Options

Networking, security, or systems?

lawrence_of_arabialawrence_of_arabia Member Posts: 58 ■■□□□□□□□□
Well, I may not get any feedback here, but let's give it the ol' college try.. I'm pretty new to IT (almost 2 years experience). I worked on a gov't contract for a while doing help desk and just recently snagged a job as a systems admin at a smaller company. The experience I am getting here is wonderful (which is good, because the compensation could be better). The problem is that I am REALLY starting to feel like I need to work toward a specific career path, but I truly enjoying doing all of it- Windows, Linux, routing, switching, security, project planning, and even aspects of IT management seem interesting. I'd love to hear about some paths within IT that people chose to take and why. I have always heard that it's best to pick something specific and own it. BTW, I'm a huge fan of money!

Comments

  • Options
    NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Your first vendor certification(s) will only involve a month or three of part-time study, so if you end up changing course, little ventured little gained. If you end up going in another direction, you will just be a bit more well-rounded than your colleagues. You can even sell that, to a degree. I would put more care into your choice of intermediate certifications.
  • Options
    docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Is there something specific that inspires you? An image in your mind? The ecosystems of systems or networks or voice or storage or ...?

    It's fun to be a generalist too since you get to see the entirety of the playing field, although you end up with less depth than those who concentrate on one or two areas. What's your real motivator?
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • Options
    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I'm a huge fan of money!
    If your primary motivation is compensation, perhaps you may want to consider being a generalist and giving IT management a try. The competition can be fierce and few individuals reach the senior management roles which command the high compensation levels. But it is attainable if you work hard and you have the requisite leadership qualities.
  • Options
    NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The competition can be fierce and few individuals reach the senior management roles which command the high compensation levels.
    Fair point. Just yesterday I was showing someone the salary bands, and lamented that engineers top out at $200k, while the director of a large company or VP of a small company can make $300k+. I'll stay an engineer, anyway.
  • Options
    blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Whatever you choose, make sure you do it because you like it and not just to get a salary, otherwise you may lose interest, and therefore training hours, and therefore the salary.
  • Options
    spicy ahispicy ahi Member Posts: 413 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hey, if you're really feeling gutsy you can do what I do and kind of let your career take you where it wants to go. I started off as a windows sysad but moved to a job that was embedded in a network shop. I transitioned to networking from there but because of my systems background, the IA/security stuff got dumped on me because the guys there where strictly TCP/IP. It's that experience that eventually lead me to working in information security/information assurance and strangely enough the security work lead me back to networking. As we speak, linux gas started to become a hot topic at work so this networking job looks like it may lead me into linux administration in the future.

    Granted, you said you loved money. I have to warn you, my path has been sort of a one step forward, two steps back deal where I've had to take a decent pay cut to transition to another field. So far I've been able to recoup the lost income and get ahead little by little, but if you're looking to shoot straight to the top of the salary scale then maybe pick something and stick with it. If you don't mind taking the long way up the pay scale, the width and eventual depth of knowledge you gain by taking the long and winding road might be worthwhile. I can tell you from experience that it is definitely fun!
    Spicy :cool: Mentor the future! Be a CyberPatriot!
  • Options
    jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I have a similar experience to spicy ... salary wise I went backwards in favour or great jobs ...
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • Options
    dmoore44dmoore44 Member Posts: 646
    If you like it all, then the next discriminator you should use it what you excelled at. If you were a far better netadmin than sysadmin, then go deeper in to netadmin type stuff. If you still can't make a decision, then becoming a PM is a great choice - you'll get to deal with all that you mentioned, but you won't really be involved from a technical standpoint.

    If money is what you're really after, learn Python and SQL/noSQL and become a "Data Scientist". The "Data Scientist" profession is what's really en vogue right now, and they're a pretty hot commodity. Also, knowing how to code in some language is a great skill and will definitely help in other areas.
    Graduated Carnegie Mellon University MSIT: Information Security & Assurance Currently Reading Books on TensorFlow
  • Options
    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @op - There really isn't a right or best path to career rogression. My only advice is to execise patience in judgement and to try to imagine what you might look back on twenty years in the future.

    As I am re-reading my own response and other posts, I am struck on what everyone contributed. For me, I reached a very senior level management role but I reached it in the way that everyone touched on. For example, I always did what I enjoyed as blueberries mentioned - turning down roles that were of little interest; I let my career naturally guide me similar to what spicy said - usually moving in the direction of previous managers or pulled along by previor employers; and as dmoore44 said - I only did what I thought I would excel at or what my management thought I would be successful at.

    @NetworkVeteran - while true that senior management roles command much higher total compensation, I probably should mention that there is a element of variability as well. If the company does not perform, the compensation can be highly impacted.

    @op - BTW - the point raised by NetworkVeteran about being well-rounded is spot on. Being well-rounded increases value to an employer. It can also give you greater perspective if you want to eventually transition to management.
  • Options
    lawrence_of_arabialawrence_of_arabia Member Posts: 58 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you for the excellent feedback all.. As NetworkVeteran suggested, I think I'm going to just take the Sec+ that I have the voucher for already and then start hitting the vendor specific certs, starting with CCNA.. I suppose I'm fortunate to have a job that allows me to experience many aspects of IT and learn new things every day.. I have decided that I absolutely want to hit the Engineer level before going into management someday, so I least I know that!
Sign In or Register to comment.