progression conumdrum

JCGeeJCGee Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
I currently work as a helpdesk/field tech [L1/L2] but have pretty much hit my limit as far as advancement will go in my company. I am looking to get into system administration, but it is not possible to gain any server experience in my department.
I recently put out some feelers and received a number of calls but most seem to fall flat.

So I come as ask those that made the jump, somehow, from HD/Desktop support to server/system admin, on how you did it. How do I get into systems/server admin when even 'entry/junior' level positions are requiring 2-3 years of server experience?
Currently studying towards the MCITP: SA, figuring that at least on interviews, I can show some ambition, but completely understand that having a 'home network/server' is a far cry from implementing and administering one in an enterprise environment.



  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The Orthodox way to progress would be L1 -> L2 (Desktop Support) -> L3 (System Administration), doing it this way puts you in a position to start taking on some L3 responsibility while still in a L2 job. Does your current org not have a L3? Is it outsourced or something?

    Personally I went from L1 -> L3, But i knew some really good people where I worked and they knew my skills. Also, a "Home" setup really isn't a far cry if it's setup well. I know some people who have home setups that would put some organisations to shame :)
  • About7NarwhalAbout7Narwhal Member Posts: 761
    You aren't alone. I just left a job I really enjoyed for an opportunity at a future career. I was never going to move off of HD and had to make a change to advance my career. I am currently an Operations Analyst at a larger medical provider. While I like the people I work with and my job is acceptable, I cannot help but feel like I am not near as happy as I was at my other position. Not sure if that is normal or not. I guess sometimes you have to take a job or two you don't really enjoy if you want to reach your end goal.

    Anyway, I too would like some advice from people who have made the switch. Thanks ahead of time.
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    JCGee where are you looking for jobs? What companies?

    Don't forget, a Junior System Administrator can be anything from a Guy in a School doing L1-L3 with 2-3 Servers (Quality Experience does Matter) but as long as you make the most of it, it will still count towards the 2-3 years.

    Personally if i had my time again, I would choose a different place to start off. Too much red-tape where i started & everyone was scared of change, due to ITIL.

    You really need to look for a Small/Medium shop with somewhere between 1-10 Servers, a bit of Storage, take a foray into Networking if you can. This will all make you a well rounded "Systems Engineer", don't fall into the trap of just being a "Windows Admin" - The all rounders at our work are those who can get stuff done. :)
  • JCGeeJCGee Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    We have level 3, but it is impossible to 'infringe' upon their territory. In fact, asking them simple questions has them all scattering thinking that I want their job.

    I've 'proved' myself, I suppose, to extend my responsibilities outside my normal job function, hence the coverage of level 1 and 2 issues. Progression to full time level 2 actually might be a step back since desktop support in a almost, fully thin client, virtualized environment really doesn't push one's skillset. I do have more freedom than most level 1. We handle access control, remote first point of contact and best of all, hit the floor to interact with the end users. I have found my way to weasel into some application implementation as well and work directly with a few vendors that support some new systems we have put in place. That all being said, not much further I can go where I am...and with all that freedom for a level 1/2, if I have to take another password reset call, I just might stick the nearest pen into my left eye [I am right eye dominant, I am not foolish!]

    Dontstop, I bet working through some basic labs just might lead the to the same results [re: home vs enterprise].
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    JCGee wrote: »
    if I have to take another password reset call, I just might stick the nearest pen into my left eye [I am right eye dominant, I am not foolish!]

    Tell me about it, i went L3->L1/2 to a much better company. I so very dearly miss the Sys Admin job, Service Desk is a "once in a lifetime" job. The rate of burnout is 400% faster for me (as a returner to HD/SD). After 3 months i'm ready to walk or stab myself lol

    Seen here:
  • JCGeeJCGee Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Mainly looking on Indeed and Dice. Have my name on 3 recruiter's 'short list' only one of them coming up with any offers of interest. I have mainly been looking at 'junior/entry' level positions. Most screenings go well, and then a face to face they focus on my limited system experience. I have tried to offer lower pay with a 6 month eval to bring me 'up to par' with market value, but any negotiations go in one ear, out the other.

    I suppose for now, I will keep at the self study, grab a cert and see if that helps.

    Still interested in hearing how others made the jump, especially if your environment isn't one that harvests talent/potential and you had to seek the leap elsewhere.
  • JCGeeJCGee Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Looking through that thread. I would gladly accept a pay cut or lateral move knowing there was promise of REAL progression, not just empty promises of pay and promotion.

    For now, hitting the books and pushing a cert or two might be beneficial somewhat.
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Do you have a tertiary education?
  • JCGeeJCGee Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    B.S. - Comp Sci, but that really doesn't seem to matter besides getting passed HR. Currently enrolled in a Master's program...again, only one COO that I interviewed with mentioned it.
  • CodeBloxCodeBlox Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As of about 2 months ago I got out of the helpdesk work and into system administration without the years of experience. I applied for an internal position at the same place and got the position. Of course, during my tenure on the helpdesk I was already taking on some of the sysadmin responsibilities. The folks knew I knew how to do the work so would task me with some of it and lo and behold, I made it. I had to make a leap of faith though to leave my old employer back in May of this year (Also helpdesk) which was a really good decision. Came here to my current employer doing more helpdesk for about 6 months and applied for the posting. The folks here understand that I don't have all the experience but are willing to help/train me with the task assigned to me. We are a small shop so we handle A LOT of different technologies. As of tomorrow, there will only be 2 sysadmins and 2 senionr engineers.

    I was able to get the chance to prove myself by making it known that I had my CCNA and wanted to do the extra work. I haven't even finished my bachelors degree (Only Associates in CS) and honestly, I don't think it will matter one bit about two years down the line with all the experience I will get from this place.
    Currently reading: Network Warrior, Unix Network Programming by Richard Stevens
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    I progressed from Help Desk to Systems Administrator by taking on Sys Admin duties while in HD. I did this by asking what was coming down the pipe and keeping my ear to the ground...over time I got more and more access and admin duties because I could be trusted with the power and my driving point was relieving tier II/III of mundane tickets.

    Then with a healthy yet underqualified resume I interviewed like a champ and showed the capacity and desire to learn. If you see my certs under my name, they have all been earned since starting my new Sys Admin position 1.5 years ago. My shop is mainly linux (which I had never touched before) but the desire to learn and excel is what makes you an attractive candidate.

    Bottom line is are you a positive ROI? If so, you will advance.

    Also other good/main points are applying outside of your current environment and you will get your hands on more toys in a small shop.
  • JCGeeJCGee Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks guys. I will open my search up to a lateral move to a HD in another environment. The one I am in now just doesn't harvest nor recognize interest to progress. Basically seems they are riding me out, expecting me to leave. Positive ROI, definitely. Just have to start believing something WILL land...just hope sooner than later.
  • BoneSpurBoneSpur Member Posts: 33 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I took a job closer to home; 8 minutes away, as opposed to a two hour commute. I hate the [EMAIL="f#@%*ng"]f#@%*ng[/EMAIL] job with a passion. I need to get out to a job that is what I want to do.

    This is a very good thread. Please keep posting about how you got your Sys Admin job.
    All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired. - Chuck Palahniuk
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