How to measure your worth?

TheReceiverTheReceiver Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Hey guys, I transitioned into the IT field as I hated retail but loved tinkering with my computers at home so it seemed to be a match made in heaven, and so far isnt far from that.

Though having been used to taking what I can get in retail and now being able to bargain for my income, Im not sure where I should start for my asking price.

What do you guys use to determine your value?

Reason I ask, is I still get offers for 15/hour, should I start chasing some higher ends certs to elevate myself? I plan to get a BS of IT from WGU in the coming months as well...

I might teach English in Korea for a couple years, but I also plan to use that time to work on other certifications such as SSCP and CISSP and most definitely the CCENT at the very least. Possibly CEH as well just to get past HR filters...


Anyways, woulve love a discussion on this, thanks everyone!

Comments

  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Do you have no experience in IT whatsoever? Then $15/hour is normal. If you want to make a career in IT, teaching English would be fairly counterproductive.

    Thing is, in IT, experience is king. Certs will get you past HR filters, but unless you can also say and show you've done X, Y and Z, they won't get you a job past entry/junior level. Whereas a candidate without any certs but with relevant experience will usually get considered by most companies if he's got a good resume.

    You're also a bit all over the place. CCENT is one of the more entry level certs out there (on par with Net+.. maybe a little more difficult, but not by much). CISSP is pretty much the top-level cert. Hell, you usually can't even get it until you have 5+ verified years of security experience (i.e. a current CISSP has to vouch for your experience), or you have to take one of their approved courses.

    As for your actual question.. Look up the job title, compare it with what people from similar experience levels are making. $15/hour is in line with a typical NOC job, and $2-3 less than a typical help desk job assuming you don't have much experience. Once you've got a year and some good projects under your belt, you can easily get $20-25 in major city areas. Depending on cost of living/IT demand, of course.. Seattle it might be $55k for an OK sysadmin with 1 year Linux in a NOC environment, San Fran might pay $80k, and Atlanta you'd be lucky to have $40k. But if all you're getting now are offers for $15, then either you don't have enough experience (and higher level certs won't help with that - you'd still be getting the same $15 jobs; a CCNP with no experience won't land you a network engineer position), or you're applying to the wrong jobs (apply 1 step higher, like helpdesk -> deskside support, or desktop support -> jr. admin, and see if you get interviews).
  • Robertf969Robertf969 Posts: 190Member
    LeBroke wrote: »

    CISSP is pretty much the top-level cert. Hell, you usually can't even get it until you have 5+ verified years of security experience (i.e. a current CISSP has to vouch for your experience), or you have to take one of their approved courses.

    4 Years is the minimum as one year can be waived by a wide variety of certs, or a College Degree. Approved course doesn't waive the exp requirment. Any hooters I have heard SSCP is pretty much on par with Sec+ so I wouldnt bother (Its expensive).

    I agree that its counterproductive to take a two year hiatus from IT to teach English. Figure out what you qualify for and then check salary's for that position in your area (Glassdoor.com ,Payscale.com) (I am the most underpaid CISSP on the planet... thanks ARMY, so don't sweat it sometimes its hard to figure out what your niche is)
  • TheReceiverTheReceiver Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    LeBroke wrote: »
    Do you have no experience in IT whatsoever? Then $15/hour is normal. If you want to make a career in IT, teaching English would be fairly counterproductive.

    Thing is, in IT, experience is king. Certs will get you past HR filters, but unless you can also say and show you've done X, Y and Z, they won't get you a job past entry/junior level. Whereas a candidate without any certs but with relevant experience will usually get considered by most companies if he's got a good resume.

    You're also a bit all over the place. CCENT is one of the more entry level certs out there (on par with Net+.. maybe a little more difficult, but not by much). CISSP is pretty much the top-level cert. Hell, you usually can't even get it until you have 5+ verified years of security experience (i.e. a current CISSP has to vouch for your experience), or you have to take one of their approved courses.

    As for your actual question.. Look up the job title, compare it with what people from similar experience levels are making. $15/hour is in line with a typical NOC job, and $2-3 less than a typical help desk job assuming you don't have much experience. Once you've got a year and some good projects under your belt, you can easily get $20-25 in major city areas. Depending on cost of living/IT demand, of course.. Seattle it might be $55k for an OK sysadmin with 1 year Linux in a NOC environment, San Fran might pay $80k, and Atlanta you'd be lucky to have $40k. But if all you're getting now are offers for $15, then either you don't have enough experience (and higher level certs won't help with that - you'd still be getting the same $15 jobs; a CCNP with no experience won't land you a network engineer position), or you're applying to the wrong jobs (apply 1 step higher, like helpdesk -> deskside support, or desktop support -> jr. admin, and see if you get interviews).

