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Programmer VS Networking/System Career

davidvoyagedavidvoyage Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi guys,

I'm a fresh grad from University with Comp. Sci degree.(They didn't teach network stuff in University, only JAVA programming and theory stuff) Most of my friends pursue their career in programming. They still couldn't find a job, because University didn't teach the REAL stuff :p Some of them decide to go to college for 1 more year in programming and others self study .NET and C#.

Me on the other hand, I start studying Network+ cert, and plan to do MCSE and Cisco later. However, I feel so lonely...all my friends are in programming. Some of them say Network/System admins are just "repair guys". Those managers may expect you to know everything I.T. stuff and scold you if you can't fix the network/PC in 5 mins etc...and I start to think if I'm making the wrong decision...

They also say that programmer can become a "PM" (Project Manager) or Software Developer later. But Network guy will always be the "repair guy". This really make me worry.... icon_sad.gif

I'm a bit confused and don't know what should I do now. Should I change to do programming instead?

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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    First I have never worked on the programing side so I can not give you much insight on that. If you decide to go network/systems admin, yes you will be required to "repair" the network. Its not like you are a mechanic or anything though :D Although simple hardware repair may sometimes be required.

    You can also work your way into project management of network/systems projects. Why would they hire a programer to lead a networking project??

    They will not expect you to know everything when you start out. That is what entry level positions are for. If you want to go into the network or systems admin side of things then go for it. It may be a hard road, but if it is what you enjoy then that is what you should do. There is nothing worse than doing a job you don't enjoy.


    Also remember people are always afraid of the unknown............
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    NetstudentNetstudent Member Posts: 1,693 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Network admin just a repair guy? Who were you talking to because they obviously don't know anything about the industry. Sounds like something a young college kid with no experience would say. There is a lot more to IT than just repairing. YOu could go into Network security or engineering. Do you think you can be a programmer for the rest of your life? Being a programmer takes a certain "type" of person. I kinda see it as a love hate relationship. YOu either love it or you hate it. I mean if you like to do it and it interestes you then go for it. If you have your sites set on IT, then don't listen to people who say that IT is only about repairing because that is very naive. Ya you may start out at an entry level job where you may have to do user support and repairing, but everyone has to pay their dues. But reparing a problem or the network is just comes with the territory. Would you rather reapir code or repair something tangible like a network? IT is a very challenging and rewarding career, so go for it! DOn;t let other people influence what you want to do. This is your life and your career. Good luck!
    There is no place like 127.0.0.1 BUT 209.62.5.3 is my 127.0.0.1 away from 127.0.0.1!
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    famosbrownfamosbrown Member Posts: 637
    Programming is MUCH more money and job security than network/systems admin right out of college. Most organizations have a Programming/software engineer staff of hundreds to thousands and LAN staff (help desk, sys/net admin) or tens...depending on amount of users.

    In the Sys/Networking side, you will be competing against those who have been in the industry since high school with many certifications. There are many competitors in this field, so the pay is competitive as well.

    You learned programming in school, and if you are comfortable with it, do it. More money out of school and you usually get compensated for your education in this side of IT.
    B.S.B.A. (Management Information Systems)
    M.B.A. (Technology Management)
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    davidvoyagedavidvoyage Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thx for your replies guys. Actually, I'm still pretty lost myself. Here is my whole story, please take your time to read it.

    -6 years ago in a pre-University institute, I started programming in C++. I loved that course, and I was thinking I'm going to be a programmer in the future. At that time I even programed a little "command type" game. I did well in school(90% average in programming courses) Prof. likes me and I'm one of the "star" student in my programming class. I was happy with programming and I must say at that time....I enjoyed it a lot. At that time, one of my friend asked me if I want to become a computer technician in the future, and I replies NO, I want to be a programmer!

