Helpdesk vs NOC....Education vs Expierence

d0gmad0gma Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everyone, I'm in a delema. I've just turned 25 and finally graduated from college with a Degree in Information Security and Forensics which would translate into basically Network Security with more emphasis on the security portion. I have about a year of Teir 1 Help Desk support under my belt and another year of Teir 2 support while Interning for my cities IT department. With the current helpdesk position there isn't much room for growth and now that I'm finished with school it is definately time to move on, not to mention the shitty pay of $13.90. I have alot of interest when it comes down to my career but overall my main goal is to become a security specialist, which I know is no short term goal. I will be taking my CCNA in a month and then after that I am looking to aquiire A++,MSCE and RHCE with in the next following year. I do like the networking side of the field and have a grasp solid understanding of it.

Now the problem I am running into is deciding on the next step I choosing which would be between searching for a Helpdesk position with potential to climb the ladder or a NOC position which would allow me to focus on the networking and make my way up to become a network admin/engineer. I have a job interview for a Helpdesk contract position, with possibility of getting a permanent position, with a well respected University in a week. My main interest in taking this job is mainly because of the employee tuition benefit they provide for fulltimes after a years work, they currently will cover 100% with a max of 2 classes per quarter. I would definitely like to get my Masters in Computer Science or Business but there is no way I can afford it with the loans I already have to payback. Also the promising part is that I know they have Desktop/AV Team lead position and other available spot that I can look to attain during my employment with them but then on the other side of things is the apect of being stuck in a Helpdesk position and if award fulltime, the opportunity to continue my education and attain my Master in about 3-4years which includes the year and half I'd dedicate to to getting the fulltime position and my year of employment.

On the other side of things I know how important quality experience is in this field and wondered if it may be a wiser decision to find employment in a NOC, which I've also been applying to, and gain that quality experience and work my way up.

What I'm afraid of is that I attain a Master in 4 year but then I'm 29 years old with Helpdesk and or Desktop experience and have difficulties finding the type of position I would like to see myself in at that age or even worse, end up having to start my way in the NOC anyway and working my way up.

Sorry if this was a confusing message, I was in a rush and wanted to get my thoughts out to see what you guys thought. Thanks for the replied in adv.



  • lla1977lla1977 Registered Users Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I was once where you are - sort of. I started out as a tech support helpdesk guy, then supervisor/mgr, then network admin, then network engineer, and now NOC manager. It took me about five years to do it all. I hold bachelors, CCNP, CISSP, and a few lesser certs. I am saying this to say that I understand your situation. depending on where you live and the type of opportunities available, you could chose to go either way. I tried the Windows/Sys Admin stuff and I can tell you that competition is steep and its hard to get noticed it helpdesk/admin type environments.

    I was attracted to networking because I got tired of Windows and it appears to pay much better. I too would love to get my masters but have accrued to many student loans to afford it.

    In my opinion networking is the way to go. I work in the NOC and evaluate a lot of different talent/applicants & existing engineers and can tell you that there are many more opportunities to shine here in my opinion.

    PS: MCSE is soooo outdated and soooo 2003. Its nearly worthless now and I dont know why people keep pursuing it. Please visit MS cert site for more updated certs.
  • d0gmad0gma Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the response. My question to you or anyone with similar types of experience in the real world, is it a wise choice for me to stick to building my career in networking now and put off my attempts to attain a master off or to take a hit on gaining that experience and do whats necessary to get my Masters.

    Ohh and yea I plan on sticking on my path of Networking no matter the option I choose.
  • lla1977lla1977 Registered Users Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Experience first...

    You already have a Bachelors and it doesnt sound like you've done anything with it necessarily. What i mean is you probably dont yet work a position that requires it. Get as far as you can go with the bachelors... Concentrate on getting exposure to different aspects of IT and new technologies. There will be other opportunities to be at least partially compensated for the cost of a Masters. With a bachelors in hand you will get farther pursuing some of the more advance certs. There is no rush to get your masters... you can still get paid pretty well and go far without it. I've hit that threshold i think, but it sounds like you still have a ways to go.
  • pham0329pham0329 Member Posts: 556
    If you're looking to get into networking, I would only take a helpdesk position with a company that's big enough to have separate IT department/functions.

    If you get stuck in a helpdesk for a small/midsize company, it's much harder to transition into the networking side.
  • xenodamusxenodamus Member Posts: 758
    I vote you continue to focus on gaining experience. I started fixing PCs in high school and have made it to Network Engineer at 25 with an AAS. You don't need a masters (or even a bachelors) to get rolling and make good money. You may reach a point eventually where you need to go back for your masters to continue progressing. I can tell you I haven't had that problem yet after 9 years in the game.

    If you want to work with servers, try to advance into a Desktop Support role. If you want to work with routers and switches, find a NOC or a small environment where you would have more opportunity to put your hands on a little bit of everything.

    Either way, I say focus on advancing your skills and moving up. Leave the degree for another day.
    CISSP | CCNA:R&S/Security | MCSA 2003 | A+ S+ | VCP6-DTM | CCA-V CCP-V
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