managed services vs. in-house support/sys admin offer advice

thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi techexams,

Some of you may remember me from a few months back. I have a couple offers and need some advice. i moved to a new city, so we will see how it goes (toronto!)..

im a recent grad from a network admin program (end of 2013). 6 months of post-grad experience as a sys admin (linux/apple env, and other was a work-term in a microsoft env. i am neutral to microsoft/linux. but i enjoy linux. it would be nice to learn deployments and architecture eventually, something i think i could only get from an MSP? anyway, before the program, i have 1.5 years of IT helpdesk and events part-time. so altogether, about 2 years of partial full-time exp.

the positions below are on the support side, but there should be sys admin work involved as well (which is what im looking for). im not a huge fan of support side, but i can tolerate it.

1) The first position is for in-house IT in the finance sector. it is mainly microsoft shop, with multiple branch offices in this area, and just two people on IT team (including me). i was told there is good opportunity for mentorship, and the last guy im replacing was there for something like 5 years. salary is mid 40s+benefits. advantage could be get to work with it manager on projects. (offer received). position is 'support analyst'. is it okay to ask if i could be called sys admin with such a small team?

2) second position is with an msp for small to medium businesses. id be 1-st level support answering phones, remoting in etc. salary is mid thirties, to 40, with no benefits. (no offer yet).

I feel these positions are more support oriented, perhaps with an exception of #1 which could allow me to work on building some other skills. I have been told i have good comm. and people skills. what do you guys think is the best for me?? I love learning about system administration and working on that.

my ideal place would be a data centre cuz that seems interesting, but i guess its hard to get into. im linux+, network+, and MCSA certified.

thanks!

p.s.there is no overtime for #1...time off in lieu of hours.

Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Usually I'm a much bigger fan of working for companies where technology is the business (MSP, ISP, technology companies etc.), but in this instance I'd probably go #1. Not a big fan of answering phones on the front line.
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  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    Ahh this is a great question... I've worked in retail IT, corporate desktop support, managed services, and now I work for a big tech company in enterprise storage. I recently just left managed services and I’ll tell you why. Obviously everyone has their own opinions so take it all with a grain of salt.

    Working for an MSP


    Diversity! – Cannot stress it enough. You will get to touch LOTS of different technology


    Culture – Since the business is IT and managed services, you have a lot more respect and ‘prestige’ than you would if you were the ‘IT guy’ for a company that’s business isn’t IT.

    Work Life Balance – This is not easy to speculate. But generally speaking working for an MSP can be madness sometimes and long hours with rotational on-call schedules are pretty typical. I’ve personally dedicated lots of hours of my weekends to on-call so it’s something to really think about.

    High Stress and Pressure – Once again, not all cases but most of what I’ve seen. Since you’re working directly with clients anything you do or say is directly representing the company and one wrong move can lose a client for life. Therefore I can say that working for an MSP is all around a lot more stressful than being the in-house guy.


    Compensation– Now obviously it depends on the company once again. But generally speaking from what I’ve seen – small ISPs don’t always pay as much as large corporations would. Reason being is people hire MSPs to save money--for the most part. And working for a small MSP that supports small to medium business, you’re going to see an income cap and growth cap a lot earlier than at a large corporation—that is if you don’t become a manager, etc..

    Lastly on a personal note—being that I worked in an MSP I can tell you that if you’re working L1 Helpdesk—mostly likely you will not get to dive very deep into many technologies. Most of the helpdesk guys I knew performed basic AD account administration, SOME EMC administration (on a rainy day) and for the most part performed troubleshooting on laptops, desktops, and software. Anything above that got sent straight to the team I worked on.

    Personally I think compensations wise and experience wise you may want to go with option 1. Use the extra money you make there to study different certifications and keep your skills sharp. Network yourself with others and learn all the technology you can while you’re there. I also wouldn’t ask to change the title that would strike me as a weird question. Titles honestly don’t mean much in IT, it’s the experience behind the title that matters. Just my 0.02..
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008
    Tough to say.
    #1 seems like you could be overworked. IT staff of 2 people for multiple sites throughout the city doesn't sound like you have a lot of time for mentorship. Plus the finance/banking sector can be very demanding of your time. If some client is having an issue with a system at 3am and the manager in charge of that client is having an issue using the VPN, guess who gets a call? But you might be able to learn a lot of different skill sets at once. Working with an IT manager for projects doesn't sound like a plus for me. Depends on the size of the company.

    #2 seems like it'd be pretty boring, but you might have more upward technology potential. Depends on the size of the company. If they're too small/clients too small they might not be involved in enough different technologies for you to care at the end of the day.
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  • VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    I would recommend going with the in house IT job. I worked in a 2 man shop at one point and it was really cool. I was actually included on a lot of decisions regarding IT projects for the organization. Keep in mind its just you and this other guy, so if he has a personality that you might clash with then it could be worse than answering phones all day.
  • thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
    hey guys, thanks so much for the advice...