    -Unfortunately, once I went to University....things have change. It's a well known University and students are pretty smart(A LOT smarter than those students in my Pre-U). Also, programming assignments become LONGER with VERY LIMIT amount of time. At that time I can only take 1 programming course per semester....can't take more. I ended up using 50+ hours to finished 1 programming assignment(the others spent 30 hours). And I just got 65-70% around the average(and sometime below average). I even pay money to a tutor to work on my programming assignment! My friends around me hate programming too and always talk bad things about programming at that time. It was at that moment that I start to lose interest in computer programming, it seems I'm not that good in programming afterall...
    Therefore from that time to present, I've never program stuff for myself. I program for my assignments only. Come to think of it, I haven't touch C++/JAVA for 3 years now :p

    -It was also at that moment that I start to learn about the existence of computer certification such as A+, Network+, MCSE certification...I start to have little interest on those things instead. I also heard that programmers have LONG working hours, people said they don't have time for their family in the future. After knowing all these, I start to....dislike programming...and more interest on networking.

    However, things doesn't end here...

    -After graduated, those friends who blame computer programming now follow the programming track. They start self-studying .NET, C#, JAVA, VB etc...and on the other hand, I start to work on Networking track. They also tell me that Programming jobs nowadays WORKS AT HOME! OMG, I was like WTF?? That means I can spend time with my family in the future right?
    I don't know, but I feel like I'm the only one who QUIT.

    From my other thread in this forum, it seems if I go to networking track, my entry level jobs may be repairing computers or desktop supports. The "Reparing computers" parts seems like "not that good". And Desktop Support is even worse (cuz I hate talking on the phone).

    *sigh* I feel so lost. But this time I need to make a clear decision that I won't regret in the future.
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    sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    famosbrown wrote:
    Programming is MUCH more money and job security than network/systems admin right out of college. Most organizations have a Programming/software engineer staff of hundreds to thousands and LAN staff (help desk, sys/net admin) or tens...depending on amount of users.

    My company does IT contract work for the DoD, and we employ about 10 Help Desk folks for every LAN/System Admin, and about 3 LAN guys to every programmer. Many many many companies have an IT staff of just Help Desk and LAN Admins with no programming department at all. Not all companies need programmers, but any company that has a LAN needs LAN Admins - generally speaking. As for the money thing, entry level programmers make more than help desk, but I don't know that they do a lot better than entry level network guys. At least not enough to warrant an all caps "MUCH" more statement. And down the road a ways I have seen faster gains for the network guys while the programmers tend to level out faster.

    That's just the trends I have seen that are different from what you've seen. Either career path is a good one if you enjoy it.
    All things are possible, only believe.
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    If you hate programming and hate support and break/fix... wow. I don't know what to say.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
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    snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    everybody has to cut thier teeth in IT one way or another. I did (and still do from time to time) helpdesk at my job before I became net admin. Does it suck? "YES" in caps would be an understatement. Ignorant users, hardware repair (yes, it happens), awkward over-the-phone calls, password resets, "my speakers arent working..." etc; all thats part of the game. But I know for a fact it has made me a better net admin. Also, Im steering away form helpdesk and might add another member to IT for helpdesk soon. I know that network like the back of my hand now. and you know what, I got a pay raise after 2-3 years of strictly helpdesk, and I was WAY overdue. If you can hold out for a year or two, you can usually move up in the company, or try somewhere else.


    For you, I say do what you feel like, and not what you friends say. They really have no clue what IT really is. However, much like any other industry, for every good there is an evil.


    good luck on your career choice
    **** ARE FOR CHUMPS! Don't be a chump! Validate your material with certguard.com search engine

    :study: Current 2015 Goals: JNCIP-SEC JNCIS-ENT CCNA-Security
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    snadam wrote:
    For you, I say do what you feel like, and not what you friends say. They really have no clue what IT really is.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
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    seuss_ssuesseuss_ssues Member Posts: 629
    I have to agree with sprkymrk.

    There are alot more companies that require helpdesk/support/admin positions than programmers. I also agree on his thoughts on the pay system. The people i graduated with started out higher than I did, but im gaining on them very very quickly and will pass the majority of them in the next 2 years.

    It really all boils down to what you enjoy. I started as a CS major and changed to a CIT/MIS type degree. I enjoy programming but it gets old very quickly and i knew i could never do it 40-50 hours a week.

    Either track has a lot of opportunity and either path can lead to managerial or other high level positions. Money isnt everything.....its nice to enjoy what you do.
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    sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    Developers are a dime a dozen. Anyone can pound out code.
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
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    TeslTesl Member Posts: 87 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Developers are a dime a dozen. Anyone can pound out code.

