Skills needed to be well rounded?

Chrisbari14Chrisbari14 Posts: 77Member ■■■□□□□□□□
Good afternoon tech family,

So I have a question. I'm currently in a helpdesk role at my job. I just achieved my Network + and I'm studying for my Security plus. After this I will be preparing to go after my MCSA Windows 10 and Windows server 2012 R2 cert since It will be applicable in the environment in which I work. My path now currently is to be more of a system/server admin. But I truly want to be well rounded in many areas of IT. Should I go after the CCNA, and become familiar with Linux as well? I need some suggestions? Maybe some SQL and scripting too?

Comments

  • urstuffplz1urstuffplz1 Posts: 76Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm personally going for MCSA Server 2012, CCNA and either Hyper-V or/both VMware certifications... this is giving me a rounded base in networks, servers and virtualisation. Knowing Linux and SQL is not going to be any harm.. I am covering these on my degree September coming, but certainly won't be going down the certification route with them. I do currently work for an MSP so I tend to have to touch numerous technologies on a regular basis.

    Being a jack of all trades is a good thing, and I am sure most on here are not going to disagree, however, you really want to find something you truely love doing and work on that specific path more than anything else. I have great ambitions to become involved in complex network design and implementation so I will eventually get my CCNP and CCDP.. maybe even CCIE. What do you truely love doing from what you've covered so far?
    2018 Goals: CCNP Route 300-101[X], CCNP Switch 300-115[X], CCNP T'Shoot 300-135[X], VCP-DCV 6[], 70-412[], 70-413[], 70-414[]
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Posts: 553Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Windows server, VMware, and Powershell/Powercli will get you very far. AWS is fun to know too but I don't know how many people actively look for it. Know how Cisco switches and routers work, learn about different SAN and NAS protocols and see if people will train you at work or let you watch them work.

    Another track or something to add to the above would be learn some Linux, figure out Docker and Openstack. Those are really trendy right now and where my attention is currently pointed.

    I am working on the second paragraph up there and have been working toward it for 10 years. It's not a sprint to be a full stack engineer.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • Muhammed HMuhammed H Posts: 93Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wonderful thread. Hope to see some professional and experienced response,
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,919Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    My path now currently is to be more of a system/server admin. But I truly want to be well rounded in many areas of IT.

    Once you get your base certification courses, you need to specialize in one area of IT, the field is just too vast to get an expert in everything. If your going in system/server administrator role, work on becoming proficient in Windows server and Linux operating systems first before looking at networking related certifications.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy SABSA, GCFA, GPEN, CISM, RHCE, Security+, Server+, eJPT, CCNA Posts: 4,049Mod Mod
    If you're studying for MCSA then I strongly recommend PowerShell. Scripting is something you can master and practice even without having a job in the field. created a GitHub account and publish your scripts! Get your hands on Azure cloud if you can
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    +1 with Unix...... Get a Github or CodePlex account and start creating scripts, post those on your repository and place the link on your resume. Showing your portfolio of work is priceless.


    I have dozens of scripts I have created which I list on all my resumes. It makes is so much easier when going through the technical part of the interview. They usually don't even bother asking me dev questions anymore.
  • Muhammed HMuhammed H Posts: 93Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Excuse my ignorance. what exactly you guys mean by scripting? Like I know how use powershell to retrieve information from localhost, AD (users whos password gonna expire, last logon, etc etc). Are you guys talking about something like those? Or, something very large that needs "Powershell Guru" level expertise?! Because I know powershell scripts can be really large and scary sometime.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy SABSA, GCFA, GPEN, CISM, RHCE, Security+, Server+, eJPT, CCNA Posts: 4,049Mod Mod
    @Muhammed: yes we mean this, and more. There is always more to know about PowerShell, let's say someone like who's never had to deal with Windows, I don't know how to write powershell scripts (but I can learn quickly). A script is a smaller program. A Program is when you start using complex data structures, classes, etc etc..Google the definition of scripting vs programming. Yes writing one-line of power is considered 'scripting' sometimes.

    There is a lot of demand for this now along with being able to automate cloud creation and configuration.
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    I'll throw in a vote for solid programming skills - I mean beyond teaching yourself python - learning some algorithm theory, computability, logic, object modelling, usability, UI etc etc etc

    Along with programming, a good grasp of the logical structure of computers (what a heap is, what a stack is, what registers are, how memory is managed, how LBA works) and networking (OSI model, what each layer does and how it does it, why wireless is special etc).

    Database theory, data modelling, etc etc SQL and NoSQL and their merits.

    Operating Systems. More than just Linux and Windows. Understanding the theory. Having an appreciation for why powershell is different to bash, for example.

    Virtualisation and cloud. If you don't learn this, you will have a short career in IT.

    Info Sec.

    Networking.

    "The web" - basically understanding how the whole thing fits together, protocols, servers, backend code, databases, UI, etc etc At least understanding this conceptually.

