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Career Development Plan

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by NoCompanyIT, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. NoCompanyIT

    NoCompanyIT Nibble Poster

    I think it's important for everyone to have a long term career plan, it gives you focus and direction (1). Instead of focusing solely on your first I.T job, you should try to find out how to progress and what routes are available. It's also good for interviews (2) when you are asked where you want to be in 5 years or 10 years, it shows you have commitment and direction. Also you are limited in your evaluation of a company's suitability to your career if you don't have a career plan (3), for instance they may only offer 1st Line Support, whereas another company will allow you develop within the organisation to 2nd Line, 3rd Line, Manager etc.

    For example, If you are frustrated with your job in 1st Line Support, without a long range plan it can get you down. If you have a long range plan, then you can just see this is your first job to your final goal, and once you see that the job is necessary to obtain your final goal then you're more likely to put up with the current frustration.

    Problem is, I have no working knowledge in different levels of progression in job roles, so I don't know what route to take and what the jobs would entail. I can only see 1st Line Support, my vision is short range.

    I'd like some input from the older members that have more experience on what routes are available and the routes they themselves have taken to develop in their career.

    I know that I want a technical role, something to do with networks, servers, whether that be designing them, installing them or maintaining them.

    I'll give my skeleton on career development, please provide input if you have worked in these roles.

    Step 1: Start

    1st Line Support (how long should you do this for? what is too long, 3 years? what is not long enough, 3 months?, where is there best org to do this ? ( datacentre, ISP, school, Uni, Bank, NHS, a company that provides external IT Support to small businesses) what is another name for this job title? (IT Technician, Helpdesk )

    Short Term Daily: helps users with problems (what kind of problems), check backup, hands on support, telephone support, remote support, fix computers, fix printers, add members, delete members (Active Directory).
    Intermediate Term: Evaluate storage usage, network bandwidth
    Long Term: Audit equipment, renew licenses, upgrade hardware, upgrade software

    Step 2:

    2nd Line Support (how long should you do this for? what is too long, 3 years? what is not long enough, 3 months?, where is there best org to do this ( datacentre, ISP, school, Uni, Bank, NHS, a company that provides external IT Support to small businesses)? what is another name for this job title? (field engineer????)

    Short Term Daily: ?
    Intermediate Term: ?
    Long Term: ?

    Step 3: Your long range goal that you aim at, talk about at interviews when answering what you want to do in 5-10 years, the role that you use to evaluate whether a company will allow you to progress this far.

    3rd Line Support (how long should you do this for? what is too long, 3 years? what is not long enough, 3 months?, where is there best org to do this ( datacentre, ISP, school, Uni, Bank, NHS, a company that provides external IT Support to small businesses)?) B]what is another name for this job title?[/B] (network admin, network manager????)

    Short Term Daily: ?
    Intermediate Term: ?
    Long Term: ?

    I know I am greedy asking all these questions, please forgive me.

    But I'd really appreciate if those that have taken these steps can help not only me out, but also others that are just starting out in I.T.

    Certifications: Bsc (1st)
  2. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

    I am not an older member but hey. Have you looked at Grad schemes at all?

    I am in my fourth I.T. job now @ 22, in every case I have moved on after a year or just over. You usually know when you have reached your learning limit. For example you do things on auto pilot, someone will ring you with a fault and you will no straight away the answer, there will be no challenge/no learning. Then you know its time to move on and advance.

    Also I don't think you can say where the best place to be is. You may learn loads working alone, you may learn loads working in a team. The later one probably is the best situation to be in. A company which offers you development and learning opportunities + the chances to learn from other people.
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  3. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    Having goals is great, and I think you have to really set these goals yourself, mainly by using your own expectations and realistic self appraisal of how much you can learn, also you have to be flexible enough to know these goals will likely change, timewise or you may choose a different path.

    My advice is to find a company who are offering training and progression and give 110% in interviews showing that you are keen to learn, have good interpersonal skills, are well organised and punctual and willing to go the extra mile for customers (ie the person you are supporting).