    Network Techs are a dime a dozen. Anyone can connect cables together.
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,054 Admin
    Developers are a dime a dozen. Anyone can pound out code.
    If that's the case, lets start recruiting and organizing housewives and homeless people to be an army of corporate programmers and free the USA from the need of off-shoring software development projects!
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    WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    The problem with this comparison is that both the 'description' programmers and network/system admin is too general. A network or system admin job at one company can be entirely different from the same job function at another company. The same thing goes for 'programmer'. There are good, bad, fun, boring, and challenging jobs in both are(n)as. The same goes for working hours and chances to become a project manager.

    Your friends are obviously not objective, and the part about 'repair guy' is just nonsense. Just as programming it entails a lot of problem solving, the main difference being that with programming you often create your own problems to solve. Considering this is about how you spend your days and not your friends', I suggest going with what you enjoy most.

    Regardless of which road you'll choose, programming skills will come in handy if you become a network/sys admin, and knowledge of and experience with networks and Windows systems will be useful as a programmer too.
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    davidvoyagedavidvoyage Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all your replies guys :D

    It seems that the answer is: "Do what I enjoy the most". At least for now, I think I enjoy networking a bit more. One obstacle to me is finding an entry level job on networking, like desktop/phone support. I think I need to overcome my fear on phone support + face to face contact :S (But since I'm afraid of these kind of contact...employer may not hire me. icon_cry.gif )

    So I think I'm going for the networking track. If I lose interest in networking in the future, I may try programming. But yeah, have BOTH seems to be the best lol...But I'll focus on networking now.
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    dgbarrdgbarr Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    A lot of my coworkers dont particularly like calling customers and telling them bad news. And some of them are enjoyed deliver bad news to customers. You just have to realize that most customers are not mad at you (even if they direct it at you). They are just upset at the situation. And they will most likely forget your name (and not try to stalk you) after they hang up or walk away from you.

    Probably my pet peeve is trying to give support to those that do need to go to some community college and learn how to operate a computer probably. But that is mostly because I do not have a lot of patience explaining in depth over the phone on how to use a particular program.
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    bertiebbertieb Member Posts: 1,031 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I think I need to overcome my fear on phone support + face to face contact

    My first job was a trainee computer engineer. What it should have been called was 'Telephone Helpdesk Support' as I was immediately dumped in at the deep end and put on the telephones, despite knowing very little about the things I was supposed to be giving advice on.

    In those days, I was completely nervous, hated face to face or even telephone contact with anyone I didn't know. However, I desperately wanted to succeed (and pay back my employers who took a chance on me) so I just fought at it in order to progress and get more confidence.

    You can do it, just have a little more confidence in yourself and think of it as a learning experience :)
    The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they are genuine - Abraham Lincoln
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    ParmenidesParmenides Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I really am not in the know, but from observing, it seems like the 20+ years experienced programmer has more to worry about job security than the experienced admin type guy. I guess the main thing is that programming jobs are easier to take overseas. Does this sound accurate?
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    sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    JDMurray wrote:
    Developers are a dime a dozen. Anyone can pound out code.
    If that's the case, lets start recruiting and organizing housewives and homeless people to be an army of corporate programmers and free the USA from the need of off-shoring software development projects!

    It already exists. It's called "Microsoft". icon_lol.gif
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
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    jbaellojbaello Member Posts: 1,191 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thx for your replies guys. Actually, I'm still pretty lost myself. Here is my whole story, please take your time to read it.

    -6 years ago in a pre-University institute, I started programming in C++. I loved that course, and I was thinking I'm going to be a programmer in the future. At that time I even programed a little "command type" game. I did well in school(90% average in programming courses) Prof. likes me and I'm one of the "star" student in my programming class. I was happy with programming and I must say at that time....I enjoyed it a lot. At that time, one of my friend asked me if I want to become a computer technician in the future, and I replies NO, I want to be a programmer!

