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Work for ISP or bank?

If you were given the opportunity, which would you choose to work for and why:

- a manged services provider which would expose you to the latest hardware as a help desk engineer as well as troubleshooting multiple networks a day

Or

a bank where you would be troubleshooting end user issues and some hands on server / networking responsibilities
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    chmodchmod Member Posts: 360 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If both places are well established companies and both are reasonably close to my house i would choose wherever i get paid more.
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    TybTyb Member Posts: 207 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree with chmod, with everything else being equal the one with better salary.
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    markulousmarkulous Member Posts: 2,394 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Too vague of a question. More details are needed about each job.
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    stryder144stryder144 Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It would depend on the technologies that I'd be exposed to. While not as important as the money/benefits, being challenged by new technologies (new to me) would come in a close second.
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    BradleyHUBradleyHU Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    first off, when you say bank, are you talkin about a local bank or one of the more well known investment banks? not neccessarily saying BofA, Citi, MorganStanley, JPMC, WF, Goldman Sachs...those are the big dogs, but it could be like a Lazard, BBVA, BMO, Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui.


    And it depends on a few things. Where you live, and what the pay will be. If the commute is acceptable to you. What industry you want to be in. Me personally, i'm looking to move to financial services, so it one of the international investment banks, i'd jump at that in a heartbeat if the money is right. I currently work @ an MSP, and dont really like it anyways, so i personally wouldn't go for another MSP. And depending upon the MSP, it doesnt neccessarily expose you to the latest hardware. If its one of those MSPs that require their clients to have certain gear, then yes you will. But if its an MSP that will work with what the clients already have, then you never know what you're gonna get.
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I'd go with the bank. Pay tends to be great there and depending on the size of the bank there is usually a chance to move up quickly. Having been with an MSP I can tell you that there are a lot of positives and negatives albeit a lot more negatives. Going from my experience there are a few things to consider:

    1. Stuck with customer equipment - A sales person says "yup we'll support that device" and most customers will assume that means no matter what. So while if you were in house you only have to deal with one set of equipment like this, at an MSP you'll find almost every customer has this type of equipment.

    2. JOAT - Working with new technology is great, but not when you never get to really specialize. Obviously this depends on the MSP, but most tend to be small which means you never get the chance to just do networking or servers. I've seen purely network guys get sent out to wipe machines then reload the OS due to a virus.

    3. Low pay - Generally speaking the pay at MSP's tends to be low. Personally I got to watch sales people purchase new cars, hear about what the partners and sales split as a bonus at the end of the year while the techs got little to nothing. Granted the partners started the business thus that is what it is, but never fun to go to quarterly meetings about the state of the company, hearing about how good we were doing, and then getting no raise on your anniversary.

    I interviewed with a fairly large local bank (they had around 10 branches or so). The help desk seemed pretty cool and the manager spoke about how after a few months he'd lose his best people to other departments. Also, there are banks everywhere so once you're in I'd like to think you can go anywhere.
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I'd rather work where technology is the business 99% of the time. So I'd go the MSP route.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    Cert PoorCert Poor Member Posts: 240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Is this a network role? Or are you starting entry-level like help desk and desktop support?

    My last two companies were regional banks (spanning a handful of states, so not gigantic like BoA but still over 100-500 branches). Very valuable opportunity. All of the key services of IT are available. Hundreds to thousands of servers (including Virtualization tasks, P-to-V migrations, backup/recovery/storage/SAN, snapshots). Heavily Microsoft although banks with in-house financial cores (i.e. not outsourced) definitely have Linux and Unix/AIX/HPUX and other mainframe and middleware areas. Lots of experience with Disaster Recovery (kind of cool to be in a corporate DR bunker doing a DR exercise). Network admins worked with the same ol' day-to-day Cisco/Juniper R&S maintenance, T1/DS3 stuff, MPLS cloud, BGP, SNMP. ATMs have their own networks like STAR.

    Plenty of experience working with a ton of different types of audit. If the charter is NA, it's audited by the OCC. If it's a state-chartered bank, different regulatory body. There's also SOX, GLBA, PCI, internal audit, and many others.

