Need Career Advice

veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
I never thought I would ask this so soon, but here we go...

I have kept close tabs on Cisco vs. Microsoft jobs in the Greenville, SC are since I moved here a little over a year ago. From what I have observed Microsoft jobs are scarce and difficult to find for someone just starting out. My goal is to get out of my desktop support role within another year and I believe that I need to start developing a plan if I want to do that. Though I do enjoy Microsoft and servers in general, my larger goal is to get into network/system administration as quick as I can. Here are the options I have before me:

Microsoft -- I could finish my MCITP:EA with WGU and start searching for jobs but I don't know anyone that I can get advice from, or has contacts.

or

Cisco -- I know a CCIE, a CCVP, and three CCNAs who would love to help to me out, and the CCIE has already given me a 2600 router with a promise to provide me another.

My long term goal is to get into IT Security even if I have to claw my way in kicking and screaming icon_wink.gif

WHEW! I think this is my longest post ever on TE! icon_redface.gif

edit: I could switch my degree plan around to security which would mean CCNA:Security, some Java programming, and database studies.
Currently working on: Linux and Python

Comments

  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Veritas,
    You even advised me before in another thread that getting a CCNA would be a good career move after getting the MCITP:EA. It seems as if you may want to wander down the Cisco path at least a little in order to make yourself more marketable.
    With the job you have now and with them helping you pay for your education it seems as if it would be in their interest to want to move you up instead of your having to move out so that you can get vertical in your career. Take some time to speak with one of your managers about what it would take for you to advance beyond what your role is now. It may help.
    Just my 2 cents
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    earweed wrote: »
    Veritas,
    You even advised me before in another thread that getting a CCNA would be a good career move after getting the MCITP:EA. It seems as if you may want to wander down the Cisco path at least a little in order to make yourself more marketable.

    Yes, and I'm now wondering if my plan would be better off with a switch to:

    CCNA --> MCITP:EA

    Either way it would be best for me to do both in order to be marketable.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityPosts: 807Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    I got in to the Security side from the Microsoft world. I had my CCNA many moons ago, and let it expire simply because I wasn't doing anything with it. A few years after it expired I did get a gig where I was doing some switch port configs, but nothing big (and it wasn't worth my time to re-cert).

    Just my two cents..
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityPosts: 807Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Just a thought - are there any Microsoft'ish (other than desktop support) at your current employer? Maybe you could talk to your boss about your "career track" and maybe work your way up internally?

    You also said you wanted to get in to Security? Does your employer have a security team/IR team? Maybe try getting in to that/work with the IR team from your help desk role? Sometimes help desk gets the first indications that something could be up.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • pml1pml1 Posts: 147Member
    I never thought I would ask this so soon, but here we go...

    I have kept close tabs on Cisco vs. Microsoft jobs in the Greenville, SC are since I moved here a little over a year ago. From what I have observed Microsoft jobs are scarce and difficult to find for someone just starting out. My goal is to get out of my desktop support role within another year and I believe that I need to start developing a plan if I want to do that. Though I do enjoy Microsoft and servers in general, my larger goal is to get into network/system administration as quick as I can. Here are the options I have before me:

    Microsoft -- I could finish my MCITP:EA with WGU and start searching for jobs but I don't know anyone that I can get advice from, or has contacts.

    or

    Cisco -- I know a CCIE, a CCVP, and three CCNAs who would love to help to me out, and the CCIE has already given me a 2600 router with a promise to provide me another.

    My long term goal is to get into IT Security even if I have to claw my way in kicking and screaming icon_wink.gif

    WHEW! I think this is my longest post ever on TE! icon_redface.gif

    edit: I could switch my degree plan around to security which would mean CCNA:Security, some Java programming, and database studies.

    Hi Veritas,

    My gut reaction is to tell you to stay the course. You've already put so much time and effort into the MCITP:EA. Perhaps you should finish it off as quickly as possible and see what kinds of doors it opens.

    If you're anything like me, you hear about all these certifications and the career possibilities that they open up, and you fee like a kid in a candy store who can't decide what he wants. One of my managers at work (who has been doing this a lot longer than me) has often helped me with this. For the past two years, all I've heard from him is "Finish your MCSE. Finish your MCSE." He's told me repeatedly that having a single higher-level certification is much better than having several entry level or half-finished certifications.

    I understand the lure of having a lot of Cisco guys around offering their assistance, and I'm very excited about starting CCNA studies myself (after I finish my MCSE icon_wink.gif), but I think it would be a mistake to let that determine your course. It reminds me of a story an older guy I used to go to church with told me about an eagle being raised by turkeys.

