What to do with expertise.

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by redcivic, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. redcivic

    redcivic New Member

    Okay, I have been in and around computers forever. My dad was a unix man while in the service and is currently a network administrator for a large corporation. My mom is in IT management for the federal government.

    I ran my own business for five years, handled all the IT work, and learned and developed a collections software package by customizing Goldmine CRM software. I have always worked with computers but my degree is in business.

    Four years ago my partner and I split (amicably) and I went to work for my biggest client in house. I am now in charge of three medical clinics with a total of 43 employees, three servers, 50 workstations, and three locations.

    On top of employee issues, business practice issues, etc., I still do all the IT work myself with the exception of the occational help from a unix/Novell specialist I know. I have brought this practice group up to date and pryed them away from wyse terminals, a sad network, and no inter-office communication.

    Now I am at the point where I am looking for bigger and better things. I just implemented a new server, gigabyte backbone,wifi, vpn between offices, and electronic medical records. This set-up will last the practice quite a long time and I never wanted to be an "office manager" dealing with all the admin BS. So, I am looking for something in IT, primarily networking.

    I love the group I work for, but I feel I have reached a ceiling working there. I have a ton of experience because I did absolutely everything in terms of IT for both this company and mine but, I have no certifications relating to IT. I think if I venture off into the IT world without these types of schooling, I will be at a disadvantage. I think I will have an advantage in the sense that I have a lot of experience managing employees and a lot of experience in the ins and out of running a medical practice. I also have a lot of experience in different areas of IT. I can do everything from install hardware in workstations to setting up a whole network infrastructure for three remote offices. I did everything from daily back-ups and virus dat file monitoring to researching and implementing a complicated EHR and practice management software. I also did training, etc.

    So the bottom line is, should I take some certification classes such as A+, server 2003, etc. or should I just see how far my resume gets me? I have never taken classes before because I have always been able to teach myself through this great forum, books, and other resources.

    If this is the wrong forum for this type of discussion I apologize.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated

    EDIT: Spaced for easier reading (SG)
  2. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

    Welcome to CF!

    From what you write it seems that you can 'walk the walk'...however:

    can you paragraph your post cos' it is real hard to read! I'm trying to respond to what you have written but I seem to get lost in the maze of letters...

    I mean no offence but your post is real tricky to read...

    Certifications: MCP, MCSA 2000 , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS, MCITP Lync 2010 & MCSA 2008, Sonus SATP SBC 1k/2k
    WIP: Hopefully Skype for Business and some Exchange stuff...
  3. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Greetings, redcivic. As drum dude says, you seem to have a great deal of experience and I daresay, you probably could put together a CV and see where it takes you. I also agree that huge blocks of text are difficult to read...especially in this a discussion forum, so you might want to break future messages up into smaller chunks.

    Having said that, I thought I'd share a link from another area of our site on writing the "killer" CV:


    You can go either way in terms of certifications. There are some areas of IT that seem to value certifications...particularly MS certs. I work for a company that produces a linux-based product and very few of the support or engineering staff have certifications of any sort...however, most have a great deal of experience.

    Certainly certifications don't hurt and I think coupled with your experience, they might enhance your chances. This doesn't mean you can't start looking for a job now, but it does mean that the two together might get you further than either one alone.

    What area are you interested in? You mentioned server 2003 so it sounds like you might have your eye on the MCSA or MCSE. Keep in mind though that although Microsoft certifications get a lot of attention, they are only a small fraction of the certifications offered.

    Hope some of this helps.

    EDIT: I see you were busy while I was typing. Thanks for the spacing. :)
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  4. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

    I hope you don't mind Redcivic, but I've took the liberty of editing your post to make it a bit easier on the eyes when reading.

    Firstly, Welcome to CF! You have come to the right place for any help, advise, or beers that you need! :biggrin

    Secondly, If it is IT Certification that you are looking to get I wouldn't recommend signing up for any courses straight away.

    Judging by your initial post you have an awful lot of experience and knowledge already, so this will put you in a good position when it comes to looking for jobs.

    To formalise your IT skills why not take a look at the Comptia A+? This is an entry level cert that should help you to grasp the basics that everyone in IT should know.

    Most people will then follow up the A+ with the Network+ which shows a soild understanding of networking concepts.

    With these two certs behind you and your experience, you should be well on your way to establishing yourself.

    If you haven't done so already take a look around our forums and see if you can already find the answers to your initial questions.

    Hope this helps.

  5. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Hi there.

    If you've got expertise, someone will pay for it.
    If you're generally happy at work but feel that you are under a ceiling, then you have to confront them about it. What have you got to lose?

    You either stay where you are, or you have to take some kind of action. It's an act of laziness by some employers to keep good people where they are because replacing them would be difficult.

    Having said that, your employer might see things differently. You may have all the skills you list, but you have to make sure that there isn't something else holding you back. Poor timekeeping, bad attitude or unusual dress sense can be tolerated by an employer, but is likely to make them wary of promoting someone.

    I'm not saying that you are any of those things, but you need to meet with your boss (or wait for your review) and tell him/her what you'd like. If you've got a decent boss, they will be able to explain to you what you need to do to achieve it.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  6. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

    Hi redcivic :)

    I admire the fact that given all your experience and knowledge detailed above, you have the humility to be able to ask for help on here. I respect that, and hope that our Members are able to guide you to the answers you are looking for.

    Nice to have you on board :)
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  7. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    My thoughts on this are that from what you write you would shine in an interview, so that certs wouldn't matter.

    The problem is getting to that interview without the certs. In my case I have never relied on certs, but got each interview because of 'connections'. It *could* be argued that the sort of place that relies on certs too much wouldn't suit you anyway.

    So what I am saying is that you need to cultivate people who see you working in order to reap the benefit later. This may take a long time - I have my current job because a director and a manager saw my work over a period of about 5 years while working for others.

    Of course - getting certs won't hurt. Again from my own perspective I found that taking first A+ then Network+ showed me some gaps in what I thought was a good all-round knowledge-base. So go for those, but don't pin too much on them - they will help but not be the main thing, that is provided by your experience.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  8. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Hi and welcome redcivic.

    I believe that studying for certifications exposes you to a wealth of information that you may be oblivious to. In the real world you tend to only study the concepts of the technology that you are actively involved in. Whereas with studying for certs, you are exposed to all the technologies that the operating system is capable of.

    I thought I knew stuff after years of practical experience and then seven years as a network admin. Then I decided to go for MCSE, because I thought I knew quite a bit already. It turned out to be a lot tougher and I learnt far more than I expected.

    In reality I now realise that my previous knowledge was very limited.

    This may be different for you but I doubt it.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  9. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award 500 Likes Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Hi Redcivic, I must say you have a wealth of experience and adding certs can only increase your chances of landing a more challenging IT job.

    As Bluerinse says studying for certs will increase your knowledge in areas of networking you probably didn’t even know existed. Also I assume for the network you support you picked all the hardware etc you were comfortable with which could have meant you have steered away from what a better solution could have been, I could be wrong though!

    Also it is worth considering the wide range of networking projects you may have to undertake in the future, could you migrate a Windows NT environment to Windows 2003 or role out an application through group policy in active directory to 500 client PCs? You may not have had to do this in your current IT role therefore some certs would give you some additional skills and knowledge for these kinds of tasks.

    Personally I would sent out your CV now and see what happens. Some employers may take you on because of your experience and then provide in-house training for you to take the MCSE or any other cert. Best of luck for the job search! :biggrin
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) MS-900 AZ-900 Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Microsoft Certs

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