    -Unfortunately, once I went to University....things have change. It's a well known University and students are pretty smart(A LOT smarter than those students in my Pre-U). Also, programming assignments become LONGER with VERY LIMIT amount of time. At that time I can only take 1 programming course per semester....can't take more. I ended up using 50+ hours to finished 1 programming assignment(the others spent 30 hours). And I just got 65-70% around the average(and sometime below average). I even pay money to a tutor to work on my programming assignment! My friends around me hate programming too and always talk bad things about programming at that time. It was at that moment that I start to lose interest in computer programming, it seems I'm not that good in programming afterall...
    Therefore from that time to present, I've never program stuff for myself. I program for my assignments only. Come to think of it, I haven't touch C++/JAVA for 3 years now :p

    -It was also at that moment that I start to learn about the existence of computer certification such as A+, Network+, MCSE certification...I start to have little interest on those things instead. I also heard that programmers have LONG working hours, people said they don't have time for their family in the future. After knowing all these, I start to....dislike programming...and more interest on networking.

    However, things doesn't end here...

    -After graduated, those friends who blame computer programming now follow the programming track. They start self-studying .NET, C#, JAVA, VB etc...and on the other hand, I start to work on Networking track. They also tell me that Programming jobs nowadays WORKS AT HOME! OMG, I was like WTF?? That means I can spend time with my family in the future right?
    I don't know, but I feel like I'm the only one who QUIT.

    From my other thread in this forum, it seems if I go to networking track, my entry level jobs may be repairing computers or desktop supports. The "Reparing computers" parts seems like "not that good". And Desktop Support is even worse (cuz I hate talking on the phone).

    *sigh* I feel so lost. But this time I need to make a clear decision that I won't regret in the future.

    It takes a lot to be a programmer, cause programming involves developing software, and requires a good understanding of a particular language, my major was programming, and I was sidetracked because of the outsource and 9/11 back 2001 when I migrated to the US, if you decide to be a programmer, you will need to love what you do, otherwise you'll have a hardtime, programming requires a lot of practice so you can get familiar with different functions of a particular source code, the only downside is if you decide to get back in programming you will need to start as an intern, or a jr. programmer, a lot of companies requires solid exprerience when applying for a programming/software development position.

    My 2 cents!
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    jbaellojbaello Member Posts: 1,191 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Parmenides wrote:
    I really am not in the know, but from observing, it seems like the 20+ years experienced programmer has more to worry about job security than the experienced admin type guy. I guess the main thing is that programming jobs are easier to take overseas. Does this sound accurate?

    This is indeed very accurate, it only takes an email to tranfer a source code from any place in the world. As I mentioned in my last reply, there was not a lot of job back in 2001 for fresh graduate, because of outsourcing to India.
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    famosbrownfamosbrown Member Posts: 637
    sprkymrk wrote:
    famosbrown wrote:
    Programming is MUCH more money and job security than network/systems admin right out of college. Most organizations have a Programming/software engineer staff of hundreds to thousands and LAN staff (help desk, sys/net admin) or tens...depending on amount of users.

    My company does IT contract work for the DoD, and we employ about 10 Help Desk folks for every LAN/System Admin, and about 3 LAN guys to every programmer. Many many many companies have an IT staff of just Help Desk and LAN Admins with no programming department at all. Not all companies need programmers, but any company that has a LAN needs LAN Admins - generally speaking. As for the money thing, entry level programmers make more than help desk, but I don't know that they do a lot better than entry level network guys. At least not enough to warrant an all caps "MUCH" more statement. And down the road a ways I have seen faster gains for the network guys while the programmers tend to level out faster.

    That's just the trends I have seen that are different from what you've seen. Either career path is a good one if you enjoy it.


    True...and I could probably guess the DOD agency who employs you. Just think...if that agency isn't using in-house programmers, then they are contracting it too...if they are interested in custom applications that do the job for them rather than buying COTS that do more than what they need.

    There are millions of different types of software that need to be programmed, customized, created, etc. There aren't many types of networks and many can VB Script to get the job done. Do a search on Carerrbuilder and look at what Software Engineers are making. What is an entry level network tech? Find me an entry'level network TECH making over 60K. Or...find me an entry-level Network TECH position that didn't require some type of desktop work first. In this side of I.T., you have pay your dues first before making it up the pay chart for sys./Net Admin/Engineering. There is a lot to learn before getting to that level. Programming on the other had is learned and used extensively in college, and bringing someone from college to the staff will introduce new ideas, new ways to do things, better customization, etc. Without VB Script, we all pretty much will do certain things in Net/Sys Admin the same way according to what we've learned from books...as you get a few years under your belt, you will find better ways or applications to do things.