    Ive been in IT for about 3 years now. I guess I feel some irritation in terms of income considering I made easily 65k in retail doing essentially nothing.

    Teaching English will allow me the time and actual income to work on other things in the meantime, Prometric and PearsonVUE have a presense in S. Korea and frankly the positions Im being offered here in the U.S. are becoming a slow financial death. Lets not let this become a finances advisory thread.

    More importantly, I have other reasons for teaching English, so while its not directly allowing me to grow in the U.S. I will have other opportunities later down the road.

    Buddy of mine states he would hired me for around 55k, but he does law firm IT and on average the pay more than other genre's of IT (for lvl 1/2 support)
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Then yes, at this point, $15 is way too low. At this point, I'd say you're just applying to jobs below the level you should be applying at (or they're expecting to get a qualified sysadmin at $15/hour, this is also possible).

    $55k is pretty normal for 3 years experience. However, the way you phrased it, makes me think you're still looking at level 1-2 support.

    A much better decision would be to focus on a career path you want to take, get the next certification you need (i.e. an MCSA if you want to do/keep doing Windows), and then apply for better jobs.

    Hell, you can start applying for better jobs right now. Maybe post your resume on this forum - see if it pigeonholes you into a role. Write it so it focuses on the jobs you want, not the jobs you had (i.e. great user/customer satisfaction ratings are pretty irrelevant if you want to be a sysadmin, on the other hand, your experience with Exchange administration should be near the top).
  • TheReceiverTheReceiver Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    LeBroke wrote: »
    Then yes, at this point, $15 is way too low. At this point, I'd say you're just applying to jobs below the level you should be applying at (or they're expecting to get a qualified sysadmin at $15/hour, this is also possible).

    $55k is pretty normal for 3 years experience. However, the way you phrased it, makes me think you're still looking at level 1-2 support.

    A much better decision would be to focus on a career path you want to take, get the next certification you need (i.e. an MCSA if you want to do/keep doing Windows), and then apply for better jobs.

    Hell, you can start applying for better jobs right now. Maybe post your resume on this forum - see if it pigeonholes you into a role. Write it so it focuses on the jobs you want, not the jobs you had (i.e. great user/customer satisfaction ratings are pretty irrelevant if you want to be a sysadmin, on the other hand, your experience with Exchange administration should be near the top).

    Ah, maybe I was just typing in haste after some deep thought. I apologize I should've inserted that as well.

    I also havent actually applied to much anything at all right now, as I am currently under contract until the end of June. However I do tend to spend time before the contract ends getting the feelers out and such. As for my buddy, his IT Firm doesnt have Tiered systems, just regional leads so that may have also been a bit of an outlier.

    I'll keep working on certs in the mean time to fluff up the resume and it gives me something to do in the mean time.

    Also in terms of the CISSP that would be a long term goal, though for now I have been looking at the SSCP but even then that would be around this next year at best. I plan to get a BS and 4 additional certs between now and December so ill be pressed on time overall until that is completed

    I realize the certs I have right now arent the be all end all, but I just wanted to make sure I wasnt expecting more outside of what the industry is evaluating me as. Also it could just be that they have an old resume from when I first started doing this as well...
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,197Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    What have you done in those 3 years of experience? By that I mean if you've just been level 1 helpdesk the whole time the salary doesn't just go up without gaining responsibility, new titles etc.

    Sounds like you're trying to get into security? I'm just going by you mentioning the CEH, CISSP, what about that appeals to you? What part of security specifically?
  • TheReceiverTheReceiver Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Danielm7 wrote: »
    What have you done in those 3 years of experience? By that I mean if you've just been level 1 helpdesk the whole time the salary doesn't just go up without gaining responsibility, new titles etc.

    Sounds like you're trying to get into security? I'm just going by you mentioning the CEH, CISSP, what about that appeals to you? What part of security specifically?

    What appeals about Security? Im not sure, initially you could say its a lucrative field to get into, but really it draws back to my hardware tinkering days. I like to know how things work on an intimate level.

