Networking vs Programming??

Python7Python7 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
I was wondering if anyone could tell me the pro's and con's of persuing a career in either networking or programming? I actually enjoy doing both, I practice and read a lot on C++ and Python but have no actual experience to put on a resume. Right now I am studying for my Security+ test, but I have no idea which has a higher demand (a programmer or someone in the networking field.) For someone who wouldn't mind either route any advice would be appreciated!

Comments

  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Hey Python, welcome.

    In my Opinion, Networking is way tougher to get into (But I can't really speak for the other side.) Getting into networking has been extremely difficult for me, and from some of the people I know trying to get into it. There are few things that exacerbate the issue.

    1. No one really likes to give new minted Networker's any real responsibility. You will often be relegated to NOC type jobs,(not downing these, wish I got one when I switched to networking!) and over the last year, there really isn't an over abundance of them. So then you have lots and lots of Networking beginners vying for the same entry level networking positions. Often these positions are 3rd shift types and involve lots of monitoring and very little hands on experience. Which can also impact the ability to move into a more senior level role even after a few years. While none of this is set in stone, it seems to be quite frequent.

    2. I'm noticing that Networking appears to be almost a cult when it comes to breaking in, or the resistance you face. I had my CCNA for about 4 months when I got hired as a network engineer... the only thing my Manager will allow me to do is label patch panels. And unfortunately this is not some right of passage type of thing (If it was i'd do it with a Drunken SMILE!) I don't get brought in on any thing involving the network..none of the configuration of AP's, Routers, none of the dynamics of configuring the network. But I was specifically hired as a Network Engineer because of my CCNA, (Then again my manager is quite selfish and treats the network like its his child... which can also be an issue, for people who don't like to "share" their network.)

    3. Even if you are an Networking Genius, you may still be throttled or held back for lack of experience.. no one trust a noob in the closet or data center. (nor should they... but training and mentoring goes a long way to offset just believing time is the only thing that's needed, versus actual training! They want you trained in the door, with experience, and battle scars, but don't want you to get them on their watch... kind of a catch 22.)

    The thing I noticed about programming is that they don't seem to have as much holding them back. They don't have to jump through all the hoops. If they can program then you can look at the code and tell that they know what they're doing, and they are allowed to do it, at least in some capacity...where as when you are Networking, you have to toil, and damn near kill someone just to allow you to have a chance to touch anything, or be mentored. This is only based on my observations and small sample size. None of the network engineers do any networking where I am, they bring in Cisco Consultants for everything, yet everyone is expected to have a CCNA. It's quite weird. This may also be the same for Programmers, I really don't know, but I don't really hear about them complaining about how hard it is to be allowed to program. I do hear about having to work Help Desk for a few years, and damn near bribing yourself on to a network team to get into networking, regardless of your knowledge. I am sure its different for some people as well. But I would do programming if I could start over from scratch... at least then I could benefit from all my hard work by creating stuff for myself or sell things, or make games, versus waiting years for someone to get over their "uncomfortable" phase so I can log into a router and do stuff I was doing training for ICND2 3 years prior! And I know that obviously CCNA level CLI isn't where it's at... but again... a little taste goes a long way to keeping people movitated to go up that tree... I almost feel that unless you get a CCNP before you attempt the move to networking you are handicapping yourself.... /EndRant

    Again, just opinion on what I've noticed, and obviously perfect job situations make my argument irrelevant. lol.
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Python7 wrote: »
    I was wondering if anyone could tell me the pro's and con's of persuing a career in either networking or programming?.. I have no idea which has a higher demand (a programmer or someone in the networking field.)!
    I've done both. With either career, you can pull in six figures, and you're more likely to excel in whichever you enjoy more. I find it relatively easy to find jobs of either type--although, I will caveat that I have a degree. Any specific questions?
    So then you have lots and lots of Networking beginners vying for the same entry level networking positions.
    Yes and no. When I put my recruiting hat on, I filter by degree and then by CCNA. That gives me a short list of a dozen or so candidates to consider, most of whom will get snapped up by one employer or another. So, while there are hundreds vying for the best positions, hard work can make you a shoe-in for a position with some hands-on.
    Even if you are an Networking Genius, you may still be throttled or held back for lack of experience.. no one trust a noob in the closet or data center.
    There are ways around such objections. An account with privileges for only "show" commands doesn't allow you to do great damage to the network accidentally, and yet allows you to begin developing your skills. They may be especially interested if you promised to do a little extra troubleshooting (for non-critical issues) before calling them. :)
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've done both. What I found is that software development really forces you to delve deeper into IT, especially if you are working on system-level delopment. From a career longevity perspective, I don't think if one if better than another.

    I do think that it is easier to transition from software development to networking than vice-versa. Of course that largely depends on the type of software development.
  • pamccabepamccabe Member Posts: 315
    Yes and no. When I put my recruiting hat on, I filter by degree and then by CCNA.
    Curious, what type of degree do you filter on?
  • dmoore44dmoore44 Member Posts: 646
    paul78 wrote: »
    I've done both. What I found is that software development really forces you to delve deeper into IT, especially if you are working on system-level delopment. From a career longevity perspective, I don't think if one if better than another.

    I do think that it is easier to transition from software development to networking than vice-versa. Of course that largely depends on the type of software development.

    Agreed! Whenever I write any code, I usually have to go and consult the OS API documentation (especially if its Microsoft) to get what I want. Over the past year, I've learned a ton about how MS implements the network stack, how MS handles various bits of authentication, and how MS stores various pieces of system configuration information. Needless to say, MS is giant cluster...
    Graduated Carnegie Mellon University MSIT: Information Security & Assurance Currently Reading Books on TensorFlow
  • Moon ChildMoon Child Member Posts: 182 ■■■□□□□□□□
    In my experience programming is easier to get into because not a lot of people like to code. It is particularly easier to get into programming if your very good at a programming language not many people know, but their is a high demand for. The downside with programming though is it is a job that cam be just as easily done from India for a fraction of the cost. I don't think they can ship networking jobs to India as easily.
    ... the world seems full of good men--even if there are monsters in it. - Bram Stoker, Dracula
  • Params7Params7 Member Posts: 254
    Hardcore programmers are the builders of software that drives all machinery in this world. This world we live in can never get enough of these programmers..whether you get into artificial intelligence, or corporate/web software, or videogames, or mobile apps..

    I wish I loved programming..its pretty much a limitless field where you can create some fantastic stuff (and make gold while you're at it).

    Network admins and engineers are just IT-road builders for business companies, but we rely on Programmers and software engineers to build the tools with which we can play.
  • CodeBloxCodeBlox Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Why not both?
    Currently reading: Network Warrior, Unix Network Programming by Richard Stevens
  • DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    At least network administrators don't have to sit in front of a screen all day like the programmers. At least from what I heard they actually do technical and managerial stuff, which means they probably make more money in the long run.
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @CodeBlox - good point icon_smile.gif

    @MoonChild - with today's technology outsourcing network/systems/storage etc. expertise and certain functions to India already occurs.

    @DissonantData - I rarely come across senior level managers in a business setting who are network administrators. It's usually software engineers and architects that make the business decisions from a technical perspective.
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