    The DOD agency I used to work for, which one of it's buildings are second largest to the Pentagon employ thousands of programmers to create and customize appplications specific for their job. Additionally, they bring in hundred of contractors for things like SAP customizing, which has been going on for 3 years now, and it still isn't done. Contract work includes a Help desk staff of less than 10, with government LAN employees.
    B.S.B.A. (Management Information Systems)
    M.B.A. (Technology Management)
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    garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    From my experience, programmers can be hired out of college at 50k-60K. A lot of universities have placement programs and great job recruiting for programmers. I really don't consider programmers IT at all as they don't fall under the same restrictions and guidelines as us. Networking/IT is defiantly responsibility oriented and driven my experience which a college grad don't have, hence why IT guys with only a high school diploma can be paid pretty decent.
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    sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    famosbrown wrote:
    True...and I could probably guess the DOD agency who employs you. Just think...if that agency isn't using in-house programmers, then they are contracting it too...if they are interested in custom applications that do the job for them rather than buying COTS that do more than what they need.

    DISA itself announced last year a 5-year plan to move completely to COTS. They admit that the DoD sucks at writing their own software and supporting it. Due to all the red tape and politics the software is outdated and requirements have changed before a project is halfway done. Much of the DoD follows DISA's lead in these things.

    Many entry level programming jobs are going over seas from what I can see and hear in the news.
    famosbrown wrote:
    Do a search on Carerrbuilder and look at what Software Engineers are making.
    At your suggestion I did, and for a bachelor's degree doing various forms of programming (many of the entry-level jobs posted required 1-2 years experience in multiple languages) started at around 50K in the DC and surrounding areas.
    famosbrown wrote:
    What is an entry level network tech?
    Don't pretend you don't know famos. :) That could be anything with the "analyst" or "level 1 support" attached to the Network job title. It's typically someone familiar with networking, maybe certified in Cisco stuff, may or may not have a degree. An example I found that followed the norms is one by Lockheed in the DC area for a Network / Systems Monitor. Required experience was also 1 year and education was a 2 year degree. The description actually includes the wording "This is typically the equivalent of an entry-level network administration position.". This had a starting slary of 43K and was fairly representative of other postings.

    That's not quite the huge difference you claim. I am not knocking programmers or programming at all. Either career path is fine depending on your likes/dislikes.
    famosbrown wrote:
    There aren't many types of networks,
    but then you go on to say
    famosbrown wrote:
    have pay your dues first before making it up the pay chart for sys./Net Admin/Engineering.There is a lot to learn before getting to that level.

    So which is it? Easy because all networks are the same or hard with a lot to learn?
    All things are possible, only believe.
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    davidvoyagedavidvoyage Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I just woke up today and I thought about some further problem:

    In my current situation, I've no experience in networking, and no job experience as a programmer. However, I learned my programming C++ in my Pre-University and JAVA from my B.Sc degree in Comp. Sci. (around 4 programming courses. Courses such as "Intro to JAVA", "JAVA Data Structure", "Software Design with JAVA" "Programming Concepts" in Scheme and PROLOG languages. ). So is that means that I somehow have "MORE experience" in programming then networking in my current situation?(You can say that I start programming SIX YEARS AGO! (so 6 years experiences? ) However, I must say they didn't teach GUI part of JAVA...they are focus on ALGORITHMS and DATA STRUCTURE.

    Also I read you guys replies again today, and if I do networking now, I'll be competing with those people who already have cert. since high school!!. In other words, I'll be competing with people who ALREADY have MANY certifications or experience! And since we didn't teach networking at my University...WILL MY DEGREE USELESS FOR NETWORKING JOBS???? If thats the case, then I will be at the same level as high school grad with certs right?
    For some reasons, it seems "more normal" for a University Grad that doesn't have JOB experience in programming then Desktop Support... I don't know but I somehow feel that "programmers/developers" required University degree more than "Desktop support/Networking" who required Certs.