    Its like a lot of the discussions I have regarding performance laptops. I like to game (though not much lately), and that requires beefier hardware. So I got a m6600 for 500 with 2x HDD, dual core i7, m8900 (6970m), 16GB 1600Mhz RAM. After a little research, I discovered I can swap my CPU and GPU, so first I took my i7 2670qm and SSD from my failing system and might get a DVD converter to include another HDD (3 total) and also have mSATA. Next I can take the 6970m currently in there and upgrade to the 7970m (HD 7870) and be set for when DX12 eventually drops. Lastly, I can utilize eGPU via Express Card slot as well.

    I want to be able to break down things on that level in Software/OS/Networking. This will require a great deal of time and effort which is what I could do in the meantime while teaching english, spending much needed time with my fiance and clearing up my finances so I can be available for some level of Secret Clearance as its needed for a lot of the IT positions in Korea.

    I worked Help Desk at a Bank for about 8 months, and then moved on to migration contracts to diversify what applications and networks / tips and tricks I could expose myself to. I am currently working a migration in Dallas at the moment. Funny thing is I actually intended ITILv3 to be my next certification only because I had been doing migrations for some time now.

    I just got confirmation that a degree from WGU will indeed satisfy immigration requirements, so ill finally pull the trigger on that as soon as I get Project+ and a couple off the CIW certs. From my understanding they arent difficult to achieve. If anything Project+ will only be difficult only because of the dry content to pull for the cert. I plan to finish the WGU BS in as short of time as possible. Ill also be saving for the TEFL certifications as well...

    Busy of late, it seems lol

    I honestly dont want the CEH, for a long time I thought it would be a cool certification to have until after reading a lot of input here on the forums. Seems to be more of a HR keyword search and nothing more, besides maybe some older concepts. CISSP seems to be where its at, but Ill chase the SSCP first.

    CCENT was more to expose myself to some Cisco content, I know its just a Cisco flavored Net+ but it will allow me to then pursue the CCNA later on when I see more of a direct ROI in terms of career timeline.
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Ah, maybe I was just typing in haste after some deep thought. I apologize I should've inserted that as well.

    I also havent actually applied to much anything at all right now, as I am currently under contract until the end of June. However I do tend to spend time before the contract ends getting the feelers out and such. As for my buddy, his IT Firm doesnt have Tiered systems, just regional leads so that may have also been a bit of an outlier.

    Ah okay, that makes sense.

    As for CEH vs SSCP - remember, most certs are HR buzzwords to begin with. A tech manager might choose an identical candidate with a cert over another one without a cert, but that requires you to be an identical candidate to begin with.

    The real reason to get them cert is to either get past HR requirements, or to learn new things. For HR, a cert is shorthand to let them know you at least know the basic concepts covered by the cert. I.e. if want to get into a field as a junior level guy, a CCNA shows you have some knowledge of networking, and a CEH shows you at least know basic principles of security and hacking.

    An SSCP is an entry-level cert very similar to the Security+ you already have. It probably won't teach you many new things, and it won't increase your chances with HR (since their requirement would already be satisfied by your Sec+, or they would want a CEH/CCNA:Security for the next tier of jobs). In all all honesty, I wouldn't recommend it.
  • TheReceiverTheReceiver Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    LeBroke wrote: »
    Ah okay, that makes sense.

    As for CEH vs SSCP - remember, most certs are HR buzzwords to begin with. A tech manager might choose an identical candidate with a cert over another one without a cert, but that requires you to be an identical candidate to begin with.

    The real reason to get them cert is to either get past HR requirements, or to learn new things. For HR, a cert is shorthand to let them know you at least know the basic concepts covered by the cert. I.e. if want to get into a field as a junior level guy, a CCNA shows you have some knowledge of networking, and a CEH shows you at least know basic principles of security and hacking.

    An SSCP is an entry-level cert very similar to the Security+ you already have. It probably won't teach you many new things, and it won't increase your chances with HR (since their requirement would already be satisfied by your Sec+, or they would want a CEH/CCNA:Security for the next tier of jobs). In all all honesty, I wouldn't recommend it.

    Good point, I guess I am a little too modest in thinking I could try and tackle the CISSP at some point without a proper stepping stone.

    Though for the moment I am focusing on cutting down my time with WGU as much as possible before I apply to start in June of this year.
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