What is Your Specialty and How do You Like it?

bugzy3188bugzy3188 Member Posts: 213 ■■■□□□□□□□
I am currently working as a Help Desk grunt for an MSP working to gain the invaluable experience that any IT career depends on. In 6 months I have broken ground and become proficient at level 2 support and am on the fast track to becoming a level 3 helpdesk/ Field technician. But I digress, I have made a resolution to get my security+ and CCNA in 2013 and double my salary (Set your goals high my mom always said) which, considering the pay that I receive now, will be hard but doable. Now that I have gotten a better peek in to the IT world and the different facets involved, I have been giving quite a bit of consideration as to what I would like to specialize in after getting my CCNA whether it be security, databases, VOIP, etc.

I was just curious as to what some of your specialties are as well as how you went about gaining knowledge in that area and how it has affected your career. I would love to hear from you guys and get some inside info on the different areas of the IT field...
If you havin frame problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a switch ain't one


  • Options
    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Service Desk Design and Operations
    Service Integration
    Process Improvement and Redesign
    Transition Management
    Moving into Project Management and Security

    I do like what I do, but I am really looking forward to managing a provisioning team rather than a support team.
  • Options
    dmoore44dmoore44 Member Posts: 646
    INFOSEC, currently performing system and device audits.

    So far, I like it a lot. It can be repetitive, but there are tons of opportunities to improve on the audit process (i.e. attempting to automate certain portions, improve on the system/device configuration guides, write/amend policy, etc...)
    Graduated Carnegie Mellon University MSIT: Information Security & Assurance Currently Reading Books on TensorFlow
  • Options
    rwmidlrwmidl Member Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Sr. Windows Sys. Admin and also InfoSec.
    The project I'm currently on is ramping down so I'm seeing what will happen next. But usually it's a mix between managing all of our Windows VM's, as working with our "official" Info Assurance group on Windows policies, security, audits, etc (they realized early on I know my s**t so we've had a good working relationship and bounce ideas off each other).
    I also dabble a little bit with project management and SCRUM.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • Options
    phoeneousphoeneous Member Posts: 2,333 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I specialise in everything from AD to ZBF. One day I'm working on database management, or voice, or security, or routing/switching, or group policies, or...
  • Options
    f0rgiv3nf0rgiv3n Member Posts: 598 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Network Security, Route, Switch.

    My career path has led me this path because of the demand of where I live. If I had my dream job I would be doing more infosec type stuff but I don't live in a huge city so it's hard to come by. I started out by trying to learn everything: Windows Server, Linux, Unix, Infosec, Networking. I continue to try and learn as much as i can about all these things which I feel makes my decision making better because I understand the big picture.

    I started out as a PC technician in high school. This helped me understand customer service as well as why we have jobs in the first place in IT. If we didn't have end-users what use would we have for any of this other stuff? No matter how high you climb on the "IT ladder" your end users are always the ones who use the technology. This key bit of information I feel has been extremely useful to have since the beginning.

    While I was a PC technician I was in college and took a CCNA course. I studied like mad every weekend and day for a summer and passed it with a 517 (required a 515). This was in 2007 when there was no CCENT. During the same time I had obtained A+ and was working on MCSA 2003. Yes, I was pursuing 3 different categories (windows server, networking and still PC support). It was because I had all three categories that I was able to get my next job, after working 3.5 years as a PC tech.

    I became a network technician at a small-mid size business with 500-600 employees (my first corporate experience). I was mostly half help desk (the only one) and half sys admin. I grew from half help desk half sys admin to full time sys admin and because of how the company was structured I ended up doing all Windows server administration, backups, some linux, Cisco ASA firewalls (VPNs), switches, implemented a SAN and VMware. Had I not had the knowledge from my studies (MCSA, CCNA, A+, Network+) I think it would have been very difficult to stay afloat.

    After 4 years I outgrew the company and saw that I wasn't going to be able to go any further in my knowledge. By having the certifications and the 4 years experience I was able to get a job at a company that supports large businesses in the Silicon Valley. I was solely focused on network engineering at this job. I learned a lot but worked my ass off. After 9 months decided that the California culture (50+ hrs/week) wasn't for me and got my current job.

    I now work for a large corporation and have been able to take advantage of some downtime and get a few certifications while I've been here (JNCIA, JNCIS, CCNP). My career has been a slow process of building up experience from projects and certifications. Certs don't substitute for experience but it sure makes it easier to get experience.

    My opinion is that the certifications gets someone to look at you but you're the one who pushes yourself to build that experience. Self-study has worked great for me because it's usually cheaper than paying for a class, haha :) . However now that I have a company that is willing to send me to training I may take advantage of that and get more face-to-face training.

    Sorry for the novel, I wrote this because I feel that it would have been useful to me when i was starting out. Aside from that, I say you're on the right path man! PM me if you have any questions.
  • Options
    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■

    What are some early wins to look for in an Access Management Team?

    Just curious you sound like you have a good idea.
  • Options
    MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My specialty is making good decisions. I improve things and make logical decisions. That's really what I think I've figure out. That's why I want to branch out from IT into Operations and continue to make those same types of decisions.

    I can give you the best advice I can give that I use to really understand subjects... That is, try to understand the PURPOSE behind why things are the way they are.

