One of my team members recently said that he was looking forward to the day when everything runs in the cloud so he no longer has to do sysadmin work. He said this at a time when he was configuring some VMs to create a test environment for our large enterprise application. I didn't think much of it at the time, mostly because this guy is a really good sysadmin and the configuration was a little bit of a time sink but didn't really get in our way.
I started thinking about his comments more when a member of someone else's team ran into a driver problem. He went from "it's not working right" to "I may have to reformat the box" in less than a half a cup of coffee. This led me to thinking about some of the other teams and how they worked for more than 2 years using only a shared environment because no one felt comfortable enough with setting up individual environments. To be fair, our environment isn't exactly trivial. We have a mix of IIS web services, Tibco EMS, Oracle, and Active Directory. At the same time, there's nothing really exotic in there. These are not only standard technologies, but every one of them can be downloaded as a trial version online.
Driving home last night I realized that I wish every developer had basic to mid-level sysadmin experience. The ability to not only set up environments from scratch, but to troubleshoot (in a logical way . . . one that doesn't start with, "Well, gotta set it on fire first.") and fix problems. This skill also helps in a corporate environment since you'll either have to work within the network bounds, work around the network limitations, or both. That ability only comes from understanding how things really work.
Being a Big Swinging Developer is all about being valuable in whatever environment you're placed. If you have some sysadmin tools in your toolbox, you never have to be the one sidelined by what turns out to be a speed bump rather than a true block.