Leaving Cisco - seeking comparible-salaried certification(s)

Dr_AtomicDr_Atomic Posts: 184Member
I obtained my CCNA, I was then working on getting a mid-level Cisco certification before I realized that working with routers and switches the rest of my life perhaps isn't really what I want to do with my life. So I'm looking into other IT certifications. The Microsoft certs are appealing, since they're mainly desktop support and have nothing to do, really, with routers, switches, and their ilk. No home labs to have to purchase and cable, hooray. I've heard that desktop support would also have more regular daytime work-hours (good for a family man), as opposed to networking NOC round-the-clock hours.

I have a growing family, so income is very important, so I want to make sure I get into the right thing. As long as I'm not in a high cost-of-living city, I would need to earn an income of at least $55k/yr to justify the change. I already have a bachelors, so that might help. I wouldn't want that to be the upper ceiling income amount, either, as long as one could build experience and hope to make more. I'd like to think that a candidate for a job with an MCSE, a CCNA, a bachelors, and a year's experience in a NOC could hope to make this much. I deal with some UNIX where I work, too, and it reminds me a lot of Cisco's CLI, and to me Microsoft support is much more "friendly" and inviting, IMHO. So I'm not sure Linux or UNIX is what I want. I've heard good things about Red Hat, but I know absolutely nothing about it. Perhaps there are some other good certs out there that are also promising.

I'm not afraid of work and study by any means; I just want to make sure I pick a cert in demand, that pays well, and which doesn't take forever to obtain. If anyone has some suggestions, please offer.

Comments

  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    I can relate, though I'm somewhat on the opposite end of the spectrum. I started out with supporting desktops, microsoft servers, and the assorted stuff that went with them. I hated it with a passion, and changed over into networking, which is what I've always actually enjoyed.

    As much as I loathe Microsoft implementations...

    Exchange isn't going anywhere anytime soon. So passing the MCSE and focusing on the ability to support Exchange is a valuable skill set to have. MSSQL is also a good skill set to have if you're interested in being a DBA, but that will also lead you to Oracle, which will also lead you back to Unix.

    Since you're leaving one field for another because you don't enjoy it, my honest recommendation is to look over the various certifications being offered, find something that contains elements that appeal to you, and go after that, otherwise you'll find yourself doing the same thing again. Salary is not the most important thing to me when I'm job hunting, I'll take a lower paying job (as long as it covers what I need to live) if it means I'll be doing something I enjoy and it's with a company I feel I can fit in with. Waking up each day and hating to go to work at a company where you're at odds with others are not conducive to a long and happy career.
  • whatthehellwhatthehell Posts: 920Member
    I can definitely agree with a lot that Forsaken has said.

    Some of my own suggestions:

    1. What about .NET certs? Development might be good?

    2. If you already have a decent coding background, what about going for a JD, and doing patent/intellectual property law, specifically for IT?

    I am currently in support right now, and trust me, though the hours are somewhat normal, you have to deal with users day in and out. This in itself can definitely place a toll on you as well (start getting used to repeating yourself to the same person, and you may get a picture of what it is like).

    Just my 2 cents.
    2017 Goals:
    [ ] Security + [ ] 74-409 [ ] CEH
    Future Goals:
    TBD
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Posts: 2,073Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    $55k is asking a lot of desktop jockeys.

    You might want to get more into the consulting side. Sales too. Technical yet you get to work with people.
    -Daniel
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Posts: 1,439Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Daniel333 wrote: »
    $55k is asking a lot of desktop jockeys.

    You might want to get more into the consulting side. Sales too. Technical yet you get to work with people.

    Snatching up an MCSE, (or whatever they call it these days), it shouldn't be too hard to move beyond desktop into systems, where $55K should be pretty easy to get, even in this economy. Having the CCNA might actually help you out a bit here on salary.
  • Dr_AtomicDr_Atomic Posts: 184Member
    Since you're leaving one field for another because you don't enjoy it, my honest recommendation is to look over the various certifications being offered, find something that contains elements that appeal to you, and go after that, otherwise you'll find yourself doing the same thing again. Salary is not the most important thing to me when I'm job hunting, I'll take a lower paying job (as long as it covers what I need to live) if it means I'll be doing something I enjoy and it's with a company I feel I can fit in with. Waking up each day and hating to go to work at a company where you're at odds with others are not conducive to a long and happy career.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I want to enjoy my work (as long as it pays the bills for the family), which is why I'm considering alternatives now. If you know it, could you perhaps give me a "day in the life of an MCSE professional"? If you did that kind of work and hated it, try and just give the facts without the "I really hated this part" stuff. icon_wink.gif It might help if I actually knew what the nuts and bolts of the job was like.

    I really like mixing with people, and to tell you the truth, I enjoy the hardware end of things - but just not networking. A+ kinds of jobs sound interesting, but of course, they pay diddly, so I can't go there. I used to work in a large, non-networking NOC the size of Walmart with windows and people to talk to everywhere. It was great. Of course, THEN I was lamenting about getting a "real" NOC job. Be careful what you wish for. icon_surprised.gif
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Posts: 3,914Mod Mod
    If you have serious UNIX hands on experience, SUN solaris certifications can give pretty decent pay. It worked for me :)
    Goal: MBA, March 2020
  • KaminskyKaminsky Posts: 1,235Member
    Can you not move upward/sideward within Cisco ?
    Kam.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    Dr_Atomic wrote: »
    I agree wholeheartedly. I want to enjoy my work (as long as it pays the bills for the family), which is why I'm considering alternatives now. If you know it, could you perhaps give me a "day in the life of an MCSE professional"? If you did that kind of work and hated it, try and just give the facts without the "I really hated this part" stuff. icon_wink.gif It might help if I actually knew what the nuts and bolts of the job was like.

    I was never an MCSE. I've been one exam short of the MCSA 2000 (ironically enough, 70-218, the network exam) for about 5 years now. That should give you some idea of how much I absolutely *loathe* microsoft support. I don't even admit to my MCP at my current job, since we're a linux shop with a few windows servers here and there for assorted customers. If I did, I'd immediately become the go-to guy for windows support.

    Now, as far what I did do.... average run of the mill stuff. Someone breaks their Outlook, I have to fix it. Someone infects their computer, I have to clean it. I had to image new boxes for new employees, or for hardware refreshes, provision new accounts for incoming employees, deprovision access for employees who were leaving (if you don't work in IT and you're ever curious if you're getting fired, make friends with IT. IT generally gets informed very quickly of an employee's removal, as the removal of their access needs to be coordinated with their physical removal from the building), build/install/configure new servers, manage the backups, etc. All for $25k a year. The guys who do have their MCSE's can give you a better idea of what their jobs are like, as I was just the IT equivalent of a grease monkey.
  • jrs91jrs91 Posts: 64Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm going in the opposite direction. I don't have the loathing for MS that some in this thread exhibit. It's really the users that get to me. I want to be as far away from them as possible. I figure that a CCIE should get me pretty far away. :P

    Forsaken pretty much nailed how mundane a lot of the stuff in MS is. I have someone doing that stuff for me now, but when I was doing it, it sucked.
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