    There's the usual AD and Exchange. There may be e-mail archiving systems. There's hopefully a software distribution system like WDS/SCCM/Radia. There may be developers if the bank is large enough to have its own software. LOTS of in-house software in that case. In either case, you may be dealing with hundreds of different applications, all with their own quirks and learning curves.

    Security is paramount and hopefully robust. You may deploy SSL VPNs, IPSEC VPN, IDS/IPS, new Layer 7 firewalls in addition to the traditional firewalls. Proxies and content filters. DNS. Full-disk encryption. Data Loss Prevention. The typical antivirus/antimalware. User training and security awareness. Wireless LAN deployment that involves Security and Network and some input from the Server people for AD/RADIUS integration and some overlap into Help Desk/Desktop.

    It really depends on what your role(s) is/are, but I really gained a ton of experience working the last several jobs at banks.
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    PlantwizPlantwiz Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    I'd rather work where technology is the business 99% of the time. So I'd go the MSP route.

    I agree with this, but it depends also on how much co-worker interaction is expected or needed. If the team is made up of a bunch of gossips, forget it. No matter how much the company pays the gossiping co-worker group is the 'death' of a good job. I would want to meet the team before making a decision.
    Plantwiz
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Bank +1. The exposure you get in that in that vertical market can really give you a leg up on the competition in that particular industry. MSP's are at the mercy of the customer, I would rather work for the customer and not worry about the additional red tape and nonsense an MSP engineer has to go through. That's just me though With all that said, follow the money.
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    shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    MSP you make money for the company vs being a cost. This gives you a HUGE leg up as its the companies business to make you better.
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    Tremie24Tremie24 Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Being at bank seems like it would be more hands on, than a ISP. An ISP seems like it would be answering phones most of the time and remote work.
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,054 Admin
    If you want to work with a lot of different technologies, consider working for smaller rather than larger companies. If a bank or MSP is very large then it is likely you will be trapped in a departmental silo where you only work with a very narrow range of hardware and software. You may be able to transfer between silos, but a job opening may take years to appear in the department you want, and the competition from your co-workers who also want to move will be fierce. An organization that has a job rotation scheme in place that periodically moves people between departments is best, but very few places (even financial organizations) use job rotation.
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    YFZbluYFZblu Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I do infosec for a large bank - Here are my thoughts as far as security is cocnerned:

    I have friends who work for MSSP contractors for government entities - From what I've heard, they have terrible visibility on the orgs they look after, and that's a huge issue. Primarily, from what I hear, they are limited by the government entities themselves who aren't doing the right things the right way.

    Additionally, a smaller company the bank I work for owns still has a contract with an MSSP - I have handled hundreds of actionable security Incidents since I've been here, and have been alerted by that MSSP exactly one time. IMO, they just don't have the resources/context to do a great and thorough job. Who's fault is that? I honestly don't know. Probably both of ours.

    My conclusion - I would rather do security for one large organization on a day-to-day basis, get familiar with 'normal', have context, create/improve policy, and build relationships that would help me during incident response.
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    AnonymouseAnonymouse Member Posts: 509 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I worked at a large bank for two years in their helpdesk. Hostile environment where personal career growth wasn't exactly encouraged. However I liked the benefits, pay, and the fact that I would never be laid off.
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    skinsFan202skinsFan202 Member Posts: 87 ■■■□□□□□□□
    How do you figure you would never be laid off from a bank?
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    LeifAlireLeifAlire Member Posts: 106
    I worked at a bank for little over 5 years in the IT dept. started as a level 1 helpdesk and moved up the ranks to sys admin even setup a GSX 2.5 VMware server environment for training. We had 300 users and 150 physical servers plus 3 virtual :). Anyways I would go with bank was so much to do. When I started just 5 people in IT when I left over 20.
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    White WizardWhite Wizard Member Posts: 179
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    Is this a network role? Or are you starting entry-level like help desk and desktop support?

