Picking between two careers

swobbyswobby Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am looking for a bit of advice from the wise folks here. For awhile now I have been learning two separate areas (networking and programming) because I enjoy them both. I earned my CCNA because I enjoyed networking so much and have since been studying for the new CCNP exams. I have also done a bit of programming in college and really enjoy that process as well. I pretty much feel like I enjoy them both equally.

Right now I am at the point where I want to choose one of these things to focus on for a career that I would begin in the near future. I am like Commander Shepard and have been flirting with Ashely and Liara, but if I am going to make a life with either of them it is time to choose one and let the other go.

I am good at both of them. In an academic setting that is; I have not done either of these activities in a professional environment. I don't want to make this decision arbitrarily, but I am not sure what aspects I should be considering or how to break this “tie”. As I have said I really enjoy both of them. As far as I know, they would both have decent pay and good job prospects.

I am hoping to get some advice from folks who have been there, who can tell me things I should consider that I haven't thought about—things you learned from your experience of working in either of these fields.

I enjoy working largely by myself, or with a small group. In general I don't like people much and picture myself working with a computer, either spending a lot of time coding or at the command line troubleshooting or implementing networking features. I actually saw “computer programmer” at Yahoo today on a list of jobs for people who didn't like other people. In my imagination networking is similar with a lot of time spent configuring, monitoring, or troubleshooting network issues and not dealing much with other folks. The idea that I may, at some point in my career, be able to telecommute as a programmer is a plus in my mind.

Can you think of any other things I should consider?

I sincerely appreciate any advice or feedback you have that could help me conquer my indecisiveness in this area.


  • HeeroHeero Member Posts: 486
    Go the networking route.

    My opinion may or may not be biased based on my personal feelings.
  • MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    What do you see yourself doing in 20 years? Give up a snapshot of what you think in both scenarios.
    My blog http://www.calegp.com

    You may learn something!
  • jmritenourjmritenour Member Posts: 565
    When I first got out of high school, I was absolutely positive I wanted to be a programmer, since I had so much fun writing text adventure games in basic, and what limited exposure I had to Visual Basic. It took me just 2 semesters of college level programming courses to realized I would go absolutely nuts if I had to do that for a career.

    Luckily, I was working as a computer technician while in college, and discovered I had a knack for networking and systems administration. Learning Netware and Windows NT (and later Active Directory) came easy for me, and that's the path I ended up following. I maintain just enough programming knowledge to make my job easier with scripting.

    I would probably make more money at this point if I had stuck with programming. Would I enjoy it more today? I don't know. But I probably wouldn't get as much of a kick out of it as what I do now, and I wouldn't have the exposure I do to a vast array of technology.

    Just do whichever you enjoy more. You're probably going to be working at LEAST 30 years, and that's a long time to do something you don't like.
    "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible; suddenly, you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
  • varelgvarelg Banned Posts: 790
    Hmmmm... both can be outsourced, but if you find a niche you can excel at it and do well in many ways.
    From what I've seen:
    - if you take coder's route, writing for smartphones and similar platforms is in demand.
    - if you take networking, people are obsessed with security. If you developed skills or have degrees/certs on that subject, you may find yourself a tad busy.
    This doesn't mean there aren't other aspects to both routes that you are considering to take, and this is only the segment that I have a chance to observe.
    For the lack of people skills, I haven't met a single person that lives in a larger metropolitan area and is a "people" person. However, learning a channel of communication through which teams of competent professionals communicate is recommended.
    If you decide to venture out on your own (contracting) consider taking courses on business management or learn how more experienced contractors deal with the business management aspect. Top skills don't always translate to top dollar and business management is where I've seen top skills fail, the failure to get paid properly.
    Good luck and write a postcard icon_cheers.gif
  • PristonPriston Member Posts: 999 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You could always do programming for network stuff, like voip programming.
    A.A.S. in Networking Technologies
    A+, Network+, CCNA
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