    I think you should look into certification for your career from 2 perspectives, soft skills and tech skills, try to balance them.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    You can't really answer the question "how long is too long," because everyone and every situation is different. Sure, it's good to have a plan... but you can't really say, "I'm gonna work this job for 9 months and three weeks, then I'm outta here!"

    The best plan, in my opinion, is to constantly learn and constantly keep your eyes open for new opportunities. When the right opportunity comes along, take it. Simple as that.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  5. Evilwheato

    Evilwheato Kilobyte Poster

    I would say at least 6 months experience is usually good to have before trying to advance, but again, I think that depends on what job you did and how long you actually did it for?
    I have not got any long term plan to mind. I'll stick with a job until I feel I'm ready to move on, and likely find a role that will help progress with my learning.
  6. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Having an overall goal is a good idea however the progression to get to that goal is difficult to plan.

    For me my first full time IT job was on a corporate helpdesk, then one day I got a phone call from a company asking if I wanted to come for an interview to be their network manager. I was shocked to be honest and the pay sucked but it was a great opportunity to get some proper hands on experience that everyone keeps going on about. :biggrin I had been working on the helpdesk for 9 months.

    Even the job I’m in just now wasn’t planned. I was working away as a network administrator and was starting the hard slog to MCSE then suddenly I was made redundant! I managed to land another job quickly but my job role wasn’t really defined as the MD wanted to see what I was capable of. After a few network installs I was bumped up to 3rd line and then onto consultancy.

    Now I’m doing the consultancy work and network installs full time. It took me 6 years to get here and it wasn’t planned!

    As BM has said you need to take the opportunities when they are there and also make sure you are always updating your skills to make your CV shine. :biggrin
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  7. somabc

    somabc Bit Poster

    I think you are over thinking this, you cannot plan your career out for ten years, at least not unless you have a definite goal in mind and even then the path will be so vague as to meaningless. Nobody can predict how the economy will fair over 10+ years. What if you get married, have kids, buy a house, your partner gets a job overseas, get made redundant etc etc.

    I would concentrate on what you want to do next, probably 2nd line as this will give you a variety of options to progress into either a more technical role or into management.

    To do this properly you will have to look at goals for your entire life, not just your career.

    How much money do you want to earn? Enough to retire in 10 years, Enough not to have worry about money, then you will likely be sacrificing job security, starting your own company or joining a startup. You will also sacrifice time (forget about a family life). Or do you want a reliable income, a good pension and 40 years doing much the same thing. You will probably want both at different stages in your life. Where shall you live? Stay locally or move to take up new challenges. The choices go on and on and only you can make them.
    Certifications: BSc MBCS
  8. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

    It's good to have a plan but you have to constantly re-evaluate your plan according to your circumstances and the opportunities that present themselves.

    I have a long term goal to be a programmer, I enjoy programming. I have a logical train of thought, I've dabbled in programming for the last 25 years, but I'm too old (at 41) to change career and make the financial sacrifices necessary to get a degree in less than 5-6 years; and by then my apprenticeship would only be beginning.
    So, my short term goals are:
    Pass my A+, get a job using cert.
    While I'm applying for jobs, I will start studying for the N+ and MCDST, but with no real time-scale to take them. If I get a decent job in another field I'll put all my energy into ensuring I can advance in that one.
    Medium term goals:
    See what happens. If I get my foot on the IT ladder then work my butt off to get noticed as a hard and efficient worker asap. Otherwise, work my butt off to get noticed...... in whatever field I'm in.
    Long term goals: I've told you the unrealistic one, the realistic would be to have a nice, safe full-time job as a PC tech. My background is from customer-facing roles with the emphasis on technical troubleshooting so I know I have the soft skills.

    My goals will change as my circumstances change, gaining experience being primary in my thoughts. How they will change over the next six months I have no idea.

    EDIT: I could probably sum that up as "be flexible, especially when it's to your advantage"
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job

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