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Application support. Good idea or bad?

W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
I've seen a lot of jobs in the Tampa, FL area on dice for application support. The most common ones that I've seen are for SAP systems but I've seen a lot of jobs asking for years of experience in these random applications that I've never even heard of outside of dice. I figured as long as I stick to broader areas of technology or at least more widely used technology such as linux, cisco, SQL and Microsoft I'd be okay but I'm wonder if any of these application support jobs are worth looking into. They seen to pay a decent amount but I'm worried that I'd be pigeonholing myself into gaining experience on an application that no other company uses which doesn't translate well for future job prospects. What do you guys think?


Edit: you know what's crazy is that these application support jobs seem to be paying more than the systems administration jobs I've been seeing. Maybe it's because most of the sys admin jobs that will take you with less than 3 years of experience are at smaller businesses or something.

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    --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    It seems crazy that these jobs pay so well, but really to a business these are vital people/functions.

    The hospital that I work for has an army of application support people (maybe 50, not quite an army but it feels like it when I see them heading to a meeting). They range from nurses that moved into IT to college grads with business degrees that took a liking to working with computers. Pay starts ~$50,000 (in a low cost of living area).

    As far as pigeonholing, you are still troubleshooting software & hardware when needed. You are also in a role where you have to educate non-technical staff on how to use a rather technical suite of software (which is no easy task). As long as you keep up your studies on whatever cert/education you are working towards I would not worry about it.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Just my 2 cents, but in my experience, application or more specifically business domain expertise will always pay a little more than plain IT skills. The reason is that IT skills tend to be a bit more commoditized. For example, if an employer needs a .NET programmer, those are pretty much easier to recruit. But if the employer needs a .NET programmer who understands how to write code for a specific financial services problem statement or understands that particular industry nomenclature and business workflow, the .NET programmer with that business specific domain expertise will always be paid more.
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    I spent a few years doing SAP application support, which I parlayed into SAP Security role for a couple years before moving into Network Security. The pay was excellent with SAP and I learned a ton. ERP Solutions are vital to companies (Especially the fortune 100 companies), Walmart, Exxon, etc. These systems usually are the warehouse management system, the payroll system, all the major systems etc. I'm telling you combining application security and network security has given me a leg up on my "competition" and helped me see different sides of IT as oppose to being the tunnel visioned, a dime a dozen "Ooohhh let me get my ccna and just be the network guy...or let me do desktop support forever and thenmove into virtualization" No offense Cisco/Windows warriors.
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    W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for the interesting perspectives guys. I've always been interested in learning what ERP systems were all about since it seems like so many businesses use them. I won't be hesistant to look into an application support job in the future.
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    docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I spent a couple of years doing product/application support, although not ERP-related. It required some knowledge in Windows, Unix, networking, and identity management and while it did pull me away from system administration responsibilities for a short time, I did gain good knowledge about LDAP and RADIUS basics which sort of gave me an edge when it came to looking at Active Directory and understanding how authentication systems worked.

    While there's always the chance you could get pigeon-holed into that sort of role, as long as you play your cards right it could enhance your skill set for the broader IT picture. I agree that general IT skills are commoditized so having additional specialization can help you stand out if you take on a support role in an area you enjoy.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
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