    When asked (like in an interview of the thread I just last responded to) "What is the difference between routing and NAT?" then you could "answer" that question if you understand WHY there is routing and WHY there is NAT. Even if you don't know exactly how NAT is encapsulating packets, having the reason WHY NAT is around will be the ground work to help you expand your knowledge on the subject.

    I don't really know a whole lot about NAT. But I can understand when network engineers are talking about how it is frustrating it is, I can see through my base knowledge of NAT, that it would be hard to track because you are trying through a trick process to hide the internal IP addresses as best you can at the same time keeping a way to get back to the original requester of the information. NAT came around to use non-internet routeable IP addresses on the LAN side as private addresses. Then when I want to drill into the subject more, I always relate it somehow back to the overall purpose. This builds a whole puzzle in my brain where I'm adding puzzle pieces one-by-one until I get the whole picture.
    My blog http://www.calegp.com

    You may learn something!
  • Options
    tbgree00tbgree00 Member Posts: 553 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My specialty is VMware in particular and virtualization in general. Throw in a little XenDesktop for flavor and you have my specialties in a nutshell. I got here by making a decision to be the virtualization authority in my region. It's an egotistical goal and fairly silly but it gave me some focus and drive. I started reading white papers while I was primarily doing helpdesk and Microsoft certifications. After I had a install of VMware 3.5 and a upgrade to 4.0 for my business at the time I really started reading more intently and watching all the VMware TV stuff I could. With the job change I had a few years ago I had access to the most important thing in the IT world... a budget. I was sent to the VCP5 course and took the test. With the knowledge I gained there I am always consulted when our techs do a VMware install for a client and troubleshoot their stuff.

    I still have to do some help desk stuff so I'm not quite where I am and I really have some holes in my learning but I'm getting close to where I want to be and I love it.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • Options
    NightShade1NightShade1 Member Posts: 433 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wireless Networks
  • Options
    HondabuffHondabuff Member Posts: 667 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Spent 2 years as a Level 2 support for a local school with an IT director title. The pace was very slow but got alot of hands on with Converting server 03 to Server 08 and R2. Replaced our entire Access layer swithces with Enterasys B5 and Replaced our Core HP Blade switch with a Enterasys C5 Stack. Basically learned everything from imaging with Ghost and Built a WDS server. While it was slow, I studied for my CCNA and passed with 937 on CCENT and 958 on ICND2. With CCNA in hand along with my other Certs earned me a position as a Desktop support in a fortune 500 company. Just about a $25k a year pay raise. My main job now was to build a WDS Server and maintain our new images. I have had the opportunity to work on a couple cool projects "ESXI Cluster with Virtual Desktops" so far and just putting in my time until I can break in on the network team or server team. Its kinda a drag to start on the Help Desk again but Im on Destop support and not Phones all day long. Im hoping 2013 will be the year I get my chance to get on the network team and grow and learn. I will be taking my CCNA Voice exam at the end of the month and hope this will open some more doors for me. Its been a long 3 years leaving a Big Box chain store of 12 years but has been worth the effort.
    “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you can’t always be sure of their authenticity.” ~Abraham Lincoln
  • Options
    sieffsieff Member Posts: 276
    Cisco VoIP and I absolutely love it.
    "The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept were toiling upward in the night." from the poem: The Ladder of St. Augustine, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Options
    shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    sieff wrote: »
    Cisco VoIP and I absolutely love it.

    Me too. Looking to lean UCCE/CVP in 2013.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • Options
    pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    My specialty is that i have a very diverse skillset. I have had exposure to many different infrastructures and skills, from Mac, to PC to linux. A computer science background, and am currently studying towards a Masters in Enterprise Risk and Security Management. In addition, i think what sets me apart are my soft skills and ability to interface with both internal and external customers effectively, especially in a pre/post sales engineering capacity. Right now im doing Pre-sales engineering at a security company and i love it. Learning a ton and have the ability to interact with high level tech folks at many different organizations. No telling exactly where i will be 5 years from now, however, my goal as always is to make sure i have many options available to choose from.
  • Options
    MickQMickQ Member Posts: 628 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Nuclear physics. I do it in my spare time (see LFTR technology).

    The bill payer is networks and IT consultation. It's also good :)
  • Options
    DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would say at heart I am still a Scientist, its what I studied at university and what I work in until my mid 20's. Science teaches you how to approach a problem. Unlike many other fields in science research there is not an answer to a problem, you are at the edge of knowledge, its about forming a idea (hypothesis) and then testing that to see if your ideas are correct. You can't go to a book and look up the answer, so to succeed you need to be able to form your own ideas and then find ways to prove your ideas are right to other people.

    I think this background of how to approach problems, and presenting my ideas to peers has stood me in very good stead for working in IT. I am happy to take on work that I don't have any experience in, because I am confident that with in a short space of time I will be able present a clear and complete solution. It has server me well enough that I have moved from an entry level help desk position 5 years ago to the network consultant for the network insulation in a new world leading research lab among other things.

    Success in IT is not about the volume of knowledge you know (although that helps), take any single field of IT and any sub field within that, and the volume of raw knowledge it contains will outstrip even the most experienced of engineers abilities. My chosen Direction with in IT is Core Networking and Security, although my experience and skills entend in to AD, Widows server, VMware, Voice, Wireless and indeed most areas in the IT world.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
Sign In or Register to comment.