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Specialising in one area?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by reverb, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. reverb

    reverb Byte Poster

    I'm currently looking for a new role and as much I would like to work with many different types of technology, I keep getting calls about Linux roles only and it has made me think whether I should just go down this route. I admit I wouldn't mind choosing this route in the future but at this current time I feel I haven't experienced enough what's out there. It also doesn't help that I want to move on asap.

    I guess my concern is by landing a Linux role and leaving everything else behind would severely limit my opportunities should I ever choose to change roles (for whatever reason) or do something else in IT in the future.

    What are your thoughts with specialising in one area in IT? How hard is it to move back into another IT role like networks/Windows job?
  2. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster

    It really depends on how far along you are in your career and where you want it to go.

    I work in a company that have dedicated teams specialising in Linux, Windows, Networking, Storage and DB's, whilst there is a little bit of creep across the teams the individuals in those teams specialise on that area. It's only now for instance that I am starting to deal more with things like Linux and Storage and I have been in IT for 15 years now. There is no harm in specialising in a niche market (and being honest with you here, Linux is a niche market) and using that specialisation to expand within the Linux area to get a bigger skillset.

    As an example, our I&P team (Infrastructure and Platform) are the Linux guys at work but they used to look after our Storage (NetApp primarily) and still look after Xen Server, Puppet, Chef, Cobbler and a whole host of other Linux orientated products. They certainly have their hands full and I would honestly suggest that if you have the Linux skillset to carry on doing it and gain more skills from there.

    I would love to have better Linux skills because there is just so much of it out there (this from a long time Windows Sys Admin whose move to Virtualisation means I want a wider skillset to encompass Storage and Linux skills).

    I think you're probably better off with Linux skills as well because that in my opinion gives you a better chance to get to grips with Networking and Storage as well (to be fair, Windows is pretty easy to pick up but maybe that's just because I have been doing it for so long).

    If you haven't got it by now, stick with the Linux thing, you will be better off for it.
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  3. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

    It's a difficult one to call as if you choose an area to specialise in then you can do really well for yourself as companies will have to pay more for your services with supply and demand. The only issue is that if that technology dies then you could find yourself out of work. I suspect Linix won't die anytime soon so you should be fine. If you have an interest in Linux then go for it. I would still dip your toes in one or two other areas as a fail safe. I really want to move my skills into virtualisation and cloud services going forward but will still keep up with one or two more areas as well.
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)
  4. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

    Specialising is definitely the way to go if you are fascinated with a certain area of technology. It will mean more money that just being a jack of all trades too from my experience.

    You may not realise but Linux is in alot of other places too, and you will use products that sit on top of a linux shell. I know and use alot of products that require Linux knowledge I have just picked up. Even products such as Checkpoint Juniper NSM & Proofpoint (email security system), all networking products use a hardened Linux shell.

    It is definitely good to understand Linux and I would advise looking through the LPIC cbtnuggets if you have them available, and pick up some great skills that are in demand almost everywhere.

  5. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Premium Member

    After 7 years in IT only now am I starting to specialize more and more... I think down the line you'll be at cross paths of whether you want to continue to specialize or if you want to stay a generalist, its all up to you.

    I also kind of agree with Simon, Linux/Unix is a very niche market, and you'd have a lot of exposure to things like Storage, Virtualization, Networking, etc...
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
  6. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

    I get many a call regarding linux/unix administrators. There seems to be a big demand for these skills. Its definitely worth looking into.
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), MSc, ITIL v3F, MCP, MCDST, MCITP: edst7, MCTS, MCSA: Server 2003, MCSA: Windows 7, N+, NVQ IT lvl 3, MCSA Windows 7, VCP5, CCENT, CEH
  7. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Actually that isn’t true – it depends who you work for and how good you are at your job.
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Its not so niche anymore, certainly not if you work for an ISP or big internet firm.
  9. reverb

    reverb Byte Poster

    That would be my current ideal job with exposure of all of the above! :)

    Thanks for the advice guys.
  10. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Premium Member

    Its a definitely a fun field to be in!
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
  11. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

    Yup used in a lot of places now and not a bad skill to have proven experience in.

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