Looking to change careers into IT in Austin TX

LR308LR308 Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am contemplating a carrier change into the IT field more specific Network Engineering. I actually attended school and graduated back in 2010 with a degree in Network Engineering but never entered the field. At the time I was living in a smaller town with not a lot of IT jobs and landed a job in government. I recently relocated to the Austin area where the IT industry is everywhere and has caused me to think about a career change. I know my previous education is really outdated so I will have to start from scratch. I am thinking of studying new technologies, getting my certifications, and take a part time job or volunteer work to gain experience.

There are a couple things holding me back though. My pay is currently in the 75k to 80k but I am cap at around 100k (at almost 20 yrs) even with promotions. Retirement is guarantee after 20 years at 50% of your salary. I am married with children and taking a paycut will be ok but only if temporary.

I am looking for advise and hope some you guys in the Austin area can help me out. I don't know if my plan to study, certify, and take a part time job is a good one. I am also concerned about salary, I know that Network Engineers can start at 65k to 70k for what have researched but what about after 5 yrs? 10 yrs? I am not afraid of work and don't mind working 50 hr or more a week if that is what I have to do in order to up my salary. I also don't know how long will it take to go from entry level IT to Network Engineer?

Thank you guys in advance for any advise or suggestions.


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    First off I think your plan is good. Start studying, grab a CCNA and see what you can find. You can likely find some kind of nights/weekends/part time NOC type gig. It's going to be brutal on you and the family working two jobs though. The guaranteed retirement is going to be extremely hard to match in the private sector tech world for sure. I'd definitely be more worried about that than the salary personally. You could always look to get into IT on the gov side. Might be your easiest in.

    The short term money part is hard to give any real answer on. You'll be stuck on less than 75k for at least a few years unless you luck out. It might take you years at 15-20 dollars an hour to even work your way up to being able to touch networking gear. Someone might like your professional experience and potential enough to slide you straight into a net eng position immediately. So as always, it really just depends.... To give yourself the best shot put together an excellent resume, perfect your interviewing skills, show you're motivated and convince someone to give you that shot. Getting your book knowledge down pat will help them have some confidence in you even if you don't have the hands on.

    Long term money wise your earning ceiling is pretty high. Definitely above the 100k mark. That's mid-level network engineer money depending on location. How serious you are about advancement and what types of roles you get into long term will really dictate where the ceiling is though. Would you eventually move to the consulting side? Technical sales with commission? Stay on the pure tech track and go architecture? Or maybe just be an engineer forever. Good money in all of them regardless compared to most fields.

    As far as Austin specifically I can't offer much. I go often for business but haven't looked too deep into the local job market and earnings.

    Good luck! It's definitely a rewarding career path.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014, CSM Member Posts: 2,607 ■■■■■■■■■□
    No way I would turn my back on a 50% retirement package after only 20 years??? Do you also keep your health care benefits after retirement?
  • LR308LR308 Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you guys. as far as the retirement they take the mandatory 10% so I was thinking if I can make more money in IT for longer I can put extra towards retirement. I could always apply for a government IT job after I get some experience (I saw a networking position where I work a while back but required some years of experience) and stay in the same retirement path.
  • datacombossdatacomboss Member Posts: 304 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You should try City of Austin or Travis County. Many local governments in Texas actually have better pay/benefits than state or federal and are easier to get into because many people can't stand the political environments. Many counties give you 6-12 mo. to attain required certifications.
    "If I were to say, 'God, why me?' about the bad things, then I should have said, 'God, why me?' about the good things that happened in my life."

    Arthur Ashe

  • josephandrejosephandre Member Posts: 315 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Austin has a ton of tech jobs, so you're in a good area to make the switch.

    I'd probably look to Rackspace first, they have a program called TNT that hires you and puts you in a 3 month company bootcamp before moving you into the workplace.
  • IntrusionNewbIntrusionNewb Registered Users Posts: 21 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Good luck. I hear Austin is the great place for tech jobs. I live in Houston and wish we had all the companies Austin does.
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