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Should I stay or should I go...

NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
So I've been working at this smaller company for a year now. Actually just went out to lunch with my manager today for my one year anniversary. The company IT Dept is just me and IT manager. I handle pretty much all the day-to-day random printer/computer issues, setting up and disabling of accounts, managing company phone account, setting up equipment, etc. My manager works alot on an in house app our employees use, handles issues with the servers, and network/firewall.

Everything is going fine there, at the lunch today my manager actually told me he was thinking about hiring someone under me to handle more of the day-to-day issues so that I can work more on bigger things. Awesome I know, right? The only problem I have is if I don't think that is what I want to do... I don't want to be Systems Administrator and I think that is what this position might turn into. I was always thinking I would specialize in Networking then work my way into the Security field later on, and become a Network Security Engineer.

My manager has talked about upgrading the switches in our office and I maybe be able to set those up myself. Not sure if that is going actually happen or not.

Our office is small and consists of like 50 ppl. (have about 100 techs and 20 other managers around US too) Another reason I'm thinking I should find a different position is because I don't really have anyone that shows me how to do anything... My manager definitely knows more then I do but not a ton. And he is always working on other things. I have to figure out how to do alot of stuff on my own. Which isn't horrible, I'm definitely gaining experience with new things, but I like knowing there is someone who knows alot more then I do and someone that I can ask questions too.

I'm getting the access to do things but it is on such a small scale because the size of the company that I don't know how well it will help me get bigger jobs in the future. I don't want to become a Jack of All Trade guy that is in a small company for 25 years. I want to specialize in Network Security...

Pay isn't great here either, not really worrying about pay right now, want experience that is going to help me grow. I'm kinda rambling on here, to summarize I'm just not sure if it's a good thing or not if I stay or look elsewhere.

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    MTciscoguyMTciscoguy Member Posts: 552
    I wouldn't do anything, until I spend a while exploring the market in your area, you might find that you are in the same job you will find other places, ambition is good, but are you comfortable enough in your skills to become more ambitious? You have to remember as you move up the line, that no matter how skilled you are the pressures are going to increase. Sounds like you need to sit down and do some evaluation of yourself, you know the line down the middle of the paper title pro and con and start figuring out your direction in life. There are a lot of people out there in the market place that would love to have what you have and there are a lot perfectly happy with what you have, but again, you need to look inside and define exactly what you really want to do.
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    nsternster Member Posts: 231
    Why leave now and not before? I don't understand the problem. You were doing something that wasn't Network Security at all before, now they might upgrade your position and suddenly that experience is bad?

    In my opinion, if you like where you are at, having some experience with "bigger things" will come in handy later on. Yes you can specialize in IT, but you do your job much better when you understand what is going on in other branches, this is ESPECIALLY true for Network Security Engineers. In general, their skill-set is pretty broad. Leave if you don't like where you are at, but not because your entry-level job is starting to become mid-level
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    NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    nster wrote: »
    Why leave now and not before? I don't understand the problem. You were doing something that wasn't Network Security at all before, now they might upgrade your position and suddenly that experience is bad?

    In my opinion, if you like where you are at, having some experience with "bigger things" will come in handy later on. Yes you can specialize in IT, but you do your job much better when you understand what is going on in other branches, this is ESPECIALLY true for Network Security Engineers. In general, their skill-set is pretty broad. Leave if you don't like where you are at, but not because your entry-level job is starting to become mid-level

    My reasoning is because I'm wondering if I should be looking for an entry level network position now or not. I realize it is more of a mid-level job but just not sure it is moving up in the direction that is best or if a step side-ways into networking would be better. Kinda leaning toward looking for an entry level network position at large company, at least once I get my CCNA.
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    BobMeadBobMead Member Posts: 55 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You will have to jump at some point to grow but stick it out until you have your CCNA. You only advance by being challenged and you only get a big raise by changing jobs.
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    nsternster Member Posts: 231
    IMO def wait until you have a CCNA at the very least. Also mention to your manager that you are interested in Network and Security, perhaps he might give you the opportunity to touch on those a little
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    Kinet1cKinet1c Member Posts: 604 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Defo wait till you have your CCNA. Go to your boss then - "I've got my CCNA and would like some/more networking work here". If nothing happens then move.
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    anhtran35anhtran35 Member Posts: 466
    STAY. A smaller shop usually obtains the skillsets of an SA and NA. You have the opportunity to touch both sides of IT. This will give you many career opportunities.
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    RHDS2KRHDS2K Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
    your position is exactly what my last job was. I enjoyed it to be honest, I only left because there was no money there. My boss knew more than me, but he wasn't a master at any one specific discipline. I learned a lot on my own, and it was a HUGE experience builder. As you mentioned, it is nice having someone that can train you. I'm currently a jr sys admin now on a 4 man team (including my manager). I LOVE working with my senior sys admin here. He teaches me so much. Each environment has it's own advantages. You just need to weigh what you like the most. If you're making enough money to get by and you like your job, i would be thrilled to have the opportunity your boss is giving you. You'll have a direct report so that looks awesome on a resume if you ever want to move to IT management. I'd stick it out there and keep building more experience until you want to move on for other reasons. Just my 2 cents!
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    NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Thanks for the replies everyone!! I think I am probably just getting ahead of myself. I should enjoy the opportunity I'm getting and expand my skillset. At least for a little while. Thanks for knocking some sense back into me.
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    powerfoolpowerfool Member Posts: 1,666 ■■■■■■■■□□
    You are supporting a small-ish company... if you want to be able to work on networking, you are going to pretty much have to be a network/systems administrator... a company of that size really can't justify have someone that is only a network administrator. That is just the reality of the situation.

