- [ ] **Done with Stage 6**

_Typically to be completed by the end of the first month._

**Goal** Aim to become a fully-fledged Support Engineer!

1. [ ] Read about on-call duty, in [the handbook]( On that page, the
**Customer Emergency On-Call Rotation** section applies to Support Engineers, not the **Production Team** section.
1. [ ] Schedule time with a Senior Support Engineer, to have them show you how to respond to Customer Emergencies.
1. [ ] Ping the Support Lead to add you to PagerDuty, and familiarize yourself with the interface and the functionality.
1. [ ] Sign up on PagerDuty with the link that will be emailed to you, and install the app on your phone.

### Stage 7. Optional Advanced GitLab Topics

Discuss with your training manager if you should stop here and close your issue
or continue. Also discuss which of the advanced topics should be followed. Do
not just do all of them as they might not be relevant to what customers need
right now and can be a significant time investment.

These are some of GitLab's more advanced features. You can make use of to understand the features from an end-user perspective and then use
your own instance to understand setup and configuration of the feature from an
Administrative perspective

- [ ] Set up and try [Git Annex](
- [ ] Set up and try [Git LFS](
- [ ] Get to know the [GitLab API](, its capabilities and shortcomings
- [ ] Learn how to [migrate from SVN to Git](
- [ ] Set up [GitLab CI](
- [ ] Create your first [GitLab Page](
- [ ] Get familiar with the GitLab source code by finding the differences
between the [EE codebase]( and the [CE codebase](