Not sure what to do next

IT-FellaIT-Fella Member Posts: 63 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hey guys,

This might sound like another thread "I need advice" but I certainly don't mind getting one :)
I've been in IT for about 10 years, and my current position is Systems/Network Administrator. I work for a relatively large company - 7000+ users, 3 datacenters, 50+ locations nationwide. I'm a member of systems team, and currently don't do much of any network related tasks on global scale, however I'm still managing and configuring switches and firewalls in my state. My daily activities: Citrix, O365, Windows servers, VMWare, backups and anything in between.
I recently achieved 2 Citrix certifications and I definitely enjoy app/desktop virtualization, however, I don't see it expanding that much, and there are only 250-350 simultaneous users in Citrix on any given day. I don't mind exploring other jobs out there and hopefully get into the place with more users and more challenges. I also came across a few DevOps jobs, but I'm not sure what is required to be considered for those (I have Computer Science degree and some experience with programming and scripting (C++/#, Powershell).
My question is, given the scenario I described, what would be the next logical certification I should work on? I wouldn't mind getting an MCSE (Azure or O365) cert, but that one doesn't seem to hold much weight. I also looked at VCP but that one requires paying for the classroom and I'm not sure if I can have my company pay for it. I don't think I'm interested in any security certs either.
Basically, my plan is to work as a (Sr) Systems Engineer for several more years (maybe for another company) and then transition into management role (I was an IT Manager for a small-sized company in the past and had 5 direct reports). I feel like working on technical side of things has a salary cap.

I would appreciate any feedback and guidance.

Comments

  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,781 Mod
    Why don't you start sending out your resume to the jobs that fit your interest? It doesn't hurt to put out feelers.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • IT-FellaIT-Fella Member Posts: 63 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Why don't you start sending out your resume to the jobs that fit your interest? It doesn't hurt to put out feelers.
    I'm always casually looking for new opportunities, applying on weekly basis, doing phone interviews on bi-weekly-monthly basis. The thing is, my general set of skills is enough to lure the recruiter or job poster, but there are always additional requirements that are different from position to position. For instance, some require SCCM, which I don't have experience with, some require more AWS and less Azure and vice versa. So if I dedicate my time to learning SCCM, AWS how would I make sure that there will be a SCCM, AWS, *insert any technology here* job down the road?
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sounds like you have dabbled in a few different things and don't know your current heading. Yes typically management pays a bit more but it also has its caps out too unless you want to truly reach for the top. I used to work for a lot of middle managers and that's all they ever will be / earn. Do they make a decent living? Sure but to me they don't provide a ton of value to the org they work. Honestly I look at them as more expendable than a good tech with good skills under their belt that is building / making things happen. Honestly the reason I say that is because many of them were crappy managers. Not to say you would be a crappy manager though. I just have zero desire to do it and have a bit of bias opinion.

    However if mgmt is where you truly want to go then why waste time with more tech? As a manager those skill are going to slowly rot away because you are not using them, you are leading the people that use them. Why no focus more on the business aspects, ITIL, learning leadership, etc. I think your best option is to try to get under someone's belt that IS A GOOD manager. Learn from them and grow into that kind of role. I almost went down that same path in the past. I had a great manager in a previous company and he took me under his wing. However I never felt completely satisfied with the idea of management and have always been a techy guy and knew that is what I was passionate about so I didn't peruse the mgmt role.

