1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Dilemma

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by DapperDan, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    Hi all,

    I have been in the IT industry since 2000 when I graduated from uni with a Computing degree. The issue that I have is that I have only ever done 1st / 2nd line support and not done any server / network admin whatsoever. I left my last job at a large law firm in the summer of last year because I was going nowhere. When I started there, the IT department was young in age and in experience. So as the department grew they always recruited externally, so that shafted any chance of moving into the network team.

    I managed to secure a job elsewhere (the main business still being law), and I was told I would get to work with servers in terms of building and configuring them. But 6 months in, I'm still doing mainly entry level 2nd line support. I even took a 1k pay cut to come here. The main IT department for this company is based in another building a few miles away. It is just me and my supervisor here so it is not as if I can ask to shadow some of the network tech guys. A part of me feels that my career is stalling and I am unsure what to do. When speaking to one of the network admin guys before I left my last job, he said that I am in between two roles as it were. In that I have all the experience on the desktop side of things, but not enough on the server / network side. So it would seem I am in limbo somewhat.

    I have done my A+ and Network+, but I feel there is no point studying for the MCDST as I have close to 10 years entry level IT experience. Yet I feel I would be wasting my time studying for the MCITP Server Admin or the CCENT because I don not have the real world experience. I would rather be working with these technologies day in day out and studying for a cert in them. I would only be a piece of paper if I do it the other way around.

    Part of me feels I should start looking for another job, and explaining to recruiters that I would love an entry level server / network admin role. But I know those jobs are few and far between. I see a lot of advice on this forum stating it is better to start in an entry level desktop role and work your way up. But what if that door is firmly shut also, even after years and years of knocking on it?

    I have just hit my 30s now, and I feel I have not progressed in the way I would have liked. But believe you me, it has not been for the want of trying!
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  2. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

    1,432
    60
    107
    10 years entry level? What have you been doing for ten years where you have not done any labs at home or anything else to at least gain a little experience with servers? See, the problem is now, that your getting too old for any trainee network engineer type things, and you don't have any experience to move up into anything BUT a trainee role. Have you tried asking your employer for experience? sit down and explain? surely this should of come up during your annual review etc. It beggers belief that you can do 10 years without any experience above entry.
     
    Certifications: MCITP:VA, MCITP:EA, MCDST, MCTS, MCITP:EST7, MCITP:SA, PRINCE2, ITILv3
  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    3,782
    302
    184
    Actually I don't think its that uncommon, you really have to push for it, often times doing it at home with your own resources, volunteering for free to help on out of hours shifts at work, voluteering for community projects. Many employers will quite happily fob you off for years on the standard professional development route once a year meeting.

    You have to manage your own career, the days are gone when an employer would do it for you, thats if they ever really existed for most people...
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  4. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    With regards to setting up labs at home - I have done a virtual lab last year, but I feel there is nothing like the real thing. And with a wife and two young kids, time is limited. But believe you me this is no excuse. I think I should get back into it and get off Modern Warfare 2 :)!

    Ok, I may well be selling myself a little short. I have re-read my original post back and it does seem like I have been on a helpdesk answering the phones for the past decade, which is untrue. In actual fact I do have some limited experience with servers with regards to installing and configuring apps on them. But in terms of building servers, no. I have extensive experience with AD, but some could class this as entry level (depending on what you do in there I suppose). I have created security groups etc. Never done any work with Exchange 2003/20007 if I am honest, but know Outlook 2007 inside out. Currently administer an IP phone system called DB Studio (if any of you guys have heard of it). I did a bit of creating phone accounts in Cisco Call Manager at my last place, but this was taken off us as the Network Manager felt it was a network administration task. Closest thing I get to networking is patching really. Used to do a lot in Veritas Backup Exec years back, but I have not touched it in a good 4/5 years.

    At my last employer, I asked for experience until I was blue in the face. The network team even took someone on from our team at the time over me and never put the postition up for interview. He had only shown a passing interest in going into the network team, I was making it known to the Network Manager that I wanted the opportunity constantly.

    Have not had an annual review here yet, but I will make it known.

    I think my original post was vague, so I apologise for that. It would seem I am not quite 'entry level' after all. I think the terms 1st, 2nd, 3rd line are all very subjective depending which firms you work for.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  5. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    3,782
    302
    184
    I'd enroll on some college nightclasses and get learning, this will ensure you are out of the house and away from the kids. Ensure they have practical hands on labs.

    Spruce up the CV and ensure it sells you to your maximum current ability.

    Consider building a home network and lab somewhere where you can get away from the wife and kids for 1 hour a day once they are in bed.

    Delete all games from your harddrive and sell your consoles !

    Make sure you aways have a computer book on the go and read it on breaks, lunchtimes, commute, etc.

    After you have some lab experience maybe look for projects outside of work, I know someone who used to set up council wireless access points for free (but he was ex cisco :wink: ). Ok so don't bite off anything on your own you don't think you can handle, but networking at college may help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  6. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    Youre totally right dmarsh. The network guys here seem like a friendly bunch (even though I have only met them a few times), so I might send a quick email to the network manager here (who's sound) seeing if it is ok I can shadow some out of hours work.

    That is the reason I left my old job (and why my ex colleagues are wanting to leave). We have come to realise there's only one who should be looking out for your career.........yourself! I miss the place and the lads there in terms of the social aspect, but that cannot be the only thing that keeps you at the same place. You want more, and I hope I have not left it too late.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  7. Danshand

    Danshand Nibble Poster

    51
    2
    24
    I saw myself heading down this path after my first 3 years in IT. I got a call one day from some colleagues who were setting up their own business, putting millions of £££ into it and wanted an IT dept setup. Its been the ideal opportunity for me as it allowed me to get involved in things which I may have never got my hands on otherwise.
    Now I have done a lot of work and projects here, I am trying to get back into a bigger company so I can have my hands on a bigger IT budget and more complex systems.
    My advice would be to try get into a company which has a small IT dept who will allow you to get your hands dirty, and then after a couple of years try doing what I am trying to do now.

