Moving from one MSP to another

MilliwaysMilliways Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi all,

I began my IT career at a small (never more than 5 employees) MSP in a mid-size (250k) East Coast city approximately 3.5 years ago, by whom I am still employed. For the first few years I filled your standard helpdesk/desktop tech role. For the past year or so I have begun to do more project/admin work (my official title is Jr. SysAdmin). At this point in time my typical day consists of about 50% tier 1/2 support and 50% project/admin work (patch management, software deployment, very basic scripting, server virtualization projects).

I recently decided that I have hit my ceiling here - our largest client is ~75 users and I am underpaid with no benefits. I have a great deal of flexibility and even work from home on occasion but these things do not outweigh the negatives. My ultimate goal is to learn more scripting/Linux and get into either DevOps or security.

I began my job search a few months ago. I wasn't sure what I was looking for at first but over time it became clear that a high-level desktop support or low-level admin job at a mid-size company would probably be my ideal position. Unfortunately it seems that companies are now either hiring for mid-level positions internally or they have been eliminated altogether due to automation.

I received an offer from a small (~25 employees) MSP this week for a desktop support position and am not sure if I should take it. It is a 5 month contract-to-hire and comes with a 50% pay increase over my current job. The vibe at the main office during my interview really impressed me and the company is growing quickly. They don't have anyone doing support work from the HQ - I would be onsite at different clients during the week, a few of which are larger than 100 users. During the interview it was mentioned that I'd get my hands on some project work after my initial break-in period. The issue is that I can't really tell if this is a lateral move or a slight step down. If it is the latter, would that make sense for me considering the pros I have mentioned? My resume will show me going from a Jr. SysAdmin role to a Desktop Support Engineer position. As I said earlier, I've found postings for mid-level or junior roles to be mythical unicorns, so I'm wondering if I'm being naive by thinking I'll find that perfect internal role at a mid-size company.

For reference, I have an associates degree and no certs (currently working on that). Thanks in advance for the input - I hope everyone has a happy New Year.

Comments

  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Firstly,
    welcome to the forums :]
    Milliways wrote: »
    My ultimate goal is to learn more scripting/Linux and get into either DevOps or security.

    If that's really the goal... then why are you applying for desktop gigs?
    i would think that Jr SysAdmin positions would be the way to go,


    You seem overly vague; you don't mention the state you live in, nor your actual salary...
    maybe you are afraid that your employer is actively on this forum??
    lol


    My random takeaway:
    it sounds like your job has been a Great opportunity to learn/grow.
    Be happy that you lucked into a worthwhile job 3.5 years ago.

    But if you think you've hit the ceiling... then its time to move on.
    If this was about money... then you could always negotiate for a raise.
    But it's not really about the money.... correct?


    So.... Which certification are you currently working on?
    i'm hoping its something like the RHCSA; (you want to learn linux, right?).
    or i guess the MCSA might not be bad either.

    Nonetheless, that would be my area of focus; Get a worthwhile cert. That will get you a better advantage.


    And im NOT so sure i would take that desktop gig.... it might end up setting you back.


    Or,
    You could also try being Direct with the new company.
    Before you accept their offer: Let them know that after the 5-month trial period, you really want to start doing some Server/Sysadmin support.
    (or at least shadowing the Sr Server guy).

    Let them know,
    that if they are not comfortable with your request... no hard feelings; you will politely decline the offer.

    But, if they seem very Open to your request..... then Take the job :]
    After all.... they are a rapidly growing company, right?

    Or,
    maybe just accept the job (and the raise) regardless. Then WOW them over the next 5 months.
    When they eventually make you the "direct" offer, then that's when you counter with "i dont want to do Desktops all day. I want to do [insert whatever-it-is that you want to do]."

    It's really up to you :]

    btw,
    don't worry about the job title being lateral/downgrade.
    Worthwhile EXPERIENCE is the only thing that matters at this point in your career.
  • VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    I agree with Volfkhat, talk to the new company, tell them about your ambitions and that you're a hard worker. They'll like that and since you're getting in on the ground floor, if you do well during your 5 month contract period, you'll almost certainly get hired and be able to negotiate for more responsibilities.

