Experience and Salary Expectations for IT Career

PDFOURPDFOUR Junior MemberMember Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone! Recently I did a career switch into IT, starting out as Help Desk. I have been in Help Desk for about 1.5 years. My salary is 19.50/hr in the Chicago Area. I would like to know if there is a job level above Help Desk/Support that pays over 40k? And would having the Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Cert, be of any help in regards to moving up in my career?

Comments

  • MiikeBMiikeB Senior Member Member Posts: 301
    To get over 40k in the IT field you have just a couple options:

    Desktop Support - You MIGHT get over it, but just barely, doing on site IT support. Or you could supplement your current income with a company like onforce.

    You can move in to a Technical Lead Tier 2/3 kind of support, or Supervisor. Again, you probably arent going to hit it big with these.

    Sys Admin/Net Admin - Your cert probably won't be much help, you want to look at CCNA or MCITP:SA. A couple years helpdesk experience might get you a Jr level Admin job paying 40/45 BUT your potential in 4-5 years, well the sky is the limit almost. You can definitely be at 80k or more in 5 years if you take this route and excel at your duties.
    Graduated - WGU BS IT December 2011
    Currently Enrolled - WGU MBA IT Start: Nov 1 2012, On term break, restarting July 1.
    QRT2, MGT2, JDT2, SAT2, JET2, JJT2, JFT2, JGT2, JHT2, MMT2, HNT2
    Future Plans - Davenport MS IA, CISSP, VCP5, CCNA, ITIL
    Currently Studying - VCP5, CCNA
  • YFZbluYFZblu Senior Member Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    This is what I tell people I know who want to work in IT: You're in helpdesk, great job - your foot is in the door. Now your goal is to get out of the helpdesk as quickly as possible. Not to say you shouldn't be learning and enjoying the experience, but I don't think anyone switches to IT hoping to work in the helpdesk for a decade.

    The desktop support certification will definitely help you get a desktop support position. That along with an A+ and Net+ and you should look like a nice candidate - But what do you really want to do? Server admin, network admin, security, linux specialization, virtualization, etc? Find what you want, and begin the journey of obtaining a deep understanding of that technology. The money will come.

    Enjoy!
  • paul78paul78 Senior Member Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @PDFOUR - Congratulations on making a successful career switch. I hope you are enjoying it.

    Was your question about IT support careers or about IT careers in general?

    The comment by MiikeB echos very true. But if you are curious about salary expectations for IT professionals in general, there really is no limit. At the high end, if you are entrepeturial in nature, folks like Bill Gates and Michael Dell have done quite well. (just wanted to point out that many of these tech leaders are in IT)
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Senior Member Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    A lot of people I talk to about salaries in IT are very shocked when I tell them that they could probably double their salary in 3 years (or less) with hard work. It's true, though.

    As stated above, help desk/junior admin type positions aren't going to increase too much. You've got a great basis of experience, so now is the time to specialize *if* you're seeking that bigger salary. There's a million ways to go, so I won't limit it to the CCNA or MS certs, but once you decide what you're into (virtualization, storage, networking, Microsoft, Linux, Security..voice..), then start working vigorously on learning about that specialization, and try to find a job which allows you the opportunity to break into that specialization. This part is key- that next position probably won't pay much more than what you make now, BUT, the experience it provides will be invaluable. While there, and presumably learning about new technologies, that's the time to get certified. Stay there a while, gain experience and build your resume....too easy right?
  • skinsFan202skinsFan202 Member Member Posts: 87 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    A lot of people I talk to about salaries in IT are very shocked when I tell them that they could probably double their salary in 3 years (or less) with hard work. It's true, though.

    As stated above, help desk/junior admin type positions aren't going to increase too much. You've got a great basis of experience, so now is the time to specialize *if* you're seeking that bigger salary. There's a million ways to go, so I won't limit it to the CCNA or MS certs, but once you decide what you're into (virtualization, storage, networking, Microsoft, Linux, Security..voice..), then start working vigorously on learning about that specialization, and try to find a job which allows you the opportunity to break into that specialization. This part is key- that next position probably won't pay much more than what you make now, BUT, the experience it provides will be invaluable. While there, and presumably learning about new technologies, that's the time to get certified. Stay there a while, gain experience and build your resume....too easy right?
    I think this is the part that most folks who are looking to move up don't fully understand. "hard work" is a very easy thing to say, but not so easy to execute. I remember when I first started out, I was strictly 9 - 5 and didn't pick up a single IT book/video/lab outside of those hours. It took me a while to realize that won't cut it if I really want to get better in this field.
  • RouteThisWayRouteThisWay Senior Member Member Posts: 514
    Mrock hit the target dead on. That describes me to a T.

