Advice from a dinosaur

DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014, CSMMember Posts: 2,712 ■■■■■■■■■□
This is what worked for me.

Learn one thing and become tremendous at it.

For years I was floating round that 50-70 k mark and eventually I decided to pick up a programming language and it just took my career and shot it off. Don't get me wrong my first year I was JUNK! I struggled to do the littlest things, but eventually it stuck and then it flourished. The funny thing is I don't learn extremely fast, but I am an elephant when it comes to memory.

I haven't deviated from that plan since.

My advice is simple...... Learn something and dominate. Don't go chasing shiny objects or new technologies stay focused on your end game.

That is all.

Comments

  • zeitgeist29zeitgeist29 Member Posts: 47 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Much appreciated. Before I decided to learn Cisco I was like a fish out of water trying to do anything then jumping ship to something else. Gotta harness that energy and power of focus and stick to it. That's how Michael Jordan and Eminem approached their crafts.
  • mzx380mzx380 ITIL, ACA, CCNA, Linux+, VCP-DCV, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM New YorkMember Posts: 453 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for sharing that, definitely has merit!
    Certifications: ITIL, ACA, CCNA, Linux+, VCP-DCV, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
    Currently Working On: Microsoft 70-761 (SQL Server)
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014, CSM Member Posts: 2,712 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Just want to follow up and say this is what works for me. I had some really crappy jobs in my late 20's when "transitioning" while some of you are making what I am making now at that same age.

    I don't believe in absolutes, but I do challenge you to stick with something for 2 years and see what happens. Even if the jobs aren't knocking on your door or you feel the journey it too long, stay with it.

    It maybe Linux, Windows Server, Programming, Project Management, Finance, whatever. Laser focus, no distractions.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    I know you are right, but I'm interested in everything​ so will probably continue to chase shiny objects.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,781 Mod
    I like shiny objects. icon_cheers.gif
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • joshuamurphy75joshuamurphy75 Senior Member Member Posts: 162 ■■■□□□□□□□
    My boss made a "caution, objects are shiny" label for the utensil storage at Starbucks, when I used to work there. He probably made it because of me.
  • eric.thomaseric.thomas Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    What programming language did you decide to learn and stick with that made your career and shot off?
  • EagerDinosaurEagerDinosaur Member Posts: 114
    I can see the merit in becoming really good at one technology, but there aren't many technologies that remain in demand for a whole human working lifetime (ANSI SQL, COBOL?) so I have to select new technologies to learn from time to time.

    The difficult thing for me is guessing which shiny new technology is going to last more than a few years. After learning AngularJS for 3 months, I was a bit cheesed off to discover that it had already been superseded by Angular 2, which is substantially different. Yesterday I learned that Angular 4 now exists. The number of shiny new Javascript frameworks appearing is becoming ridiculous, but I'm sure at least a couple of them will still be relevant in 5 years.
  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Besides shiny objects, I like things that give me god-like powers; domain admin credentials, root access, back doors, exploits... That's why I am learning pen testing. The dark side is just so seductive. :)
  • SpetsRepairSpetsRepair Cisco/Fortinet/Meraki/Comptia Member Posts: 210 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The issues I deal with is mostly related to other offers constantly coming in and if you say no they try to talk to you by having someone else from their dept call you in a few hours....

    Also the field is truly amazing and whenever you deal with something at work you don't like you can pack your bags and move..


    The changes in technology don't really bother me and its getting simpler icon_study.gif
  • knownheroknownhero Member Posts: 450
    Totally agree with this. I was all over the place doing something different, then I found SharePoint and loved it the moment I saw it. Now I build farms and custom apps for it.

    Find what you love and dominate it like OP says
    70-410 [x] 70-411 [x] 70-462[x] 70-331[x] 70-332[x]
    MCSE - SharePoint 2013 :thumbup:

    Road map 2017: JavaScript and modern web development

  • GeekyChickGeekyChick CISSP, CEH, CCNA, Sec+, Splunk Member Posts: 323 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Good advice. The field is wide-open to do just about anything you want. If you find a niche that you love and you're good at you're set. I'm still personally narrowing that part down.

    P.S. You are not a dinosaur. :D
  • sillymcnastysillymcnasty Member Posts: 254 ■■■□□□□□□□
    From 50-70 to what? Key points! lol
  • shimasenseishimasensei BSc IT, CISSP, CCNP:RS, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:RS, CCENT, Sec+, P+, A+, L+/LPIC-1, CSSS, VCA6-DCV, ITILv3:F Member Posts: 241 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Great advice, thanks! It means so much more coming from someone who is a seasoned vet in the industry.