    I'd like to also add tech doesn't cap out entirely either. It just like management is all about how far you set your goals to ascend. Every role has it's limits but then one must ask themselves, do I break away from the current role and seek the next challenge?
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • PhalanxPhalanx I have many leatherbound books... United KingdomMember Posts: 331 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you're looking at management, ITIL is a great choice. Although to be fair, it is also a great choice for technical people too in some areas. :)
    Client & Security: Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator Associate | MCSE: Mobility
    Server & Networking: MCSA: Windows Server 2016 | MTA: Networking Fundamentals
    Data Privacy & Project/Service Management: PECB GDPR DPO/Practitioner | ITIL 2011: Foundation | CompTIA Project+
    Currently Studying: Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert
  • kiki162kiki162 Member Posts: 635 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Managing SCCM more falls into the sysadmin realm, so if you want to stay with those types of positions, it certainly could help. However, I would suggest leaning towards AWS and move into Linux administration. You can use your existing sysadmin experience and apply that into cloud stuff such as AWS. If you are working heavy in VMWare, then look at the VM forums here, plus look at stanly.edu VMWare courses, as they are the cheapest way to getting your VCP. Get your MCSE out of the way first as that will certainly help you gain leverage. DevOps is going to require Linux experience in most cases. Working towards getting a new job with heavy Linux usage would be beneficial.
  • IT-FellaIT-Fella Member Posts: 63 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Sounds like you have dabbled in a few different things and don't know your current heading. Yes typically management pays a bit more but it also has its caps out too unless you want to truly reach for the top. I used to work for a lot of middle managers and that's all they ever will be / earn. Do they make a decent living? Sure but to me they don't provide a ton of value to the org they work. Honestly I look at them as more expendable than a good tech with good skills under their belt that is building / making things happen. Honestly the reason I say that is because many of them were crappy managers. Not to say you would be a crappy manager though. I just have zero desire to do it and have a bit of bias opinion.


    However if mgmt is where you truly want to go then why waste time with more tech? As a manager those skill are going to slowly rot away because you are not using them, you are leading the people that use them. Why no focus more on the business aspects, ITIL, learning leadership, etc. I think your best option is to try to get under someone's belt that IS A GOOD manager. Learn from them and grow into that kind of role. I almost went down that same path in the past. I had a great manager in a previous company and he took me under his wing. However I never felt completely satisfied with the idea of management and have always been a techy guy and knew that is what I was passionate about so I didn't peruse the mgmt role.


    I'd like to also add tech doesn't cap out entirely either. It just like management is all about how far you set your goals to ascend. Every role has it's limits but then one must ask themselves, do I break away from the current role and seek the next challenge?
    You nailed it on the head! I don't really want to become a manager, because I would also prefer to do the actual work and not sit in endless meetings and conference calls. Also, I do believe that middle and sometimes higher managers are let go first when times are tough. On the same note, I feel like it's impossible to get above $130-150K (nationwide, not Bay Area, DC or NYC salaries) being a technical lead and not in management.
    Anyway, I share the same mindset on tech vs management.

    kiki162 wrote: »
    Managing SCCM more falls into the sysadmin realm, so if you want to stay with those types of positions, it certainly could help. However, I would suggest leaning towards AWS and move into Linux administration. You can use your existing sysadmin experience and apply that into cloud stuff such as AWS. If you are working heavy in VMWare, then look at the VM forums here, plus look at stanly.edu VMWare courses, as they are the cheapest way to getting your VCP. Get your MCSE out of the way first as that will certainly help you gain leverage. DevOps is going to require Linux experience in most cases. Working towards getting a new job with heavy Linux usage would be beneficial.
    I wanted to move into Linux administration but I just happened to find a good position in Windows environment and my exposure to Linux in the last 2 years was almost non-existent. I worked with AWS (not used in my current role) for the last 3 years simply because I work as a consultant for a place that have their stuff in AWS, however they don't really use Linux that much. I'm not sure if I've seen as many Linux roles as Windows even though those Linux roles tend to get paid a bit more.
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'd love to settle into 130k-150k! However I see your point.

    Most places (in average cost of living areas) aren't going to hire an in-house tech with full benefits for that kind of money often. If they do you better be a rock star! My previous job we had techy people with those roles (Network SMEs) making 150k+. Really they were more of technical advisors / consultants at that point making the next technical decisions with a group of others on that same level for the company (this was for a top global financial firm of 200k+ employees). However they didn't do much of the technical grunt work. So they had some money to throw at people like that.

    The way I see myself branching into 130k+ is to become something like that, or get into consulting. There are firms in my area that strictly provide those types of services (pre-sales) type stuff. Yet, I need a few credentials (CCIE) and a few more years under my belt before I would feel comfortable taking a risk like that.

    The way I see it. The more money you want to make the more you are going to have to risk and expose yourself. If you are not comfortable with that then you better stay put doing your average grunt work job which is viewed as easily replaceable (no matter how good you are). This is what I told myself taking a recent new job. Previously I was making 30% less but I only had few finite responsibilities. Now it's just me and another guy and we are constantly the voice of our tech for the company. So I am much more removed from my comfort zone and exposed to my company for the decisions I make. However the pay also went up too :)
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
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