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Working in the Educational sector

falcon101falcon101 Member Posts: 51 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hello all,

What is your opinion for working in the "IT part" of the educational field? Namely the question refers to IT Management/User support in a University and/or College.

I am curios to find out about opinions or experiences.

Thanks.

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    andrew09andrew09 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    If you have the opportunity, do it! Just to give you a bit better of an idea of the situation, I have a 3 year college diploma in Computer Engineering (cisco focused). I'm 23 and have been working for a community college for a year and a half (on contracts).

    PROs - Tons of funding and most gets passed down to the IT department to stay current. Salaries are better than most places. Work hours are regular.

    CONs - LOTS of contract work. They spend money on multi-million dollar projects that eventually simply get scrapped (you work to accomplish nothing 80% of the time). 90% of the department is desktop support therefore server/networking jobs are very few and far in between.

    Keep in mind that this is just MY experience. Perhaps others have had very different experiences. And although it seems like there's more negative than positive in my list, the job is great, pays great and I thoroughly enjoy it.
    Completed: [A+:2009, MCP, MCSA:2003, MCTS x6, MCITP:EDA7]

    Studying for: [MCITP:SA (646), MCITP:EA (643, 647)]
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    MentholMooseMentholMoose Member Posts: 1,525 ■■■■■■■■□□
    andrew09 wrote: »
    PROs - Tons of funding and most gets passed down to the IT department to stay current. Salaries are better than most places. Work hours are regular.
    I read that and was shocked, then I saw you're in Canada. Things are much different down here, particularly in California. The UC and CSU systems are in bad financial shape and cutbacks are everywhere. There were furloughs and (I think) hiring freezes at CSUs/UCs. It's past the trough from what I can tell, for example furloughs are over, but it's still bad. Private schools dependent on an endowment mostly had a devastating 2008-2009, though the market has improved and endowments are recovering. Private schools dependent on tuition are doing better since enrollment is up almost everywhere.

    As for the work itself, just like the business world, it will vary. Some IT departments are well run, others not so much. Schools frequently have cultural quirks, though. For example, many have a culture where security is (at most) an afterthought, so you will have trouble if you are security-minded. Others have a 'not invented here' mentality and would rather spend 10 times the time and money on an undocumented, unmaintainable bespoke solution instead of just buying an off the shelf product. Lastly, the relationship between IT and faculty really varies. In some places IT is essentially the slave of faculty, whereas in others IT is well respected.
    MentholMoose
    MCSA 2003, LFCS, LFCE (expired), VCP6-DCV
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    QordQord Member Posts: 632 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I currently work for a Community College, and I love it! Most of my job is helpdesk (answering phone, password resets) but since it's such a small shop (10 IT for roughly 8000 end users) everybody gets to do everything. I get to work in the Linux web servers, the McAfee EpO migration to Forefront, the Cisco wired hardware, the Aruba wireless, adding/deleting/moving/cleaning of AD... a little bit of everything. I doubt I could ever find this kind of experience at a large corporate firm or call center.

    I think this is a great job for someone who knows they want to be in IT, but does not know where they want to focus their attention and specialization. This job has introduced me to a LOT of technologies that I otherwise would not have even known about. The pay is bad, but the benefits are great. This has been my experience.
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    veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Member Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I read that and was shocked, then I saw you're in Canada. Things are much different down here, particularly in California. The UC and CSU systems are in bad financial shape and cutbacks are everywhere. There were furloughs and (I think) hiring freezes at CSUs/UCs. It's past the trough from what I can tell, for example furloughs are over, but it's still bad. Private schools dependent on an endowment mostly had a devastating 2008-2009, though the market has improved and endowments are recovering. Private schools dependent on tuition are doing better since enrollment is up almost everywhere.

    As for the work itself, just like the business world, it will vary. Some IT departments are well run, others not so much. Schools frequently have cultural quirks, though. For example, many have a culture where security is (at most) an afterthought, so you will have trouble if you are security-minded. Others have a 'not invented here' mentality and would rather spend 10 times the time and money on an undocumented, unmaintainable bespoke solution instead of just buying an off the shelf product. Lastly, the relationship between IT and faculty really varies. In some places IT is essentially the slave of faculty, whereas in others IT is well respected.

    I was thinking the same thing. I worked at a community college and getting new stuff was like banging your head against a wall.
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    pakgeekpakgeek Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    falcon101 wrote: »
    Hello all,

    What is your opinion for working in the "IT part" of the educational field? Namely the question refers to IT Management/User support in a University and/or College.

    I am curios to find out about opinions or experiences.

    Thanks.