    - im super confused about what to pick. the team fit seemed good at the msp (had the second interview yesterday and met three of the people there), but they will make an offer likely tomorrow. i got along well with everyone i met, they were all pretty nice. the team is small, i think about 10 people if that, so they said when there is down time, i'd get to work on projects with them.

    - tomorrow is wednesday..annnd....the finance company needs to know today because i would start tomorrow!

    - im thinking to push the msp for an offer sooner, as i dont have much choice...at least so i know what exactly is on the table.

    - i actually already asked the in-house finance, if instead of support analyst, they'd give me a title of jr.system admin. they agreed.

    the reason i asked is because i dont want to get pigeonholed into helpdesk/support positions, as that has happened to me in my last few positions. its like as soon as companies see helpdesk on my resume they think 'oh this guy is for support' and ignore the network admin program i did. i know i have to pay my dues, that is cool.

    - one last tidbit, there MIGHT be one office i have to fly to, for the finance company. and i really hate flying...

    thanks for all the advice. this is a tough decision. the advantage i thought of going the msp route was that i'd get to do installs and stuff, but since they are a small company, im starting to think i'd likely not get a chance for that as i think they have techs for that, and im probably more likely to do that in the finance company.

    - someone echoed that working with a possible personality clash with the in-house IT manager, and this is also something i thought about. but in the interview, the guy seemed pretty easygoing and friendly. also as i mentioned, he gave the last guy a very nice genuine recommendation on linkedin. but again, who knows maybe they were just a perfect fit, and this is speculation on my part.

    thanks to everyone for helping me out, super appreciate it.
  • thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
    also, the msp, i know from the posting, the following duties tasks is what is mentioned in the job posting:

    - autotask
    - labtech for rmm i think
    - lenovo
    - kaseya, n-able
    - vmware apparently
    - windows server

    i tried to ask the split between client vs. server maintenance, sounded like a 60/40 split.

    here is a summed up descrip:

    - install apps, patches/updates, network maintenance using labtech IT automation
    - on-site installations, service, and perform repairs to user-end devices, servers, peripherals, UTMs
    - root cause and resolve issues with customers on-site, telephone, remote support
    - log manage 100% of time using tracking/timing
    - regularly scheduled maintenance on windows and mac comps
    - config and maintenance in vmware vsphere
    - config and maintenance in cpanel

    - skills req'd:
    - access to car for onsite service calls
    - supporting xp/7/8, hardware troubleshooting, windows server 2008/2012, ad
    - config of business grade network equip
    - drive imaging, data recovery software, it automation software, helpdesk software


    - working collab within a team env a must.


    AND, the finance company:

    - provide tech assistance day-to-day needs. work on special projects, network admin stuff. report directly to cfo and it manager.
    - reliable, avaiable work all hours. ability to drive (some drives are far)
    - customize laptop builds, images. install coordinate, oversee installation, upgrading, repair of hardware, software
    - technical and fxnl support to internal clients: os,apps, webapps.
    - deploy, manage mobile devs. escalate issues.

    - basic knowledge of AD 2008R2/2012. MS exchange 2010 admin duties. undertanding tcp/ip. windows admin stuff like access perms, shares, file servers.
    - occasional on-site troubleshooting.
    - understanding remote desktop services (they are using thin clients).

    - they only just recently implemented a ticketing system. im not sure what that says, but i was kind of surprised when the it manager said they only did it recently...
  • thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
    guys, i just got another contact from an HR guy at a BIG company (pharmacy) for technical support...oh man, now i really dont know what to do

    because ive given a tentative yes to the finance one...
  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    Okay... A few things that stick out here..

    - The finance company really wants to pull the trigger and get rolling--as most companies would. You really do need to make a decision today and pushing the MSP to extend an offer is a probably not going to get you far. Companies extend YOU offers not vice versa.

    - You got them to change the title to Jr. Systems Admin?? They must really like you. Honestly changing your title isn't going to save you from being helpdesk or support. In a lot of cases I've seen Jr. Systems Admins that are literally helpdesk. Besides this.. Everyone has to start somewhere and 6 months of post-grad experience doesn't make your anything more entry-level. The title also isn't what matters, it's the experience.

    - Lastly MSP is small you mentioned 10 people. What really stuck out to me--and is something you probably haven't thought of is driving.. When I worked for an MSP I made it clear that I would get a company car or I wouldn't take the position. Putting wear and tear on my personal vehicle was not worth the raise. Plus depending on where you live--they may not even legally have to reimburse you and will just tell you to write it off on your taxes at the end of the year.