    On to the Linux side of things...since you don't have much experience in that realm, certifications help you get your foot in the door. Once you're in the door, you really have to work hard to get into DevOps. There's a reason all of those jobs are 6 figures right out the door. So...if you want to get into the corporate side of Linux, go with RHCSA > RHCE path. If you want to work with non-corporate, Debian based distros are all the rage, go either LPIC-1 > LPIC-2 or LFCS > LFCE. Either way the content that is covered by all of the certifications I listed will help you on your way to getting into the Linux field. DevOps commonly uses AWS or OpenStack (much more complicated IMHO), Puppet (most cemented in CM arena) or Chef or Ansible (new comer and not as established), know at least 1 scripting language other than BASH, PERL (most established), Python (new comer), PHP (web focused), Jenkins for continuous integration/QA, and Git for code version control. Its a lot of time and effort to learn all of these, not to mention more is expected from you in the Linux field, but the payout is huge. I highly recommend LinuxAcademy as a starting point since it has a great BASH scripting course and also has courses for most of the technologies I listed above.
  • MilliwaysMilliways Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    volfkhat wrote: »
    Firstly,
    welcome to the forums :]


    If that's really the goal... then why are you applying for desktop gigs?
    i would think that Jr SysAdmin positions would be the way to go,


    You seem overly vague; you don't mention the state you live in, nor your actual salary...
    maybe you are afraid that your employer is actively on this forum??
    lol


    My random takeaway:
    it sounds like your job has been a Great opportunity to learn/grow.
    Be happy that you lucked into a worthwhile job 3.5 years ago.

    But if you think you've hit the ceiling... then its time to move on.
    If this was about money... then you could always negotiate for a raise.
    But it's not really about the money.... correct?


    So.... Which certification are you currently working on?
    i'm hoping its something like the RHCSA; (you want to learn linux, right?).
    or i guess the MCSA might not be bad either.

    Nonetheless, that would be my area of focus; Get a worthwhile cert. That will get you a better advantage.


    And im NOT so sure i would take that desktop gig.... it might end up setting you back.


    Or,
    You could also try being Direct with the new company.
    Before you accept their offer: Let them know that after the 5-month trial period, you really want to start doing some Server/Sysadmin support.
    (or at least shadowing the Sr Server guy).

    Let them know,
    that if they are not comfortable with your request... no hard feelings; you will politely decline the offer.

    But, if they seem very Open to your request..... then Take the job :]
    After all.... they are a rapidly growing company, right?

    Or,
    maybe just accept the job (and the raise) regardless. Then WOW them over the next 5 months.
    When they eventually make you the "direct" offer, then that's when you counter with "i dont want to do Desktops all day. I want to do [insert whatever-it-is that you want to do]."

    It's really up to you :]

    btw,
    don't worry about the job title being lateral/downgrade.
    Worthwhile EXPERIENCE is the only thing that matters at this point in your career.
    I appreciate the reply.


    I was purposefully vague in my post. I suppose I am worried about someone I know (including my boss or my potential new employer) seeing this.


    Regarding my job search - I didn't set out to find a desktop support position. I went through a recruiter (I was having a hard time getting past HR when I wasn't working with a staffing firm) who submitted me for a couple of these roles after going over them with me. I was told by multiple recruiters that mid/junior level admin roles rarely pop up here in town. Perhaps if I was willing to relocate (which I feel I'll be ready to in the next few years) I would have better luck. As you said, though, titles can be misleading. I've seen positions advertised as Jr. SysAdmin that were really glorified support and the other way around.


    My issue right now is that my current company is run poorly. We haven't signed a new client in quite some time and my boss is terrible at delegating tasks, among other things. These negatives have begun to outweight the fact that my position is flexible and I get a decent amount of project/admin experience. So, I think I am going to accept the offer but follow the advice of yourself and Verities. Meaning, once I'm in there I'll get a feel for the place and give them 110%. If after a few months I get the feeling that there won't be an opportunity for project/admin work in the near future I'll look elsewhere (although my current boss runs my company poorly he is a good person - he'd take me back at any time or even let me adjust work dates on my resume).


    The RHCSA is something I had my eye on to start in the near future. Do you think a CompTIA cert (Net+ or Sec+) would be worthless for me at this point?
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Milliways wrote: »
    The RHCSA is something I had my eye on to start in the near future. Do you think a CompTIA cert (Net+ or Sec+) would be worthless for me at this point?

    Not at all.
    Learning new things will Always have value.

    But are you already quite familiar with the Network/Security+ subject matter? I ask because i know you have your associates. If it's mostly review... then you could really knock them out in 3 months each.

    A+ and Net+ are great if you ant to land a desktop gig.
    A lot of government subcontractors require the Security+.

    But will these certs help you land a Linux role? not likely.
    Same for a Microsft Sys admin role.

    You need to know what YOU want to do... then figure out how to get there :]

    Be careful not to chase random certs; just because random people say they are good to have. You want to have a goal in mind.

    It sounds like Verities knows what he's talkin about; so i would look more into that.

    Personally, i would Not accept the offer without explicitly letting them know what my goals are.
    I might even stay at the curent job... with the Goal of dedicating all my free time to getting that linux/microsoft cert.
    But then again... i'm Not You :]
    It kind of sounds like you are desperate to go.... nothing wrong with that either.

    Just make sure you keep to your statement:
    "If after a few months I get the feeling that there won't be an opportunity for project/admin work in the near future I'll look elsewhere."

    But, just being curious:
    What certification were you in the process of studying for?
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