Next Step

cjthedj45cjthedj45 Posts: 331Member ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey,

I was hoping to get some advice on my next step within the IT industry. I have worked in IT for about 7 years starting out on a helpdesk where I was answering basic queries. Each role I have taken since then I have moved slightly more forwards. I'm now working as a desktop support person/system admin. However I want to keep pushing forward and focus more on third line support or a career in networking. I'm just about to finish my MCSA but I'm unsure of my next step. I'm leaning towards getting CCNA certified as I more interested in networking. Although I do like the idea of also becoming a full system administrator. A lot of the system admin roles I have seen though require you to be a bit of an all rounder in system admin i.e linux/unix/oracle/sql etc. I know a little bit about these but not enough to administer them. I have studied Microsoft some I'm more adept at administering a Microsoft Network. Any suggestions thanks

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned
    I'd encourage you to wrap up your MCSE. The MCSA sounds like it should be somewhat prestigious, but a lot of people don't even know what it is. It seems like it's basically just a morale boost for going over halfway to an MCSE. People who are looking for employees with MS skills almost always look for an MCSE. You'll also learn a lot of essential skills in 293 and 294, so I don't think it makes sense to stop after the MCSA. The design exams are basically just a recap of the material up to that point, so neither of those is going to be a big deal after a little review. It's the format, not the content, that seems to trip people up the most.

    Exchange skills will definitely help round-out your skill set too, so you might want to keep that option open as well. Any of the other options your listed are good too. Go with whatever interests you. There's plenty of opportunities will all of those.
  • cjthedj45cjthedj45 Posts: 331Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    dynamik wrote:
    I'd encourage you to wrap up your MCSE. The MCSA sounds like it should be somewhat prestigious, but a lot of people don't even know what it is. It seems like it's basically just a morale boost for going over halfway to an MCSE. People who are looking for employees with MS skills almost always look for an MCSE. You'll also learn a lot of essential skills in 293 and 294, so I don't think it makes sense to stop after the MCSA. The design exams are basically just a recap of the material up to that point, so neither of those is going to be a big deal after a little review. It's the format, not the content, that seems to trip people up the most.

    Exchange skills will definitely help round-out your skill set too, so you might want to keep that option open as well. Any of the other options your listed are good too. Go with whatever interests you. There's plenty of opportunities will all of those.

    Dynamik thanks for the advice. I have contemplated finishing the MCSE but I'm not sure how valuable earning the rest of the MCSE will be for me and future employers. I have been given the opportunity to work with our network guy and gain more cisco network experience. I think Cisco qualifications are more respected and future employers may see me as more of an asset with MCSA and Cisco. I think I will finish my MCSE but I may want to move jobs soon and my view is a ccna and mcsa maybe more useful than just an mcse. For example I went for a very good job a year ago and it was down to me and another guy. The employer liked both candidates but the other guy won the job because he could answer the cisco and unix questions. So for me to move on it seems that I need skills in other areas beyond Microsoft. I have also considered studying for the linux+ so I have some base knowledge in this are. Unfortunately I have not worked in a position where I have had exposure to Linux. Thanks for your advice its much appreciated.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Posts: 1,940Inactive Imported Users
    I gotta go with dynamik on this. MCSA *should* be sufficient to prove your knowledge of administrating Windows, but most potential employers don't know what it is.

    I guess I would say that if you got MCSA to validate your skills in that area to potential employers, you likely did not accomplish that. Unfortunately, they want everyone to be an MCSE if they're looking for a certification at all.

    Also, be leery of places looking for you to know Windows, Unix, Linux, Cisco, Citrix, Oracle, SQL, Exchange, automobile transmissions, and quantum mechanics. Some variety is expected, but places that expect that are likely to stretch you so thin that you can't grow your skills well in any particular direction. The next rung on the ladder after getting a sys admin position is to develop expert skills in more focused, specific areas.