    [begin cheesy kid's story]
    The gist of the story is that an eagle falls out of its nest one day just as a group of turkeys was walking by. The young eagle cannot yet fly, so he decides to stay with the turkeys...yada yada...the eagle grows up as a turkey and never reaches his full potential until he meets the wise old owl who tells him he's really an eagle and not a turkey.
    [/end cheese]

    While, I'm certainly not called Cisco guys turkeys icon_wink.gif, the principle still holds true...be what you are and do what your enjoy. If the studying you've done so far for the MCITP has made you miserable, and you're pretty sure you'll hate working with it, then that's a different story. But barring that, my advice would be to finish the MCITP:EA and then pursue the CCNA.
    Excellence is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityPosts: 807Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Just a thought - perhaps you've been studying so much lately, maybe you've gotten burned out? If that is the case maybe (if you can) take a break for a while. Put down the books, step away from the lab and spend some time recharging. Sometimes a break will do wonders for your mindset and focus.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Well, I really haven't put much time into any MCITP:EA studies yet. I've read maybe five pages of the 70-640 book, and haven't gone any further yet. I'm not burned out at all with Microsoft studies.

    My company doesn't currently have any server admin doors open, and I have senior guys ahead of me who are already gnawing at the door for any possible server jobs that may open. I have been told by more experienced techs at the company that the best way to move up in the company is to leave and come back with more experience. The last thing I want to do is leave my employer, it's a great company to work for!
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Yeah, especially since they have been footing some, if not all, of the education bill. Stay with them until you're done with WGU at least. Whatever you decide, be it your current path or the Security major, I'm sure you'll be successful at it. One upside I may see to you switching to security would be your exposure to the DB, Java, and site design which were all taken from the NDM program.
    Look at the opportunity for advancement in the network area at your company as that may also be a way up.
    I wish there was an easy answer but one thing to consider is that you currently like where you work and that's a plus. No matter where you go you may always measure the new company against where you're at now.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think you should go for the CCENT, CCNA and CCNA:Security as well as MCITP then put yourself out there. Since you don't have much csco experience, getting the CCNA may not help you directly (in the since of getting you some l33t cisco job) but it may help you indirectly (an employers sees you resume and says this guy knows windows and cisco). Entry level cisco jobs are hard to come by as well (at least in my area) but having good knowledge of both should help.

    Does your current employer have a network team?
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    My company doesn't currently have any server admin doors open, and I have senior guys ahead of me who are already gnawing at the door for any possible server jobs that may open. I have been told by more experienced techs at the company that the best way to move up in the company is to leave and come back with more experience. The last thing I want to do is leave my employer, it's a great company to work for!


    I seriously doubt there have been many folks in your company who came back after getting "experience." Even if that were the case, that's just a big waste of time. If you're moving out it's my hope you're moving up as well.

    I would stay in the WGU course of study you're at. You sound like it's going to take about a year or so to finish. 2011 (IMO) is probably going to look very different from 2010 in terms of a whole lot of hardware getting upgraded. If things are going a 64-bit route (which is looking like it's happening, at least in my area), then you definitely want to stay the course. You could probably get the CCNA through some very good self-study, and even if you did switch, you're going to have to invest/get more free stuff to help you properly prepare for the CCNA anyway. Might as well finish the MS thing so that you can then properly focus on CCNA if the networking route is what you want to do.

    But Veritas, don't be a chaser (be it certs and/or dollar bills). It is a mistake MANY in IT make...to chase something just because it's hot right now...it would be like me wanting to be a Oracle Developer. Yeah, those guys/gals make 6 figures, but I know I'd hate it. DBAs at least will make close to that if not the same, plus have a bit more pull. (At least, I do... :) ). You want to do what makes you happy and center your goals around that...the money will come later. That's certainly was what happened in my case. :)
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    erpadmin wrote: »
    I seriously doubt there have been many folks in your company who came back after getting "experience." Even if that were the case, that's just a big waste of time. If you're moving out it's my hope you're moving up as well.

    I believe it. Several guys at one of my old jobs left as helpdesk folks and came back as engineers by bouncing around a few places and certing up. In large companies (especially those who don't believe in developing their talent) that can be the only way. Many companies don't have a career path for their internal folks nor do they have training to get them into higher roles. Some companies wouldn't care if you did work on the helpdesk for 10 years without learning anymore than what's needed for your job.
  • ssampierssampier Posts: 224Member
    That seems strange to me that a bigger organization wouldn't have a track for advancement. Frankly I think that's the big plus of a larger organization; always room for advancement.

    Smaller organizations are more limited in advancement. You have lots of different jobs responsibilities, but you never get really good at any of them. You may have one person that does networking full-time but as long as he is there you won't take his job.

    As long as you are still learning at your current job and everything else is equal stay put.

    This is perhaps a dumb question. Does WGU have an alumni center? Then you could potentially meet any fellow WGU students or graduates from your area and people-network together.
    Future Plans:

    JNCIA Firewall
    CCNA:Security
    CCNP

    More security exams and then the world.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    ssampier wrote: »
    That seems strange to me that a bigger organization wouldn't have a track for advancement. Frankly I think that's the big plus of a larger organization; always room for advancement.