    I really want to be a Project manager in the future...not just network admin.. But many people told me it's more reasonable for a programmer to become PM. The paths are like this actually:
    Programmer --> Developer ----> PM
    Desktop support --> Network Admin
    > PM
    It seems more likely for a developer to become a project manager....

    In average the salary of PM is higher than Network Admin..and Network admin salary is comparable to Developer I guess...

    If I choose the networking path, I feel like I'm behind the others...(no certs, no experience) . But I choose the programming path, I feel I'm at the same steps as many others..
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    SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    Also I read you guys replies again today, and if I do networking now, I'll be competing with those people who already have cert. since high school!!. In other words, I'll be competing with people who ALREADY have MANY certifications or experience!

    Keep in mind that these are the www.techexams.net forums for people preparing to take IT certifications and to discuss IT topics with similar minded people. If you went to a programmers forum you would likely find a lot of people with more programming experience at your age as well.

    Learning C++ and Java scripting doesn't just benefit a programmer. You have other options than just the standard Network or Programmer paths that you outlined. Many security folks blend some of the skills learned in both of these areas. You can't secure a network unless you know how one operates and you can't test applications for vulnerabilities if you don't understanding how they work.

    Your degree is not useless for networking jobs. If you plan to do any degree of high level programming you will need much more than just what you learned in obtaining your degree. A computer science degree can help get your foot in the door with potential employers in either area, but that is about it.

    We can certainly offer suggestions, but can't make a decision for you. Don't believe all of the stereotypes you hear and realize that whatever you pick you will like spend years doing, so it should be something you can accomplish with a high degree of success and something you can see yourself doing for a long period of time.
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    sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Two comments my friend:

    1. Don't worry. You worry too much. icon_cool.gif
    2. What Schluep said. :)
    All things are possible, only believe.
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    NetstudentNetstudent Member Posts: 1,693 ■■■□□□□□□□
    There will always be people that have more experience or more skills. You can't let that deter you from what you want to do. That should be motivation. These fields are highly competitive so you better be busting your ass to become as skilled as you possibly can. Look at it like this, you will have a solid foundation in programming, and then you can learn networking on the job. If you have both skills under your belt, you will be highly valuable. I know a lot of people who have CS degrees and don't write one peice of code. I also know others who have a CS degree and went into Networking and were able to develop both skills and they have very high paying jobs. Plus if you have both skills, you will always have a fallback option and you will be more marketable. Also if you look at job descriptions, a CS degree is probably the most saught after for both programming and networking. A degree shows that you have a good aptitude, drive to learn, and intelligence. It doesn;t always mean that you are going to be this high level professional right out of college.

    It doesn't matter if you have programming skills or networking skills, you are still going to come out of college and get an entry level job where you will learn things that are not taught in a classroom. So you aren't going to know everything coming out of college and employers know that. Don't worry so much about everyone else, you do the best you can, work hard, and I assure you everthing will fall into place. Just be ambitious and work hard and the sky is the limit man.
    There is no place like 127.0.0.1 BUT 209.62.5.3 is my 127.0.0.1 away from 127.0.0.1!
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    famosbrownfamosbrown Member Posts: 637
    sprkymrk wrote:
    famosbrown wrote:
    True...and I could probably guess the DOD agency who employs you. Just think...if that agency isn't using in-house programmers, then they are contracting it too...if they are interested in custom applications that do the job for them rather than buying COTS that do more than what they need.

    DISA itself announced last year a 5-year plan to move completely to COTS. They admit that the DoD sucks at writing their own software and supporting it. Due to all the red tape and politics the software is outdated and requirements have changed before a project is halfway done. Much of the DoD follows DISA's lead in these things.

    Many entry level programming jobs are going over seas from what I can see and hear in the news.

    famosbrown wrote:
    Do a search on Carerrbuilder and look at what Software Engineers are making.
    At your suggestion I did, and for a bachelor's degree doing various forms of programming (many of the entry-level jobs posted required 1-2 years experience in multiple languages) started at around 50K in the DC and surrounding areas.
    famosbrown wrote:
    What is an entry level network tech?
    Don't pretend you don't know famos. :) That could be anything with the "analyst" or "level 1 support" attached to the Network job title. It's typically someone familiar with networking, maybe certified in Cisco stuff, may or may not have a degree. An example I found that followed the norms is one by Lockheed in the DC area for a Network / Systems Monitor. Required experience was also 1 year and education was a 2 year degree. The description actually includes the wording "This is typically the equivalent of an entry-level network administration position.". This had a starting slary of 43K and was fairly representative of other postings.