    Business/Systems Analysis - this is being able to bridge that gap between the technical and the business objectives.

    Then there's all those soft skills, like ITSM, ITIL, Project Management, and all those IEC/ANSI/ISO standards.

    The problem is that to get a reasonable grounding in all these would likely take more than a 4 year degree. You'd probably want a couple of grad level courses, along with some real hands on.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • doctorlexusdoctorlexus Posts: 217Member
    Effective communication through writing is another valuable skill. It never hurts to add a few writing courses to your itinerary.
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Posts: 553Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Muhammed H wrote: »
    Excuse my ignorance. what exactly you guys mean by scripting? Like I know how use powershell to retrieve information from localhost, AD (users whos password gonna expire, last logon, etc etc). Are you guys talking about something like those? Or, something very large that needs "Powershell Guru" level expertise?! Because I know powershell scripts can be really large and scary sometime.

    You can start small with powershell scripts. We have some PowerCLI scripts (Powershell with VMware's commands thrown in). They can build a consistant VMware host only editing a few variables on the top. So we just put a hostname and IP addresses for the vmkernel ports. The script I wrote takes those variables and builds a host with the same advanced configurations, networking layout, time server, etc every time.

    The place to start is to say "what do I do pretty often?" then see if you could do it in powershell. From just what you said you could create a script to pull that password expiring list, do an Out-File to a csv on a file, and use microsoft task scheduler to run it.

    If you have to create an AD user you can write out all the commands to create one user, add them to the right OU, give them the right security groups, etc. Look at it and see what stuff is unique to that user. That can be made into an alias. Then at the top you set your alias' and you have an easy to replicate script. Set the user info at the top and away you go.

    I'm sure Github has all these already created. I'm going to put my ESXi Build scripts out there soon as well.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • ChinookChinook Posts: 206Member
    To the OP,

    I would sit down and decide what path you want to follow in IT. Do you want to be in Network, Server Admin, SQL, etc? Once you figure that out sit down and design an educational plan to get where you want to go with your career. And stick to it. If you do like working with a bunch of different technologies, you could stay as a "Generalist" but you'll likely end up working in an MSP or, if lucky, a mid sized firm. The big problem with working as a generalist is your income will stagnate. As others have said, IT is so complex now you need to specialize.

    For example. Say you decide to be a Windows Server Administrator & later "Engineer". You would set the goal of learning Windows Server & mastering PowerShell. You might want to compliment that with learning VMware or perhaps getting a decent understanding of Storage. You wouldn't want to focus on CISCO because you're simply not going to use those skills if you're working as a Server guy in the Enterprise. Focus on something and get very good at it.

    If you wanted to focus on Exchange, well I'd master Exchange, Skype and Office 365. Focus on what is the "collaboration pillar". If you want to do web stuff, you'd want to learn Linux, Apache and MySQL along with scripting languages like Python. You can also make a career out of desktop management with an Windows 10 MCSA along with SCCM (a complex platform in itself). Or you could choose some type of management where ITIL would be a good place to start.

    As for soft skills, things like report writing, excellent English skills and Visio skills make sense. Having this will differentiate you from the remainder of the pack. And don't kid yourself, those skills do matter.

    The key to success in IT (and life) is to stay focus & learn what is coming and then do it well. You'll always be employed & probably make some good money to boot.
  • Muhammed HMuhammed H Posts: 93Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    tbgree00 wrote: »
    You can start small with powershell scripts. We have some PowerCLI scripts (Powershell with VMware's commands thrown in). They can build a consistant VMware host only editing a few variables on the top. So we just put a hostname and IP addresses for the vmkernel ports. The script I wrote takes those variables and builds a host with the same advanced configurations, networking layout, time server, etc every time.

    The place to start is to say "what do I do pretty often?" then see if you could do it in powershell. From just what you said you could create a script to pull that password expiring list, do an Out-File to a csv on a file, and use microsoft task scheduler to run it.

    If you have to create an AD user you can write out all the commands to create one user, add them to the right OU, give them the right security groups, etc. Look at it and see what stuff is unique to that user. That can be made into an alias. Then at the top you set your alias' and you have an easy to replicate script. Set the user info at the top and away you go.

    I'm sure Github has all these already created. I'm going to put my ESXi Build scripts out there soon as well.