    I cannot speak for all companies but in certain companies if you have been hired for a role you will always be in that role*. I can speak that two companies that I know of did *NOT* promote someone from customer support (External helpdesk) to core IT (internal helpdesk, network engineering, DataCenter) *EVER*. It was an unwritten rule that it just did not happen.

    * I don't mean you will always be level 1 helpdesk or anything. You may progress, ie get to level 2 helpdesk or level 3 helpdesk but you won't get to Database Admin or Network Admin or Network Engineer (unless of course you know someone).
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    I cannot speak for all companies but in certain companies if you have been hired for a role you will always be in that role. I can speak that two companies that I know of did *NOT* promote someone from customer support (External helpdesk) to core IT (internal helpdesk, network engineering, DataCenter) *EVER*. It was an unwritten rule that it just did not happen.


    I don't mean you will always be level 1 helpdesk or anything. You may progress, ie get to level 2 helpdesk or level 3 helpdesk but you won't get to Database Admin or Network Admin or Network Engineer (unless of course you know someone).


    I would hate to be a part of a culture that didn't want to promote from within. If I leave a company to come back, it better be for some Steve Jobs money....lmao. Otherwise, I'll continue to not look back. What's also great is that some folks aren't limited by geographical area.

    Based on your edit, my original comment definitely stands.....if I had stayed at my original place of employment and/or my second job (well....that got "9/11ed"....but still), my name wouldn't be erpadmin.....lmao.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I cannot speak for all companies but in certain companies if you have been hired for a role you will always be in that role. I can speak that two companies that I know of did *NOT* promote someone from customer support (External helpdesk) to core IT (internal helpdesk, network engineering, DataCenter) *EVER*. It was an unwritten rule that it just did not happen.

    It really does depend on the organization. I cannot speak for any organization other than ones I have worked for. There is an experienced coworker that works with me who has over five years of experience who has been unable to move up because we already have 3 guys doing server work. I might also mention that the VPs really like this guy. It's just one of those situations where the IT manager has no room to move the guy up.
    I seriously doubt there have been many folks in your company who came back after getting "experience." Even if that were the case, that's just a big waste of time. If you're moving out it's my hope you're moving up as well.
    Well of course!
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    erpadmin wrote: »
    I would hate to be a part of a culture that didn't want to promote from within. If I leave a company to come back, it better be for some Steve Jobs money....lmao. Otherwise, I'll continue to not look back. What's also great is that some folks aren't limited by geographical area.

    That's because you are forward and upward thinking. Most people (in IT and in the world) simply aren't like that. Many people are just happy with a paycheck every 2 weeks.

    I had a chance to work back at one of my old companies and I turned it down.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    That's because you are forward and upward thinking. Most people (in IT and in the world) simply aren't like that. Many people are just happy with a paycheck every 2 weeks.

    I had a chance to work back at one of my old companies and I turned it down.

    It really depends upon how you are coming back, how you left, and the relationship you had with your coworkers.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    Most people (in IT and in the world) simply aren't like that. Many people are just happy with a paycheck every 2 weeks.


    So...you have data to back up that most IT people want to stay doing phone support/desktop support engineering/analysis because they get a paycheck and I'm in the minority of folks who want to move up?

    Interesting......

    (I've worked through 2 recessions.....most folks I knew definitely wanted to advanced/increase their salary and if/when they had the opportunity to do so, did so.).
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    erpadmin wrote: »
    So...you have data to back up that most IT people want to stay doing phone support/desktop support engineering/analysis because they get a paycheck and I'm in the minority of folks who want to move up?

    Interesting......

    (I've worked through 2 recessions.....most folks I knew definitely wanted to advanced/increase their salary and if/when they had the opportunity to do so, did so.).

    Well it isn't scientific but I worked on a helpdesk of about 200 people for a fortune 100 company. The people number of people whom I directly interacted with was about 20-30. Of those people, the number of folks who had any certs (or planned on going for any) was 5. The number of people who actively looked to move into different parts of the company was 2. The number of people who moved up was 1 and number of people who moved on was 1.

    Most of the people I knew thought certs were a waste of time and that doing internal "trainings" (basically review helpdesk material to help you learn more about the company. They weren't concerned with growing their overall IT knowledge, they were interested in making the company happy. I know almost all of them are still there doing the same ****.
  • ssampierssampier Posts: 224Member
    That's because you are forward and upward thinking. Most people (in IT and in the world) simply aren't like that. Many people are just happy with a paycheck every 2 weeks.

    I had a chance to work back at one of my old companies and I turned it down.

    I think there's some truth to that. Frankly I think my former co-workers were like that. They didn't particularly like their jobs, but they enjoyed the paychecks, the area, and the time off.

    Frankly I think my dentist would race 4 wheelers in the desert full-time if it paid. :)
    Future Plans:

    JNCIA Firewall
    CCNA:Security
    CCNP

    More security exams and then the world.
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    Most people (in IT and in the world) simply aren't like that. Many people are just happy with a paycheck every 2 weeks.

    .


    yeah, I don't think that is limited to IT
    Currently Working On

    CWTS, then WireShark
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