    As a Senior Systems Engineer, I'm a few rungs above sys admin, and I have absolutely no qualms saying I don't know jack about Cisco, Linux, Citrix, Oracle, Unix, or SQL out of the above list. However, I am a Windows, Active Directory, Exchange, ISA, and VMware superfreak.
    Good luck to all!
  • KaminskyKaminsky Posts: 1,235Member
    I agreee with the others. The MCSE is very well known amongst employers and they ask for it even when it's not required or relevent. If you're already halfway through it, you may as well go for the rest of it. After that, you should look at what the market wants. Security, advaced networking, voip are in high demand. If you are interested in Unix, that is always in demand and quite well paying. If you like databases, qualified DBAs can rake in an absolute fortune. The latter two jobs can pay easily £50-60 an hour for an experienced person. Programming can be good too but tricky to get into. Server admin / PC support are considered low paying jobs and extremely repetitive and quite boring after a while... They are also jobs that can be quite easily filled cheeply with inexperienced people trying to get some experience in it.

    One thing I have learned eventually with IT is not to stay in the same company if there is little chance of promotion every 2-3 years. Once you have finished your MCSE, you should look at your possibilites and if they are limited in the forseable future, move on to a higher position ( and a better pay rise than you would probably get staying in the same place) and be prepared to do the same in a few years after that until you get where you want to be. I wasted so many years in a very easy and comfortable but low paying server admin job when I should have been pushing myself. I kick myself for that as I am now playing catchup when I could have been taking it a bit easily.

    7 years is not just starting out really, especially in London and you may want to consider a sideways move to a larger company where there may be other internal opportunities later on around IT Support other than the usual IT team role. I work for a large IT company just on the outskirts of London and I am constantly surprised where sideways moves can take people. Certainly took me somewhere I never thought I would end up. Here I have plenty of time to study and get paid well for it. I will still stick to my new found religion of changing jobs every 2-3 years though once I have the certs I need for the next move.

    In London, the possibilites are endless and don't believe anyone who tells you there are no jobs out there. They simply are not looking hard enough. There is always work out there.
    Kam.
  • cjthedj45cjthedj45 Posts: 331Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Guys thanks for your replys its good to hear your views and get a second opinion. I'm going to finish the MCSA hopefully in a few weeks and I will reconsider my options then. I share the same view as Kam that moving companys every 2-3 years is wise if there is no career progression. I feel that my technical abilty has defnietly increased with each new job I have taken. I contracted with Goldman Sachs for 2 years and I was hoping to progress there. However I found that as a contractor there is little opportunity and I was also very pigeon holed in what I could do. I have since moved out of London to the west midlands as I have had enough of the commute and hustle and bustle. The new job I have found is working for Nationwide in a brand new building with brand new infrastructure. Unfortunatley I joined to late to be involved in the implementation. However what I like about the role is that there is just two of us managing the site with a telco guy and networks guy. It has given me the opportunty to make improvements and implement new things.

    I would really like to break out of the desktop support roles and gear my career towards third line and more advanced support perhaps Specialize in area. I have not had that much advanced exposure to unix, sql,voip and . I'm more familar with exchange, networking, security a little cisco and some citrix. I think a lot more companys seem to be using citrix for virtulization so this could be good but my current company does not use it. If I do continue with the mcse then I think I would do it in security and perhaps specialize in security. There is a lot of choices and I think if I want to progress within my current company then I need to stick with getting more trained in areas that are open to me. In my interview they asked if I wanted to be more involved in networking or cisco telco. Networking is more familar to me and is an area I have considered getting more trained in so I chose this. My company have said that they are going to team me up with the network guy and get me more involved and I should be helping upgrade a network at another site. This is why I think it might be good for me to at least get the CCNA then come back to do the full mcse. When I do choose to leave I should then have a full mcse and ccna which will hopefully put me in good stead to move into a more advanced position. What do you think.

    Thanks again guys sorry for the long post got carried away
  • Knives OutKnives Out Posts: 91Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Wow, this sounds exactly like my situation but reversed! I have my CCNA, and am going to pursue MCSA (and likely MCSE). Best of luck to you. :D
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