    Thank you so much.
  • nachodbanachodba USPosts: 194Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    The only thing I have against people who become that well rounded is that they typically aren't great at any one area. This comes from my experience interviewing IT professionals in Northern VA. If you have a professional level certification on your resume, I am going to grill you on that topic. I recommend you pick one or two areas to excel in, when I was doing systems administration for 7 years I worked with Exchange, AD, Shoretel Phones, Cisco networking, etc but I was specializing in SQL Server and VMWare. I didn't put much effort into certifying in the other products because I knew when I moved on it would be to VMWare or SQL Administration.
    2019/2020 Certification Goals - Oracle Database 12c R2 Administration Certified Professional, CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), Project Management Professional, VMWare Certified Professional 6.5 Data Center Virtualization
  • Muhammed HMuhammed H Posts: 93Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    nachodba wrote: »
    The only thing I have against people who become that well rounded is that they typically aren't great at any one area. This comes from my experience interviewing IT professionals in Northern VA. If you have a professional level certification on your resume, I am going to grill you on that topic. I recommend you pick one or two areas to excel in, when I was doing systems administration for 7 years I worked with Exchange, AD, Shoretel Phones, Cisco networking, etc but I was specializing in SQL Server and VMWare. I didn't put much effort into certifying in the other products because I knew when I moved on it would be to VMWare or SQL Administration.

    kinda agree with you. But another thing I think we should keep in mind that you never know in which direction your career going to move, well at least in my case its true. After graduating from uni, I did CCNA and always wanted to be one who works with Cisco devices. But unfortunately didn't get the chance to enter Cisco domain and end up working on Windows servers and VMware. Now at this stage, I am trying to excel on those two and also learning some Linux, just in case if I get a chance in future to move towards Linux.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAPosts: 879Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    I think CompTIA has a lot of value for becoming "well rounded". Think about how much you would pick up if you learned enough for A+, Network+, Security+, Server+, Linux+, Mobility+, Cloud+, and CDIA+.

    And as funny as it sounds to some, the same goes for Microsoft's MTA certs, except there's a smattering of DB and dev mixed in.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 2,091Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I think CompTIA has a lot of value for becoming "well rounded". Think about how much you would pick up if you learned enough for A+, Network+, Security+, Server+, Linux+, Mobility+, Cloud+, and CDIA+.

    And as funny as it sounds to some, the same goes for Microsoft's MTA certs, except there's a smattering of DB and dev mixed in.

    CompTIA is only good for employment requirement check box.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAPosts: 879Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    dave330i wrote: »
    CompTIA is only good for employment requirement check box.
    OP was asking about becoming well rounded. If you learn the CompTIA material I mentioned, I think that path meets OP's goals.
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Posts: 553Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    nachodba wrote: »
    The only thing I have against people who become that well rounded is that they typically aren't great at any one area. This comes from my experience interviewing IT professionals in Northern VA. If you have a professional level certification on your resume, I am going to grill you on that topic. I recommend you pick one or two areas to excel in, when I was doing systems administration for 7 years I worked with Exchange, AD, Shoretel Phones, Cisco networking, etc but I was specializing in SQL Server and VMWare. I didn't put much effort into certifying in the other products because I knew when I moved on it would be to VMWare or SQL Administration.

    I fully agree with this. Knowing a lot of stuff is very important but knowing something at an expert level is critical. I'm specialized in VMware and Windows Server administration. I know a lot of AWS, some networking, enough storage to create my LUNS, a fair amount of hardware, etc. I could greenfield a datacenter with a little effort. That said I specialize in VMware and have focused that way. Grill me with VMware questions and I'm good. Hit me with a Cisco thing and I'm 50/50 but know enough to tell you what I'd try.

    You can't run until you walk, though. I had to dip my toes in multiple fields before I fell head over heels for VMware. Even now I'm learning Openstack and Docker just because the industry buzz lies in open source cloud right now. I doubt I'll be an expert there but I want to speak intelligently when given the opportunity.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    tbgree00 wrote: »
    I fully agree with this. Knowing a lot of stuff is very important but knowing something at an expert level is critical. I'm specialized in VMware and Windows Server administration. I know a lot of AWS, some networking, enough storage to create my LUNS, a fair amount of hardware, etc. I could greenfield a datacenter with a little effort. That said I specialize in VMware and have focused that way. Grill me with VMware questions and I'm good. Hit me with a Cisco thing and I'm 50/50 but know enough to tell you what I'd try.

    Yeah, the way I've heard this expressed (and I like it) is that good specialists are good generalists. Get a good solid foundation and then specialise. It will make you better at your speciality and give you some protection if your particular niche dries up. And if you ever end up in management, you will need that breadth again - probably more than the depth.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • mbarrettmbarrett Posts: 397Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    So I have a question. I'm currently in a helpdesk role at my job. I just achieved my Network + and I'm studying for my Security plus. After this I will be preparing to go after my MCSA Windows 10 and Windows server 2012 R2 cert since It will be applicable in the environment in which I work. My path now currently is to be more of a system/server admin. But I truly want to be well rounded in many areas of IT. Should I go after the CCNA, and become familiar with Linux as well? I need some suggestions? Maybe some SQL and scripting too?

    To be truly well-rounded in IT, there should be a mix of education, experience and Certs. My advice would be to find a solid computer science or IT program of study (even a 2-year degree) and get your degree hammered out in your spare time. A degree might not give you the immediate technical skills that can be applied on the job, but it does give you the perspective and foundation of knowledge to be able to solve a much broader array of IT problems and will serve you much longer than a particular cert.
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