    That's not quite the huge difference you claim. I am not knocking programmers or programming at all. Either career path is fine depending on your likes/dislikes.
    famosbrown wrote:
    There aren't many types of networks,
    but then you go on to say
    famosbrown wrote:
    have pay your dues first before making it up the pay chart for sys./Net Admin/Engineering.There is a lot to learn before getting to that level.

    So which is it? Easy because all networks are the same or hard with a lot to learn?[/quote]


    DFAS is totally in house and they are responsible for the finances, pay checks, vouchers, etc. for DOD personnell such as Army, Navy, AirForce, etc., along with it's civilians.

    Outsourcing programming has been around for years, but that hasn't stopped the huge salaries for college grads right out of college. I have two colleagues who are near 6 digits writing code for a couple of software products you might have used that is COTS. I also have a colleague that I happened to run into at lunch who is making more than me as a software engineer developing health care applications.

    That salary is pretty low in DC (43k a year)...I'm from the area, but that average is pretty high for someone doing help desk support in say the state of Indiana...that's over 20 bucks an hour. I went to school in Indiana, and starting salaries for most of the programmers are 50K+. There are also companies who bring in college graduates as interns, like say DFAS, and in two years they are GS11 Step 5. Not bad money for a 24 year old working in a team of hundreds with a little role or code to deal with :D .

    :D I asked what is a Network Tech because many people have different definitions. My definition of a Network Tech is someone who is learning to become a Network Administrator. They are cabling, basic configuration of switches and routers, IP scheming, installing AP's, using network monitoring tools both software and hardware/handheld, etc. I don't see this person as a help desk, break/fix PC, answering questions about how to disable offline files in Outlook. This person would have already paid his dues doing desktop support, or have the education to support him jumping into this role. I would not place a college graduate with a CS major in this role...I doubt he was even taught the different wiring schemes for Cat 5, and if he was, he probably don't remember or use the tools to get the job done. I would start him off as desktop support and allow him to observe other Network Technicians perform some tasks. Once he gets some time under his belt, I could bring him up and train.

    Well...most networks are the same, and most people willl do the same because they have either googled the same stuff, read the same books, and in some cases used the same **** to pass an exam icon_mad.gif , but it takes experience to go beyond that. There are just some things the book won't go into. Not every person with an MCSE have experienced recovering from an enterprise disaster. there are efficient ways of doing things, and more efficient ways of doing things. Some will just give admin rights and it works, and some will know how to dig deep in to the registry and the OS structure to get it to work with limited privileges. The ones who have experienced more SCENARIOS in the network/sys fields, have more understanding of the things not laid out in the book, for instance the registry structure and what each entry mean, dll identifying, ability to make COTS or custom applications work on their network, etc. are the ones who are going to get paid the big bucks. Pretty soon, there will be a plethora of people seeking and learning the new technologies, but no knowledge of the older 2000/2003. Try having a college kid migrate NT to AD :) . Most college kids can step right in and understand code in a particular language and contribute. You can't take a guy who just received his A+, Net+, and MCSA, with only one year of Help Desk experience and give him an entire enterprise to manage. If he is knowledgeable, able to learn fast, and the employer has some patience, maybe...but the majority of the time, you need someone there to help groom him. this is mostly different than a programmer. A programmer might have to learn a new programming language, but the Object Oriented or Structured logic is still the same.

    Alright...I blabbered long enough, and I wouldn't even read it (too long)...in fact, I probably won't! Just my 2 cents :) .
    B.S.B.A. (Management Information Systems)
    M.B.A. (Technology Management)
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    CyberMadaraCyberMadara Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Observed the world how it revolves and soon you will realize what you are intended to do so.
    It's a waste of time reading this thread.

    CyberMadara,
    The Gods cannot wait...
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