    I work for a small private college as a manager for user services... It doesn't pay as well as industry but its not as stressful as industry too. The benefits are good - biggest one is tuition reimbursement. Being a small private college budget is always tight so we're not on the "bleeding edge" but we do fairly well.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions....
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    falcon101falcon101 Member Posts: 51 ■■□□□□□□□□
    pakgeek wrote: »
    I work for a small private college as a manager for user services... It doesn't pay as well as industry but its not as stressful as industry too. The benefits are good - biggest one is tuition reimbursement. Being a small private college budget is always tight so we're not on the "bleeding edge" but we do fairly well.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions....




    Wow...looks like you are in a very similar position that I am/ will be icon_smile.gif

    I just accepted an offer to be a Support Services Manager for a well known College/University system in Cali. I am looking forward to it. Although i do expect challenges and hurdles but also see the benefits. It is a manager position which will open up proj management and other areas to discover with a good size IT infrastructure.

    I had to take a $5000/yr pay cut from my current employer but the benefits are amazing INCLUDING a "free" Masters degree or UP!

    I understand that not all university tech environments will be similar but it'll help to get feeling beforehand, so what has been your overall experience dealing with faculty, Directors and other factors in IT there?
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    PilotrebornPilotreborn Member Posts: 48 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thats awesome, Will you be taking advantage of the free Masters degree?
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    pakgeekpakgeek Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    falcon101 wrote: »
    Wow...looks like you are in a very similar position that I am/ will be icon_smile.gif

    I just accepted an offer to be a Support Services Manager for a well known College/University system in Cali. I am looking forward to it. Although i do expect challenges and hurdles but also see the benefits. It is a manager position which will open up proj management and other areas to discover with a good size IT infrastructure.

    I had to take a $5000/yr pay cut from my current employer but the benefits are amazing INCLUDING a "free" Masters degree or UP!

    I understand that not all university tech environments will be similar but it'll help to get feeling beforehand, so what has been your overall experience dealing with faculty, Directors and other factors in IT there?

    Congratulations and good luck on your new endeavor. So I take it from your response its a public University - I have worked both in public and private higher ed institutions and its like day and night.

    One thing is for sure that things don't move as quickly as they do in industry so it may or may not be a cultural shock....I work very closely with Faculty/staff and have built a good working relationship with them.

    Hope this helps!

    Abdul Wahab Kazi, MBA, ITIL | LinkedIn
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    falcon101falcon101 Member Posts: 51 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thats awesome, Will you be taking advantage of the free Masters degree?

    Absolutely Yes. This point alone was my main reasoning of accepting a pay cut and the position. The tuition is about $45K/yr in this University since it is top ten liberal arts (although mine will be IS/IT related) University in the US.


    pakgeek wrote: »
    Congratulations and good luck on your new endeavor. So I take it from your response its a public University - I have worked both in public and private higher ed institutions and its like day and night.

    One thing is for sure that things don't move as quickly as they do in industry so it may or may not be a cultural shock....I work very closely with Faculty/staff and have built a good working relationship with them.

    Hope this helps!

    Abdul Wahab Kazi, MBA, ITIL | LinkedIn

    Thanks. Not sure if it is a good thing or bad but it is a private university.

    IN any case I am looking forward to it after 7 years working in a very difficult and challenging corporate environment (and I'm not even talking about the job it self!) A change of pace is necessary for me right now.

    keep a look out for a linkedin connection request from me icon_smile.gif
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    MentholMooseMentholMoose Member Posts: 1,525 ■■■■■■■■□□
    falcon101 wrote: »
    Absolutely Yes. This point alone was my main reasoning of accepting a pay cut and the position. The tuition is about $45K/yr in this University since it is top ten liberal arts (although mine will be IS/IT related) University in the US.
    Lucky you! I worked at a private liberal arts school in California, also around $50K/year tuition, but it was a college, so no masters programs. Also, there were no IT or CS programs at all. icon_sad.gif
    MentholMoose
    MCSA 2003, LFCS, LFCE (expired), VCP6-DCV
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    try2pingittry2pingit Member Posts: 30 ■■■□□□□□□□
    falcon101 wrote: »
    Wow...looks like you are in a very similar position that I am/ will be icon_smile.gif

    I just accepted an offer to be a Support Services Manager for a well known College/University system in Cali. I am looking forward to it. Although i do expect challenges and hurdles but also see the benefits. It is a manager position which will open up proj management and other areas to discover with a good size IT infrastructure.

    I had to take a $5000/yr pay cut from my current employer but the benefits are amazing INCLUDING a "free" Masters degree or UP!

    I understand that not all university tech environments will be similar but it'll help to get feeling beforehand, so what has been your overall experience dealing with faculty, Directors and other factors in IT there?

    Looks like I'm going to be in a very similar situation as well! I have an interview with a University this coming week for a NOC position. It might be 1st shift or 3rd shift. After researching the pay, it looks like I will be taking a ~5K cut as well... But like you said amazing benefits...and free Masters!?! Furthering my education is all I do icon_study.gif
    --WGU BSIT Transcript Evaluation for June '11--
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