    It took me a couple months to get my company car and I had put a couple thousand miles on my car at that point and got terrible reimbursement. I would be careful of this is they really do expect you to travel.
  • thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
    hey tkerber,

    thanks for the advice man, i really appreciate. yeah, i guess they do like me, which does feel good.

    however, we now have a third variable from out of nowhere. that is the big company (health retailer across canada) asked me to come in for an interview TOMORROW!

    the pay-grade is WAY higher (didn't think i'd be in that range for awhile)...here's some of the tech req's duties..

    - building, maintain, schedule usage of IT infrastructure for non-production environments
    - review build docs, activity planning, technical tasks for assigned projects
    - troubleshoot, analyze, identify issues/problems, develop resolution plans
    - support QA teams during tests
    - provide project status updates to the PM
    - setup manage user access

    - experience in linux, aix, server 2008, vmware, ibm middleware, oracle, db2, network and middleware, excellent troubleshooting skills in a complex technical environment
    - working knowledge office, visio, etc


    they are willing to train, and looking more for fit............. they want to interview tomorrow at 3pm
  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    thekid007 wrote: »
    hey tkerber,

    thanks for the advice man, i really appreciate. yeah, i guess they do like me, which does feel good.

    however, we now have a third variable from out of nowhere. that is the big company (health retailer across canada) asked me to come in for an interview TOMORROW!

    the pay-grade is WAY higher (didn't think i'd be in that range for awhile)...here's some of the tech req's duties..

    - building, maintain, schedule usage of IT infrastructure for non-production environments
    - review build docs, activity planning, technical tasks for assigned projects
    - troubleshoot, analyze, identify issues/problems, develop resolution plans
    - support QA teams during tests
    - provide project status updates to the PM
    - setup manage user access

    - experience in linux, aix, server 2008, vmware, ibm middleware, oracle, db2, network and middleware, excellent troubleshooting skills in a complex technical environment
    - working knowledge office, visio, etc


    they are willing to train, and looking more for fit............. they want to interview tomorrow at 3pm


    I've concluded that I should move to Canada... For various reason icon_wink.gif
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008
    The finance company wants an answer. So you have to tell them yes or no. Understand that no because you have another interview process is a big risk. It could be another month before you know anything from the healthcare company.

    If the MSP is your 1st choice, it won't hurt to call and say you have an offer from somewhere else so you need to know about the position today or you're going to take the other one.
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  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008
    Do you even come close to meeting the requirements of the healthcare company? Looks like they want AIX/nix/oracle/websphere, etc skills.
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  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The title of you position doesn't matter. it's the tasks you take care of that matter, so you shouldn't stress the title name.

    I personally would choose #1, but I more than likely have different reasons for why i'd do that. I prefer to be internal IT(not a fan of MSPs, and i've worked at one), i like the financial services sector, and I will 99% of the time choose the job with more pay + bennies. The size of the IT team at the financial firm might be small, but there might be a ton of projects to do, and dealing with different technologies for those projects. I also think it'll be a JOAT role rather than strictly helpdesk at the MSP you described.

    You also stated that you haven't received an offer from the MSP, so you can't automatically count that you've got the job. If you like what you've seen from the financial firm, you should accept. I would also try to interview @ the pharma company you mentioned if you like the role. There's no harm in going in for that interview, or leaving the financial firm if you get either the pharma offer, or MSP offer...it happens all the time. You wont be the first nor the last to do this. just thank them for the opportunity, but you received an offer that you didnt think you would get, that better aligns with your career goals...you know, the usual bs pplz say in that situation...
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  • thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
    hey guys, thanks for all the advice.

    here's an update

    1) Managed service - 42600 k (initial offer was 38,1k! i asked for 42,6k, they agreed). no benefits however. but the team seems really really cool. or they are sweet talking me :P

    2) finance company - 45k with benefits. lots of pressure from recruiter right now. i said sorry man. i need more time. i think it is fair as i never signed the contract, nor was given much time to make a decision. but my fault for verbally accepting. i understand why they are pissed. but the actual HR of the actual finance company was cool with my request for extra time to t. which is really cool.

    3) pharmacare interview is TODAY. yes, i did tell them i am junior explicitly, but they said its, fine and they like my resume. also, the salary is too good guys. mid 50s!! thats a 10k-12k jump from the other ones. so i HAVE to interview for it. i dont mind taking the risk of losing on the finance one cuz the reward is greater for this....let's see what happens in the interview later.

    thanks again, ill keep you guys updated.

    plus the issue with accepting the finance one, is they wanted me to start ASAP. like TODAY. and i couldn't do that, cuz the interview with pharmacare-related place is today....

    i have nix skills, and some very basic database skills with postgres, but thats about it....but im a very quick learner.
  • thekid007thekid007 Member Posts: 33 ■■■□□□□□□□
    guys btw.

    - for the Managed Services. overtime is after 44hrs/week, at 1.5 and 2x over a certain time. travel is reimbursed at $0.5/km

    - for the internal place, in lieu of overtime, there is time off.

    not sure if this makes a diff.
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