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Where do I go from here?

kbowen0188kbowen0188 Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
I am 22, and I have about 2 years of experience in a professional IT field. I am currently working on a 2 year IT Systems degree, though the going is slow. I am attempting to pay for it out of pocket, and that makes it a bit harder than it should be to get it done in any reasonable amount of time.

I have had two jobs in this field.
  • I first broke into the field by landing a job at a Mom and Pop shop. I basically offered myself for nothing, and ended up working at minimum wage as a Field Technician. I would go to businesses and homes and fix whatever they needed fixed, as well as working on PC's brought into the shop. This was minor network installation and repair, virus removal, data recovery, etc.
  • After about eight months of this, I landed a job as a Help Desk Technician at a local bank. This is a state bank, and the Help Desk actually only handles bank issues. We do not deal with the outside customers. I eventually got "promoted" to an assistant Field Tech due to my experience in that already. I do normal Help Desk stuff, as well as a lot of hardware work, imaging work, and general XP troubleshooting. I also work with AS400's. I have learned a lot in this role, and it is a company that pays well and seems to have a lot of room for expansion. They currently are running on Server 2003, and Windows XP, and looking to upgrade soon.

I want to advance in my career, and in this company. I am at a bit of a loss how to do it. I feel like I have almost mastered the Help Desk role, as a lot of it is similar to what I was doing before. I have downtime, and I want to spend this downtime doing something productive (working on a cert, on my schooling, etc). I also want to know more. I just don't know what I want to know.

There are so many fields in IT. I am currently a tech, and don't feel that being a "tech" is the best path I could take. There seems to be a "roof" to being a tech. At first I considered getting a cert for Windows 7, to brace myself for that move and to expand my knowledge as a hardware/software/OS tech... but that seems to be limiting myself. At the bank, we have techs... then we have "officers", who handle servers, Exchange/Outlook, security, the AS400, and so on. The officers are the ones who end up making the money.

With this in mind, how do I find out what I want to do? I know I don't want to do Networking. What does that leave me? I am interested in Security, but only because I love viruses, removing them, preventing them, and so on. This isn't at all what Security is about, from what I understand. I am worried about diving in, because college is so expensive, and time feels limited.

Has anyone encountered this, or does anyone have advice? At 22, I don't feel as if I should still be confused about where I want to go. I am in the field I love, and now I am at a loss.

I have a friend who has a job at NetApp, and he has been pushing me to try and work for that. It looks like Large Area Storage Systems? I am confused what field that would even be in.

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    ibn e batutaibn e batuta Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Have you consider doing Microsoft certifications ? As your place is running server 2003 and Microsoft Active directory, if you don't want to do networking, then do consider Microsoft certifications
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    kbowen0188kbowen0188 Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have. I was considering doing the Windows 7 certs to prepare myself for the eventual conversion, but even that seems to be shoehorning myself into a "tech" role. Is this not as bad of a thing as I am making it out to be?
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    PolynomialPolynomial Member Posts: 365
    kbowen0188 wrote: »
    I have a friend who has a job at NetApp, and he has been pushing me to try and work for that. It looks like Large Area Storage Systems? I am confused what field that would even be in.

    Storage is just another IT specialization. Depending on the size of the company you usually deal with NetApp or EMC. Smaller tend to go with NetApp and vice versa. Storage guys do really well salary wise but I doubt its possible to go from help desk -> storage admin without some system admin experience in between.
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    kbowen0188kbowen0188 Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    He was actually looking to get me into more of a Help Desk role over there, which still requires quite a bit of experience. I think they like their Support to have 5-6 years of IT experience, along with a degree, and some other things.

    System Admin seems to be a varied position, and was something I took into consideration. If I went for the Windows certs, I feel like that would push me towards some sort of Admin role as I continued to expand my knowledge to Servers and such?
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    PolynomialPolynomial Member Posts: 365
    kbowen0188 wrote: »
    He was actually looking to get me into more of a Help Desk role over there, which still requires quite a bit of experience. I think they like their Support to have 5-6 years of IT experience, along with a degree, and some other things.

    System Admin seems to be a varied position, and was something I took into consideration. If I went for the Windows certs, I feel like that would push me towards some sort of Admin role as I continued to expand my knowledge to Servers and such?

    NetApp would be a good resume builder for someone in the IT field. And companies where IT is the primary business model tend to pay better for the positions. That's not ALWAYS true though.

    As for Windows certifications my suggestion is ask yourself where you want to be. More certifications does not always equate more money. Pick certifications that take you in the direction you'd like to go in rather than mixing them together. So yes, if you want to stay with Microsoft stuff look into MSCE.

    I'm ultimately more interested in management so I'm aligning myself in that direction. For example part of my master's degree can involve Linux/Unix classes. Adding Linux/Unix to my resume would be huge and give me such better insight into the business of Linux/Unix hosting which is something I really need to understand. Could even open job opportunities as Linux/Unix is really relevant in my area.
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    kbowen0188kbowen0188 Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I suppose that is my main problem. I am not so sure where I want to be. It is hard for me to read about a position or study on a position, and go, "oh that sounds fun". Networking sounded fun until I actually started messing with routers and switches and IPs and such. Then I hated it.

    Getting involved with a certification or two and then enrolling at WGU would be my ideal path, it is just finding out exactly which path I want to take, and I suppose I am confused on how to go about that.
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    PolynomialPolynomial Member Posts: 365
    kbowen0188 wrote: »
    Getting involved with a certification or two and then enrolling at WGU would be my ideal path, it is just finding out exactly which path I want to take, and I suppose I am confused on how to go about that.

    Only your gut can answer that question ;)
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