Re-Joining the IT Field After a Long Absense

mj30250mj30250 Member Posts: 19 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi,

Quick background - 

I am a former IT professional with 7 years of (now ancient) experience in infrastructure and support in an enterprise environment (Windows-based). For the past 14 years, I've worked successfully in a B2B outside sales role (non-IT) and I'd really like to get back into the technology field in the not-too-distant future. I've always enjoyed networking tremendously and completed my CCNP this year. I've also continued to lab and to study current topics (SDN, Python, AWS, DevOps, RHEL, etc). While I'm not looking to venture out into the job-seeking world just yet, once the pandemic situation stabilizes I'd like to get more serious about things. One of the larger obstacles that I'm facing is that I simply cannot accept an entry-level role as I could not support the salary that would come with it. Now, I'm not expecting 6 figure compensation out of the gate, nor do I expect to land a truly CCNP-level job simply because I have the cert, but there is a definite limit to how backwards I can go in terms of salary.

At this point, I'm looking for some direction. What sort of roles should I be seeking out? Should I continue to study hard during my free time? If so, what should I truly focus on? I'm at the point now where I fear that I may start losing more knowledge than I'm gaining since I'm not putting this stuff to use on a full-time basis. Any suggestions would be appreciated. From a job-market perspective, I live in NJ, roughly between Princeton and Philadelphia. Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,854 Admin
    So you are looking for a tech job in a specific salary range and in a specific geographical area of the US. I would say hit the major job boards (LinkedIn, Indeed, Dice, Monster, etc.) and see what job positions fit your parameters and check what education, certification, skills, and experience those hiring managers are asking for. From looking at many job postings, you will get an idea of the major tech areas you should concentrate on for your studies. (Hint: Cloud.)

    Also consider that the post-COVID-19 world will be much more open to remote workers, so think outside your geographical area and notice how many job posting find 100% telework acceptable or even necessary.
  • mj30250mj30250 Member Posts: 19 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm somewhat leary of remote work having been out of the field for so long. I'm envisioning the need to shadow a senior engineer, at least at the beginning, if for no other reason than to fill in gaps relative to basic day to day duties at a minimum. And yes, clearly Cloud is the way of the world these days, which is why I've been reading up and labbing SDN, AWS, etc. I'm open to suggestions on how to best leverage my current Cisco skillset in this area.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,854 Admin
    So you are going to be looking for field work or work inside a (Cloud) data center. Those are two types of jobs areas that can't be remoted. It sounds like Cisco knowledge and experience will come in handy in both areas. Check the postings on the usual job boards (LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, Dice, etc.) for what's needed in those job areas. Have you checked if Cisco Networking Academy has any help for job placement?
  • AzazelloAzazello PMP, ISO 27001, CCNA, CCENT, Network+ Member Posts: 17 ■■■□□□□□□□
    mj30250 said:
    I'm somewhat leary of remote work having been out of the field for so long. I'm envisioning the need to shadow a senior engineer, at least at the beginning, if for no other reason than to fill in gaps relative to basic day to day duties at a minimum. And yes, clearly Cloud is the way of the world these days, which is why I've been reading up and labbing SDN, AWS, etc. I'm open to suggestions on how to best leverage my current Cisco skillset in this area.
    (Pre-/Post-)Sales Engineer would be an excellent transition point:-- your previous tech experience (no matter how 'ancient') will be way beyond what most sales folks have had; you'ld help the sales teams present to customers the technical aspects of whatever product/service the company is selling; and you'ld be expected to use & know the offering from the tech angle as a power-user. Don't worry - tech support & developers will still be there for go-to troubleshooting help; you'ld be the initial link in the support chain. More senior SEs will be there to guide your development.

    If you want to harden your networking knowledge with practical experience, go for network roles that do not require CCNP - instead, go for those that desire (or require) CCNA. This way, you can promote your cert as a higher credential than the role needs. Although note, it'll be recognized that you have less practical experience, so be ready to see alot of junior roles in this area.
Sign In or Register to comment.