PlazmaPlazma Member Posts: 503
So here I am. A Unix systems engineer who has been doing Unix related things for about 3-5 years now. I feel like some of it has lost its luster, but I still do enjoy it as a whole. Needless to say I am getting an itch to break back into Cisco and Juniper so within the next few weeks to 1 month I shall start on my CCNP journey. My current job is a pretty laid back job supporting a small group of engineers who do.. what they do ( I really don't know that much about what they do).

The job is great, easy, and the people rock and the salary is good, but it offers no real network administration as that is obviously handled by another team.

I have checked the salary charts and so forth, and it seems that a network engineer gets paid a bit less than a Unix engineer.. but the difference isn't anything to really complain about. I have heard that the reason is that there are a lot more cisco/network guys than there are unix guys.. and also that Cisco is taught as early as high school where as Unix, hardcore unix like AIX, Solaris,HP-UX and the like, is not really taught anywhere other than really big universities or it is mostly "earned" as it is a hard thing to teach.

I guess now that I got all the boring stuff out of the way... How would one such as myself who clearly has more "on paper" experience with Unix and Unix systems actually break into being a Network Engineer? I have and plan to buy some hardware and have my own home lab as well as get some books/documentation.. I guess I am asking on the other end, how I would go about doing that.. since it is switching primarily specialties.


  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure / Core Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016 Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    I'd say that staying on the same path you're on is a good idea. If you're working towards SCSA, you've got CCNA, then you're going for RHCE and CCNP, you're going to be very marketable. The home-lab is essential, and making sure you've got all the hands-on skills those certs entail is what's going to help you get your foot in the door. As long as you're sure of your skills, you've got very little to worry about, not all experience is work-experience. Sometimes it's a matter of saying "yes, I have configured OSPF" or "I know how to manage Up2Date", that sort of thing. The only thing you may have to do is settle for a junior-admin or entry-level NOC position, to start with. If you've got the "junior" title, since you have little work-experience, stay until you've got a full-fledged "systems/network administrator" title. If you get in as a regular ol' systems/network administrator, stick around for a year or so, then look for bigger and better things.

    Keep working on the certs, find a job that'll let you put those skills to use, and that'll be your pathway up into the kind of career that'll let you administrate both Unix machines and networking equipment. Who knows, you might even find yourself working for a video game company or a movie studio. . .

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