    I would also advise doing your MCSE/MCITP because if you do some labs it will give you the initial experience of setting some of these systems up. It may be just that extra bit you need to be able to move up the ladder.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
    Certifications: Many.
    WIP: MCITP, ITIL
  8. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    Thanks for the advice. My wife said similar, yet I thought what does she know has she's a Social Worker :D.

    I do have a Core2Duo tower PC doing nothing at home as well as two other PCs (as I use a laptop) and a dining room that never gets used. Perhaps it is time to start building.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  9. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    Thanks. At my last place, the network admin guy who I spoke to at the time said us guys in the desktop team would benefit more by moving to a firm with a small IT department and getting involved with everything from answering phones to configuring switches and building server racks.

    I personally do not mind 1st line work (within reason!), but I would be great if I could group this with everything else from an IT support perspective.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  10. Danshand

    Danshand Nibble Poster

    51
    2
    24
    I would definately advise it, I have learned a lot. The ITIL and service/support you have now will always stay with you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
    Certifications: Many.
    WIP: MCITP, ITIL
  11. danielno8

    danielno8 Gigabyte Poster

    1,305
    48
    92
    i'll echo the small firm option.

    My first job outta uni in Nov 2007 was with a smallish company, with 3 remote sites. In the year in a half i was there, i got to setup out ESX 3.5 environment, migrate exchange to new server, virtualise BES, replace our Cisco PIX's with ASA doing all configuration myself, and many other tidbits of whats is considered 3rd line work. Whilst doing this i was also doing desktop support. But being in a smaller company allowed me the opportunity to do all this. It helped that my boss wasn't interested/very knowledgable but hey :)

    I then left there and now work in the network team for a major oil & gas company working on supporting a huge (read interesting/fun to work on) network and being supported in my Cisco studies.

    Good luck, and get stuck into the studying!
     
    Certifications: CCENT, CCNA
    WIP: CCNP
  12. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    Thanks people. Will definitely take on board what everyone has said.

    I will aim to do my MCITP by the end of this year (lets say) and hopefully get some work exp, either where I am currently working or some voluntary exp someplace else. Plus set up a lab at home to aid my studies.

    Having evaluated where I am career wise, it is fair to say I have tried to advance myself. But I have not been aware of the little things (such as setting up your own home network etc) that employers look at, but took it for granted that they would not even consider this. And also, it would seem as I am past the entry level stage in terms of what I know and what I have been exposed to.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  13. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

    7,796
    71
    224
    You should listen to your wife more often then. :twisted:



    Exactly what I wanted to suggest. If you want to do more then you should consider a smaller company where you get to do everything. Larger companys tend to have more specialisation and are usually harder to get into the department/area that you want.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  14. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    You're very right about listening to the Mrs, nugget :)!! Don't like to admit it to her as she wouldn't let me forget it, lol!

    What I was wondering is what to study really. I have more exposure to Windows 2003 Server than I do Windows 2008 Server. Both are used at the firm I work for, but I do know W2k3 Server is going to be around for a good few more years yet and is very widely used across the board. The MCITP Server Admin 2008 track looks like something I'd like to learn, but what if I end up getting more exp in W2k3 Server?

    Decisions, decisions!
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  15. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    19,136
    462
    374
    I think the MCSA would be right up your alley. And with it, a job search might be in order. Getting a server admin job would be wonderful for you... and if not that, then a job similar to what you have but where you are also allowed to shadow the upper-level server admins and the network admins.
     
    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!
  16. AndreK

    AndreK Bit Poster

    49
    7
    8
    Why not do the MCSA/MCSE and upgrade to the 2008 server certs? Also self studying something you have no experience in isn't so bad, because you will learn alot and when the time comes to put this knowledge into practice you should atleast know your way around the technology.
     
  17. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    19,136
    462
    374
    Self-studying is great. Self-studying things you don't have any experience in is great. However, certifying on something you don't have any experience in isn't such a good idea. Certification is designed to show employers what you can already do, not what you want to be doing.
     
    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!
  18. DapperDan

    DapperDan Nibble Poster

    50
    1
    15
    Hi people.

    Once again, thanks for the advice. On Tuesday evening after work, I borrowed the CBT Nuggets 70-290 video training CD from my friend (who bought it ages ago, but never watched them!). I have already watched two thirds of the CD already, and I am surprised how much I already knew. Of course there were bits in there that I had not come across and it was good to learn it, but maybe I have given my old and current employer a disservice. And apologies for stating I have been in entry level work for almost 10 years. It may well seem I knew more than I realised! A bit like Mr Miyagi teaching Daniel how to block punches, even though he thought he called him over to his house to wash his car :D!

    But analogies aside, I am under no illusion that I could pass the 70-290 tomorrow. I think it is beneficial for me now to get some experience and build a lab at home. If I could sit my 290 exam by the end of spring, I would be happy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
    Certifications: ITIL v3; A+, Network+
  19. AndreK

    AndreK Bit Poster

    49
    7
    8
    I never said that one should go into an interview leading with "I got an mcse" e.t.c but should the any of the relevant topics come up you would be in a good position to answer any questions.
     
  20. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

    1,194
    41
    90
    Not necessarily, I am pretty sure that if you get certified in something you don't work with, 6 months later you don't remember half the stuff.
    Which in turn puts you in a position where employer thinks: How the heck has he got this certificate?

    Also what Michael said, if you study you know the stuff. You don't need to take the exams to answers relevant questions, do you?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure

Share This Page

Loading...