    (I love shiny objects too :D)
    Current: BSc IT + CISSP, CCNP:RS, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:RS, CCENT, Sec+, P+, A+, L+/LPIC-1, CSSS, VCA6-DCV, ITILv3:F, MCSA:Win10
    Future Plans: MSc + PMP, CCIE/NPx, GIAC...
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,781 Mod
    Agreed, you are no dinosaur.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,832 Mod
    I used to not agree, but I actually do now. Even though I haven't yet specialized, I've been able to keep advancing my career and am now where I want to be salarywise. But I'm finding it's too difficult to 'know a lot about a lot'. So I'm actually going to find that one thing and specialize in it. Since I'm already in InfoSec, I decided to pursue my interest in pentesting. But I found that even within pentesting there are areas that one should specialize in. So I think for now I'm going to pursue the broad pentesting skills, and look to actually specialize in application security and malware. We'll see.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, OCI Foundations Associate, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014, CSM Member Posts: 2,712 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Thanks for the I am not a dinosaur comment, ha. I guess everything is relative.

    @JoJo - Funny you mention this, I am finding that even our (data) architects have niche knowledge in one or two spaces. Such as they may have insights into our marketing and sales verticals, but really don't understand the rest. They still hold this positions for years and remain very successful. They collaborate with other architects when they need to restructure a process from a data perspective.

    The only reason why I bring this up, is that just a few years back I was under the assumption they did know most everything in that space, and the fact remain there is just too much information for them too.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,397 Mod
    Just a word of advice...specialise yes but keep an eye on the market. I specialized in Solaris and SPARC once upon a time, and got paid $$$ tons...but kept my eye on the market and saw the writing on the wall. Don't cling to a technology if you see it's going to die or shrink in the next 5 years or so. Upskill and move on.

    My story:
    worked my way up from support to Unix Consultant, got paid tons doing Solairs/SPARC/Netbackup/SAN, ...etc.

    But I saw how the market is going so I studied and passed RHCE. Got a Linux job, paid was on par but the work not to my liking...saw Puppet/DevOps and whole bunch of new tools creeping...so I learned those, and lose interest more and more. With an eye on the market...decided to move to Security!

    now I'm in Security with no real specialisation, but past experience is handy...the trick is I know there is potential for security (broad I know) for the next 10 yrs or so.

    Also, if in the next 10 yrs I'm still living pay check to pay check then I'm financially irresponsible.

    My 2 cents.
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014, CSM Member Posts: 2,712 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Unix great example. You specialized in Unix appliances and when the market shriveled up, you rolled that UNIX experience into a Linux position. Without the initial investment you would of never been able to pick up those other roles so quickly, if at all.

    You have to use some judgement on this strategy. Obviously you aren't going to master configuring one model of a Cisco ASA and call it a day.......

    But learning project management (PS hate it) or Windows server will transfer to other positions. Even COBOL programmers still find work.......... That language has been around for 60 years....

    Look at it from the other side. You'll never get the opportunity to become obsolete if you were never anything to begin with.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,397 Mod
    yes pretty much! Specialise but also pick up transferable skills on the side.
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

  • PC509PC509 CISSP, CEH, CCNA: Security/CyberOps, Sec+, CHFI, A+, Proj+, Server+, MCITP Win7, Vista, MCP Server 2 Oregon, USMember Posts: 802 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Mike7 wrote: »
    Besides shiny objects, I like things that give me god-like powers; domain admin credentials, root access, back doors, exploits... That's why I am learning pen testing. The dark side is just so seductive. :)

    I definitely agree! :)

    When we have someone come out and service our phone systems, they have to call "THE guy" to do it. It's an ancient technology (early 80's is considered 'ancient' these days, so maybe OP is a dinosaur!) and it's not something people really know anymore. But, this guy is the expert and he rakes in the cash doing it. Of course, he's also great with the modern stuff. But, don't completely dismiss the old stuff. You might be "THE guy" when it comes to it.
  • dhay13dhay13 Member Posts: 580 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I am trying to learn a little of everything. I hope to be on the management side of the security sector and feel that the best manager knows a little about every area he manages.
  • ck86ck86 Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    This is what I needed to hear right now. If my career thus far has taught me anything this is it. Now I just need to just get over the hurdle of figuring out what that one thing is.

    My last 6 years have been jack-of-all-trades sysadmin type work with some management, PM and sales sprinkled in and I feel I have next to nothing to show value for years of busting my ass.

    Luckily right now I am in a decent paying, temporary DoD position with extremely low stress so that I can use my brainpower to focus on something else.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,781 Mod
    ck86 wrote: »
    This is what I needed to hear right now. If my career thus far has taught me anything this is it. Now I just need to just get over the hurdle of figuring out what that one thing is.

    My last 6 years have been jack-of-all-trades sysadmin type work with some management, PM and sales sprinkled in and I feel I have next to nothing to show value for years of busting my ass.

    Luckily right now I am in a decent paying, temporary DoD position with extremely low stress so that I can use my brainpower to focus on something else.
    Trust me you have value. All of the sudden, you will get called because of all your different 'jack of all trades' experience. That is what I am dealing with now. It is like I have to fight them off. LOL. Nice problem to have at my young age of 57.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
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