How to break into Systems Administration?

smg1138smg1138 Member Posts: 94 ■■□□□□□□□□
I have about 4 years of experience doing Desktop Support for a few different organizations. I also have a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication and as far as certifications go, so far I've got the A+ and MCP. I was laid off from my last job in December and haven't had much luck finding a new one since then. Since I've had all this down time, I've been working on getting my MCSE again and just passed the 70-290 yesterday. I'd really like to move into some kind of Jr. SysAdmin role in my next job, but it seems pretty tough to break through. What is the key in moving from a support role into an admin type role? Will getting the MCSE combined with my experience in Desktop Support help? I've done a lot of administrative type work in my past jobs, but I've never had the title or the pay grade. :) Any advice from those who have made the transition would be appreciated.

Comments

  • SrSysAdminSrSysAdmin Member Posts: 259
    For me it was simply a matter of knowing the right people at the right time. I'm sure there are other ways to go about getting such a job, but I've always gotten my jobs by knowing somebody.

    If you don't already know somebody that can help you get into the sort of position you desire, I would recommend getting on LinkedIn and making yourself known to the sort of people who can eventually help you out.

    Short of that, keep getting your certs and scour the jobs on indeed.com.
    Current Certifications:

    * B.S. in Business Management
    * Sec+ 2008
    * MCSA

    Currently Studying for:
    * 70-293 Maintaining a Server 2003 Network

    Future Plans:

    * 70-294 Planning a Server 2003 AD
    * 70-297 Designing a Server 2003 AD
    * 70-647 Server 2008
    * 70-649 MCSE to MCITP:EA
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    I was able to break through because I got 'technical' experience working for a proprietary software company. I did support and got a B.S., and when I was ready to leave the proprietary world I started to put my resume out there. It took about a year to find a job worth leaving for, so be patient.

    Even though my prior job didnt actually do any sys admin type work, it showed the intangibles. I also made connections there. Social networking is crucial. I never would have gotten that first tech job if I hadn't talked to some ppl at school while working on the BS.

    You've got some certs now, thats great. IMHO they're not nearly as important as developing your social network and keeping your work history strong.

    Also, if you can, broaden your scope. If you can relocate, you'll increase your chances dramatically. Religiously check gov't employment sites. I know in my area, between city, county, state - something decent will come available every couple of months...you just have to know where to look for them.
  • crrussell3crrussell3 Member Posts: 561
    Especially in this job market, knowing the right people is more important than before. Most jobs openings get swarmed with hundreds of applications on the first day, so its harder for them to sort through everything.

    As others have said, network, network, network. If not knowing the people directly at the job, knowing someone who has the credentials to back you up is important.
    MCTS: Windows Vista, Configuration
    MCTS: Windows WS08 Active Directory, Configuration
  • KoolTrixKoolTrix Banned Posts: 130
    I already HAVE my MCSE, but no System Admin experience other than classes, and labs, and playing with it at home.

    So how do I get a Sys Admin job?
    Well.. gotta find a job that has advancement opportunities.

    I currently do Desktop Support for a company that is downsizing its employees at the location I'm at. No room to move up, especially since I'm contracted to that location..

    So.. I'm looking for a "lateral" movement.. find ANOTHER desktop support job that has more "sys admin responsibility" for example, shares, and/or user accounts/password resets, hands on experience with Active Directory.

    Once you get that "professional experience" on paper/(resume), then you can go after those entry level system admin/engineer positions, with little experience and certifications to back up your qualifications.

    ----

    I'm currently studying for Cisco/CCNA.. I want to be a Network Admin/Engineer in addition to being eligible to do System Administration..

    I too wondered how does one jump from Desktop Support to Network/LAN Administration.. same scenario. Working for a company that will hire within or offer advancement opportunities for employees on lower level, allowing them to work their way up.

    Again, I do desktop support, but I still troubleshoot some minor network issues, no IP address, etc. I get to tone it out and find it's location on the switch and just change to another port.
    nothing compared to what an actual network admin's responsibilities are.. but that's still some experience I get to put down..

    but like previous posters have stated.. not that it's not what you know, but it's WHO you know that helps you get the job, and it's WHAT you know that helps you KEEP your job..

    best of luck in your job hunt.. trying to find me a great job to demonstrate my skills myself.

    icon_cheers.gificon_thumright.gif
  • KoolTrixKoolTrix Banned Posts: 130
    Also, another tip I learned..

    I no longer put my certifications up, if i don't have little to moderate experience to back up that cert.

    For Example, MCSA, MCSE. When did I ever do it? Other than School and Home Labs.

    So I don't typically put them on my resume.

    I'll put A+ Net+ MCP.. sometimes MCSA

    Don't want to "black list" myself.. or they'll assume I'm a certification whore or that I braindumped all my exams..

    Give them what they're looking for with just a lil extra to make you stand out from the rest.

    You can rephrase your summary like "working towards my MCSA, or MCSE"

    or "looking to gain hands-on experience with microsoft administration"

    really try to self yourself..
  • TechJunkyTechJunky Member Posts: 881
    Just fake it until you make it. That's my motto. :P

    With that I mean, if you can talk the talk you should be able to walk the walk. They will know shortly after weather you are fake or not, and should be able to tell in an interview.

    I have defiantly said I have done things before that I had never really did in a production environment because I figured whatever they asked me I could figure out anyhow because there isn't much difference from a 200 person company or a 10,000 person company. It's all the same just on a bigger scale.

    I know that may not be right, but its their job to weed out the bad candidates and why give em a chance to weed ya out?
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298 ■■■■■■■■■■
    smg1138 wrote: »
    I have about 4 years of experience doing Desktop Support for a few different organizations. I also have a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication and as far as certifications go, so far I've got the A+ and MCP. I was laid off from my last job in December and haven't had much luck finding a new one since then. Since I've had all this down time, I've been working on getting my MCSE again and just passed the 70-290 yesterday. I'd really like to move into some kind of Jr. SysAdmin role in my next job, but it seems pretty tough to break through. What is the key in moving from a support role into an admin type role? Will getting the MCSE combined with my experience in Desktop Support help? I've done a lot of administrative type work in my past jobs, but I've never had the title or the pay grade. :) Any advice from those who have made the transition would be appreciated.

    Yes, it will help. Get certified, find some small businesses/non-profits/wherever that you can donate you time to and see if you can get some extra stuff to pad you resume and build some contacts.

    You are w/o a job so take the first thing you can but do not give up on the sys admin role. Keep applying and interviewing until someone takes a chance on you. But right now get out there and get some visibility by doing volunteer or "side jobs."
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