    My last two companies were regional banks (spanning a handful of states, so not gigantic like BoA but still over 100-500 branches). Very valuable opportunity. All of the key services of IT are available. Hundreds to thousands of servers (including Virtualization tasks, P-to-V migrations, backup/recovery/storage/SAN, snapshots). Heavily Microsoft although banks with in-house financial cores (i.e. not outsourced) definitely have Linux and Unix/AIX/HPUX and other mainframe and middleware areas. Lots of experience with Disaster Recovery (kind of cool to be in a corporate DR bunker doing a DR exercise). Network admins worked with the same ol' day-to-day Cisco/Juniper R&S maintenance, T1/DS3 stuff, MPLS cloud, BGP, SNMP. ATMs have their own networks like STAR.

    Plenty of experience working with a ton of different types of audit. If the charter is NA, it's audited by the OCC. If it's a state-chartered bank, different regulatory body. There's also SOX, GLBA, PCI, internal audit, and many others.

    There's the usual AD and Exchange. There may be e-mail archiving systems. There's hopefully a software distribution system like WDS/SCCM/Radia. There may be developers if the bank is large enough to have its own software. LOTS of in-house software in that case. In either case, you may be dealing with hundreds of different applications, all with their own quirks and learning curves.

    Security is paramount and hopefully robust. You may deploy SSL VPNs, IPSEC VPN, IDS/IPS, new Layer 7 firewalls in addition to the traditional firewalls. Proxies and content filters. DNS. Full-disk encryption. Data Loss Prevention. The typical antivirus/antimalware. User training and security awareness. Wireless LAN deployment that involves Security and Network and some input from the Server people for AD/RADIUS integration and some overlap into Help Desk/Desktop.

    It really depends on what your role(s) is/are, but I really gained a ton of experience working the last several jobs at banks.

    At the MSP I would be a help desk engineer, troubleshooting networks/ desktops.

    MSP:

    -they reward you and pay for your certs, very much encourage you to pursue your degree and certs as you become more valuable to them

    -They pay hourly and encourage you to work overtime if you desire, you can come in at 7 if you want, take a 1 hour lunch or 1/2 hour lunch and leave early or stay late and make more

    I'm thinking since they offer so many services that it will result in being exposed to a vast amount of hardware and services that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to interact with which helps me become a more knowledgeable and well rounded tech. My concern with the MSP is that I might get stuck in the help desk engineer role, I need to verify this with HR and get some more info.

    Bank:

    My concern with the bank is that while I will be exposed to servers and end user issues, that I will not learn as much as I could with the MSP since I would be dealing with multiple networks a day. I see this as a pro and a con though. Any feedback on this?

    *to clarify, this bank is large but not on the scale of your major names, BofA, US bank, etc. Their IT team consists of 3-4 people at the moment to give you an idea. *



    What I would really like to know is if working at an MSP is stressful or not as the person who interviewed me stated that they have hired a number of people that looked amazing on a resume (the best top tier reps and MCSE's) to have them quit the next day stating that they could not handle the workload.
    "The secret to happiness is doing what you love. The secret to success is loving what you do."
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    JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 Mod Posts: 2,835 Mod
    JDMurray wrote: »
    If you want to work with a lot of different technologies, consider working for smaller rather than larger companies. If a bank or MSP is very large then it is likely you will be trapped in a departmental silo where you only work with a very narrow range of hardware and software. You may be able to transfer between silos, but a job opening may take years to appear in the department you want, and the competition from your co-workers who also want to move will be fierce. An organization that has a job rotation scheme in place that periodically moves people between departments is best, but very few places (even financial organizations) use job rotation.

    Emphasis mine. BINGO!

    For the past 7+ years I have worked for one of the nations largest four banks. I spent 5 years being pigeonholed into my previous IAM role. Even IAM was so broken down and silo'd into teams that support this part of the bank, and teams that support that part, and who provision this and not that. It was awful and honestly the department I was in was truly a career killer. The ONLY people who were lucky to get out were two that had manager buddies in other departments that were able to move them out, and two folks that accepted other roles that were offered solely to our team because they were trying to reduce headcount by two by attrition. Everything at the bank was so segregated that it was impossible to job shadow or cross train and every time anyone posted for positions, the hiring managers wanted people who perfectly met their experience requirements and ended up looking external. They are awful with internal development and let talented folks walk every day.