    3 years ago I was making about 30k doing help desk work. In a week, I will be starting at close to 70k as a Virtualization Engineer. It was a lot of long hours, sleepless nights, taking risks, etc- but it is totally worth it.

    I would reply with more advice, but I would be parroting Mrock word for word. Just in my example, I went Help Desk -> Sys Admin (used this job to really get involved with VMWare, certified, storage, etc) -> Virtualization Engineer.

    It is very much like Chess- you have to always be looking 2 or 3 moves ahead. Always look for the next job that will get you the experience you want. Again, in my example, in my new job I am looking to pick up skills in large enterprise datacenters- I have always worked in the small business realm. Making this move will set me up in the future to find work in larger environments that can afford to specialize in what I want to do- virtualization.

    There is really no other way I can explain it. Things have worked out different for many people, but for the most part- that is how you transition into the roles and technology you want to be working with.
    "Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture." ~ Vaclav Havel
  • PDFOURPDFOUR Junior Member Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Mrock hit the target dead on. That describes me to a T.

    3 years ago I was making about 30k doing help desk work. In a week, I will be starting at close to 70k as a Virtualization Engineer. It was a lot of long hours, sleepless nights, taking risks, etc- but it is totally worth it.

    I would reply with more advice, but I would be parroting Mrock word for word. Just in my example, I went Help Desk -> Sys Admin (used this job to really get involved with VMWare, certified, storage, etc) -> Virtualization Engineer.

    It is very much like Chess- you have to always be looking 2 or 3 moves ahead. Always look for the next job that will get you the experience you want. Again, in my example, in my new job I am looking to pick up skills in large enterprise datacenters- I have always worked in the small business realm. Making this move will set me up in the future to find work in larger environments that can afford to specialize in what I want to do- virtualization.

    There is really no other way I can explain it. Things have worked out different for many people, but for the most part- that is how you transition into the roles and technology you want to be working with.

    Thanks everyone for the responses!

    I definitely love IT and do not regret making this career switch. I definitely want to go beyond Help Desk. I want to become a Windows/Systems Administrator. I'd probably say my strongest interests are Exchange 2010 and Windows Administration. Right now I am studying for the Windows 7 680 exam. I'm trying to figure out how to get to System Admin roles. I notice many jobs will say you need 3-5 years experience, however I do not understand how 3-5 years of help desk would prepare me for a Windows/Sys Admin role. I recently bought Dan Poulton's book on Win 7 680: Configuration and CBT Nugget Vids. I definitely have no problem putting in the hard work.
  • drkatdrkat Senior Member Banned Posts: 703
    Helpdesk is the killer. The problem is a lot of us (myself included) out stayed our welcome on the Helpdesk / deskside roles. This makes your resume very "Support" and a lot of times jobs will low ball and try to put you into a help desk role.. once I made the switch to Networking, I no longer answer phones .. not that I dont support systems, but the systems are much more critical now then some guys microsoft excel.
  • camomancamoman Junior Member Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    As one ventures into a new field it is always like a chess game trying to make the right next move. There is no right or wrong way to go so I say read all of the books, and study videos and get a FEEL of what you like. In college I took many classes just to see what I would venture in the IT field and I thought it was programming until I took a C+ class and I hated it! Even though it made tons of money. So saying that if your energy is pulling toward Windows 7 or Sys Admin which goes hand in hand go for Microsoft certs and look at those..Cisco may not be for you or all of the other ones...Like someone said there are 100's of jobs you can get in IT but go for what you are happy in and comfortable learning and get to the top in that position regardless of money b/c i know a lot of professionals who hate their job but all they saw was dollar signs...
  • RouteThisWayRouteThisWay Senior Member Member Posts: 514
    Years experience is only just an "ideal" candidate. They aren't hard and fast rules- still apply to them if you don't meet every requirement. In fact, you shouldn't meet every requirement. You want a job you want to be able to grow in and don't know everything about. I have almost 5 years experience and just landed a job that asked for someone with 10 years minimum. I have always ignored the "must have x years experience" and just focused on the desired experience/skills with the technologies they are looking for.

    Some don't advocate that, but I do- it may waste some companies' time but you are out there looking for a job for you. You never know who may take a chance on you.

    You have to sell yourself using your attitude, your abilities, and your ambition. (Nice alliteration, eh?)
    "Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture." ~ Vaclav Havel
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