    Keep the job, welcome all of the experience that you will get doing both network and systems administrator and work on your professional development focusing on your CCNA and maybe even an MCSA. At that point, it would be prudent to focus on professional development around networking and security.

    On a side note, if you are wanting to focus on security, eventually, you really need a very broad base of skills, anyhow. You may even want to get familiar with programming, to a degree.
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    NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Thanks powerfool, ya, I'm pretty sure I should give myself at least another year here and gain some more experience... Especially since I will be given more responsibility.

    I do got a few books on Python that I plan on getting into after my CCNA. Kind of looking forward to that! Haven't done a lot of coding since college (which was like 4 years ago)
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    powerfoolpowerfool Member Posts: 1,666 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Thanks powerfool, ya, I'm pretty sure I should give myself at least another year here and gain some more experience... Especially since I will be given more responsibility.

    I do got a few books on Python that I plan on getting into after my CCNA. Kind of looking forward to that! Haven't done a lot of coding since college (which was like 4 years ago)

    Well, the good thing about that is that you can use the skills you develop to assist in your work with network administration. You can write scripts to pull data, make reports, and even perform config updates.
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    AwesomeGarrettAwesomeGarrett Member Posts: 257
    CCENT - March 6th? Better stick with it.

    To honest, if you want to be in the network or security field, you're going to have to move on sooner rather than later. A mid level role at a two man shop with few users and sites does not translate to a large enterprise network. Yes, the technology stays the same but, everything is magnified (responsibilities, stress, demand, consequences).

    If you want to be at the top in the future, you need to get started now! Not be waiting around for someone to show you how things are done. If you wait for someone to show you how things are done, there will be a part of your better potential that will never be tapped.

    I can guarantee you one thing, if you jump ship after your CCNA or a year after your CCNA, you're going to land the same level position in the network field because you can only do so much in such a small shop. As an interviewer, I know this and wouldn't consider you for anything above a tier I.
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    NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    To honest, if you want to be in the network or security field, you're going to have to move on sooner rather than later. A mid level role at a two man shop with few users and sites does not translate to a large enterprise network.

    I think I'll have to see where I am at this summer when I get my CCNA. Not sure of my odds of landing a networking job at an large enterprise with out it...
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    anhtran35anhtran35 Member Posts: 466
    That's the spirit. One of the things I did while working in a small shop was to inform my IT Manager that I'm here to make his life easier. I would ask to take over certain daily task after all my help desk/desktop support tickets were finished. This established repetition where he would gradually assign over other tasks. You basically pick his head and if you can't then start using other tools( Youtube/GOOGLE/books/etc ). By being his RIGHT HAND man you could one day a.) replace him if he jumps ship b.) get a raise due to you being invaluable or c.) jump ship.
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    Start applying for jobs in vendors, service providers, MSPs, and Cisco partners. That's the best way to gain experience quickly.

    Also, get CCNA but apply for jobs NOW, don't wait until you get your CCNA.
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    thenjdukethenjduke Member Posts: 894 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I use to work at small shops when my career first started. I sometime wish I could go back to a small shop as the knowledge I aquired was incredible. I knew a little bit about everything. Take what is ahead of you and like others have mention tell your boss you would like to explore networking. I am sure he would be willing to let you go that road along with learning the other items.
    CCNA, MCP, MCSA, MCSE, MCDST, MCITP Enterprise Administrator, Working towards Networking BS. CCNP is Next.
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