    Now not every bank is like that. On Monday I just started a new AVP Risk Management position at another of nations largest four banks. I was poached by this company's internal HR recruiter. Again, my previous bank lost out and let another talented employee go. I have long known this bank has had a good rep for employee development and retention, and from everything I've seen so far, the sky is the limit for where I go (of course time will tell). My advice would be to first look for some smaller banks, or other companies. But if you are looking at one of the big four banks, definitely make sure you know how they are with advancement and employee development.
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    pevangelpevangel Member Posts: 342
    You don't really get any downtime when you work for an MSP. You have to account for every single minute you spend at work. The company only makes money when you charge hours to items that they can bill the customer for. But, your stress level is really up to you. Some people try to take on too many tasks and burn themselves out. Learn to prioritize well and shift around items when unexpected things come along. Don't try to take on more tasks than you can handle just to impress your employer. They won't be so impressed when you quit because you've burned yourself out.
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    Cert PoorCert Poor Member Posts: 240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yeah, definitely take all our anecdotal experiences with a grain of salt since there is so much variability at play here. Either the ISP job or bank job could be a dream or nightmare. Or could start out good then go downhill or vice versa. Go with your gut/happiness level and potential for experience and career development. Some places are silo'd (to the extreme. I get that impression with Citi for example just off calling them as a customer and no one department knowing what the other is doing).

    I gotta LOL a little at "Help Desk Engineer" as someone who majored in engineering. (This is nothing directed at OP just personal rant). I think IT bastardizes titles way too much, especially "engineer" when there was no 4-year accredited engr degree with all the years of calculus and physics and thermodynamics and such. :P I've seen it more for other roles like System Engineer, Network Engineer, Security Engineer but not Help Desk Engineer. Carry on. :P

    Edit: It's clear from your posts where your gut is currently leaning.
    At the MSP I would be a help desk engineer, troubleshooting networks/ desktops.

    MSP:

    -they reward you and pay for your certs, very much encourage you to pursue your degree and certs as you become more valuable to them

    -They pay hourly and encourage you to work overtime if you desire, you can come in at 7 if you want, take a 1 hour lunch or 1/2 hour lunch and leave early or stay late and make more

    These two perks alone seem really awesome.
    I'm thinking since they offer so many services that it will result in being exposed to a vast amount of hardware and services that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to interact with which helps me become a more knowledgeable and well rounded tech. My concern with the MSP is that I might get stuck in the help desk engineer role, I need to verify this with HR and get some more info.

    And even if this becomes true that you get "stuck" in Help Desk (but oh noes, promotion to "Help Desk Engineer II" or "Senior Help Desk Engineer"), you still reserve the ability to find a better job at another company down the line. So it's not the end of the world if you have to switch companies in order to escape the Help Desk. It's still worth taking a sure thing just to gain a year or two's experience.
    Bank:

    My concern with the bank is that while I will be exposed to servers and end user issues, that I will not learn as much as I could with the MSP since I would be dealing with multiple networks a day. I see this as a pro and a con though. Any feedback on this?

    *to clarify, this bank is large but not on the scale of your major names, BofA, US bank, etc. Their IT team consists of 3-4 people at the moment to give you an idea. *

    3-4 total IT people? That means the bank is small enough to probably outsource its financial core to a big name like Fiserv, Jack Henry, and maybe some Harland action on the side. You might end up loathing some or all of the names I just mentioned. And I dunno, with only 3-4 literal IT folks, I can't see a big operation here and see better value at the MSP.
    What I would really like to know is if working at an MSP is stressful or not as the person who interviewed me stated that they have hired a number of people that looked amazing on a resume (the best top tier reps and MCSE's) to have them quit the next day stating that they could not handle the workload.

    Good idea to ask about the stress and workload. Your first part about "meh, overtime as needed and free certs!" just seems like a laid back place, but if multiple new hires are leaving almost as soon as their first day, that's a major red flag.

    Good luck!
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    White WizardWhite Wizard Member Posts: 179
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    I gotta LOL a little at "Help Desk Engineer" as someone who majored in engineering. (This is nothing directed at OP just personal rant). I think IT bastardizes titles way too much, especially "engineer" when there was no 4-year accredited engr degree with all the years of calculus and physics and thermodynamics and such. :P I've seen it more for other roles like System Engineer, Network Engineer, Security Engineer but not Help Desk Engineer. Carry on. :P

    LOL, I thought the same when I saw that.

    Help desk is help desk, regardless if it says engineering.

    Thank you for your input, very informative icon_thumright.gif
    "The secret to happiness is doing what you love. The secret to success is loving what you do."
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    BradleyHUBradleyHU Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Bank:

    My concern with the bank is that while I will be exposed to servers and end user issues, that I will not learn as much as I could with the MSP since I would be dealing with multiple networks a day. I see this as a pro and a con though. Any feedback on this?

    *to clarify, this bank is large but not on the scale of your major names, BofA, US bank, etc. Their IT team consists of 3-4 people at the moment to give you an idea. *

    Is it an investment bank, that has a trading floor, or more so a retail/commercial bank? if its an investment bank, they WILL have alot of the latest tech, especially dealing with traders.

    and like i said earlier, just because you're at an MSP, doesn't necessarily mean that you'll deal with the latest tech there either. It all depends on the philosophy of the MSP. Some MSPs will require their clients to upgrade their equipment, and some will just work with whatever the client has, and if and when the client decides to upgrade their gear...
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    NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I work at the second largest credit union in my state but have never worked for an MSP. Please feel free to ask any financial institution specific questions you may have.
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    JustFredJustFred Member Posts: 678 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you can work under extreme stress then go for the Banking job. The pay is always solid, but am not sure its worth the stress half of the time or some executive threatening to stick a pen in your throat on a Saturday when you should be out having fun with family and friends :)
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
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    maharalielmaharaliel Member Posts: 119
    I will base my decision on technologies and How much the job is paying. The bank may be paying more but using technologies that are not interesting, in this case I will compare and balance the advantages. If they equal in all, I will go to ISP.
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    itdaddyitdaddy Member Posts: 2,089 ■■■■□□□□□□
    well said below. I can tell you cheap companies won't give you back for lost health. my experience do your job well and go home let management stress not you.
    But, your stress level is really up to you. Some people try to take on too many tasks and burn themselves out. Learn to prioritize well and shift around items when unexpected things come along. Don't try to take on more tasks than you can handle just to impress your employer. They won't be so impressed when you quit because you've burned yourself out.

    I am in same position get big pay for JOAT jobs or concentrate in network engineering?
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    RomBUSRomBUS Member Posts: 699 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would say work for a MSP unless like some people said if the bank is a well know prestigious bank I then would go for that. I've worked at an MSP as a help desk engineer and I kind of liked that role and other time gained the trust of the higher ups and eventually got to do assist with more critical projects and was always almost called upon to tag along. Also, learned a lot by troubleshooting and/or visiting different environments.

    It seems split down the middle based on the other members posting on this. Quite the predicament
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I would definitely work for a bank. I've always preferred to be close to the actual business if I could. Also - Banks don't necessarily imply consumer banking, there are lots of different businesses that banks can own today. I probably wouldn't be as interested in consumer banking or investment banking, but if the bank had a broker-dealer or asset manager, that's probably where I would be most interested.
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    itdaddyitdaddy Member Posts: 2,089 ■■■■□□□□□□

    If you can work under extreme stress then go for the Banking job. The pay is always solid, but am not sure its worth the stress half of the time or some executive threatening to stick a pen in your throat on a Saturday when you should be out having fun with family and friends icon_smile.gif
    omgosh story of my life....yes this Is true even in credit unions.
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