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OldRebYeller
Ole Miss Fan
Flawda
Member since Jan 2017
274 posts

Looking for IT Career advice

Hey guys, IT major that graduated in August here. I landed my first job recently and the pay is alright, but I feel like I could be making use of the craziness of this current job market to move up. My current history is as such:

- Help Desk Intern - 2 full summers
- Got Certified Scrum Master (CSM) cert
- Help Desk Technician (current gig) - 5 months now


Originally I was going to wait at least a year at my current gig as I think it would show some good commitment, but I don't even know if employers care about that anymore in this day and age... My long term plan is to get ino IT Management down the line. Mainly because I feel very comfortable communicating in my field, which I know alot of IT folks quite dread.

So I guess my questions are

1. Should I wait for a year or two to start applying for a better role? Or start firing away now.

2. Is Help Desk > Sys Admin > IT management a good path? Or is there something I could do instead of Sys Admin to get me more management oriented.

Thanks and happy Friday
This post was edited on 1/7 at 9:50 am


OldRebYeller
Ole Miss Fan
Flawda
Member since Jan 2017
274 posts

Also its worth noting that I currently work on a team of 3 people in a Law Firm with a boatload of money flowing through it. I'm talking setting up Conference rooms for Multi-Million Dollar clients and deals daily. So I'm also toying with the notion of staying with them for the long haul.. but alot of the work is pretty brain numbing haha
This post was edited on 1/7 at 9:51 am


DoubleDown
Atlanta Braves Fan
New Orleans, Louisiana
Member since Oct 2008
11605 posts

quote:

So I'm also toying with the notion of staying with them for the long haul.. but alot of the work is pretty brain numbing haha

My opinion is that I'd stick with them for a little while. Sounds like you have opportunity to get higher pay if you show commitment.

Also, the grass isn't always greener going from Job A to Job B. Every job, even if you're a multi millionaire who doesn't have to work will have mundane and boring days. I like to think that you have those so you know what good days are and when to enjoy them.

Now, it never hurts to put out feelers or submit resume's to jobs that you think you'd absolutely love, however, it sounds like you have a pretty good gig and have room to get more $$$.


OldRebYeller
Ole Miss Fan
Flawda
Member since Jan 2017
274 posts

Yeah that's what I'm thinking, I remember when I applied the pay range they had was huge for help desk. I was offered near the lower-middle side of the spectrum (which was still great for me) so I think they definitely have the resources to help me out.

And the job is fine its just alot of "white-glove" support with older clients, and my team members are a little quiet... they are very "techy" people, where I'm more of your typical "Bro" I guess. Granted they're nice folks but it would be cool to at least have a wingman or two. Makes me nostalgic for my Pizza Delivery days
This post was edited on 1/7 at 10:37 am


LordSnow
LSU Fan
Your Mom's House
Member since May 2011
4776 posts

Time to level up on some certs. CCNA, VMware, Microsoft, PMP, or whatever tech interests you.


TAMU-93
Texas A&M Fan
Sachse, TX
Member since Oct 2012
573 posts

To get the job, you need experience. To get experience, you need the job. You side step this catch 22 by assisting the person in the job you desire.

Find a mid-level IT job that interests you. If your current company doesn't have that job, move to a company that does. Showing commitment is great, but don't commit to a dead end job.


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FreddieMac
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jun 2010
17216 posts

Get three years under your belt in the industry, from there you can go in any direction. Less than three years experience is seen as entry level.

quote:

Is Help Desk > Sys Admin > IT management a good path?


Yes. But I would go Help Desk -> System Admin -> Cluster Administration -> Then Management. It is hard to manage IT today with our any experience in virtualization.
This post was edited on 1/7 at 2:45 pm


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jdd48
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2012
17855 posts

Much respect for the plan and knowing what your goals are. That being said, please enjoy the process of getting to management while you have the chance to do so. As you learn more about how business works (and just how much politics plays into business decisions), you may just find you prefer being in the field. Management is not all it's cracked up to be in many companies, especially in IT. I am still pretty hands on with actual field work after close to 20 years in the field, but have some middle management duties right now in my career that I'd sometimes rather not. So many unique and oftentimes difficult personalities to have to deal with, not to mention all the managerial work. Budgets, ERM risk registers, governance and compliance,etc... stuff I'd really rather not deal with.
This post was edited on 1/7 at 6:31 pm


JimEagle
Member since Apr 2021
21 posts

You wanna move up or make more money? Learn enterprise Linux, look for jobs that apply skill sets in that area and become an expert. Certs will get you a job but won't keep you in one so learning hands on before you fill your head with a bunch of stuff you really don't need to know day-to-day would be optimal IMO.

I would not want to be in IT mgmt as you're usually directing people that know way more than you and basically are putting your career in their hands when things go wrong....and something will go wrong.

I'd also consider a heavy focus on cloud platforms and learn them well. Find entry level non help desk jobs related to those and grow until you get where ever you wanted to go.

I've worked in the field my entire life and have made it to a place where I don't deal with people and just have fun projects to do...unless something blows up.

Finally - best place to get exposure is at a MSP. Long term it will kill you but could be the place where you find that thing that peaks your interest.

Edit -

One more thing - Focus on your soft skills. You would be shocked at how terrible those are in the field in general. If you are just slightly above average with them you'll get further than someone with an equal skill set.
This post was edited on 1/9 at 10:16 pm


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Kracka
North Carolina Fan
Grand Isle, Louisiana
Member since Aug 2004
38796 posts

quote:

Time to level up on some certs. CCNA, VMware, Microsoft, PMP, or whatever tech interests you.


This.

Don't stop learning. Learn as much Tech as you can. The thing I believe a lot of IT people fail at now is they specialize to early and stop learning about other stuff. Become as useful to your employer as possible. You want to make them cringe at the thought of letting you go before someone "more qualified". Being a jack of all trades and master of some is a great trate. You can never have too many tools in your bag.
This post was edited on 1/10 at 10:26 am


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TigerRagAndrew
Portland Fan
Check my style out
Member since Aug 2004
7155 posts

Did you graduate 2-year or 4-year?

Your firm may not offer the opportunities to expand with Microsoft, Cisco and VMWare technologies that will give you the experience you need to level up- I’d consider looking for a help desk position with a larger support organization


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emanresu
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
7946 posts

Study for certs at your brain numbing job until you've got another entry job down your specialization pathway.


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Rhio
LSU Fan
Lake Charles
Member since Dec 2013
1041 posts

Keep at the help desk/field jobs and build your skillset until you find something you can specialize in that you are truly interested in and enjoy. Get a cert in that and dedicate yourself to your specialization, become an asset in that area. If you can't find it at your current gig, look elsewhere.

That's what I did. After 3 years in the field, I discovered Azure/Office 365 security and got my Az-500 cert. Now I get to secure Azure VDIs and advise companies on how to move to the cloud.

IT management isn't for me, but if you enjoy the ins and outs and don't mind being the point of contact for every IT-related issue at an organization, more power to you. It's never been my thing. I can't stand people.


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jdd48
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2012
17855 posts

I'd also say to anyone in IT, but especially someone starting out in this day and age, be very cautious of burnout. More and more people are working themselves to the point of mental breakdown due to covid and other factors. It can happen very fast in this industry if you don't maintain your work and home life balance.

I personally used to put in at least 60 hours if not more a week, but never again. Not long ago, I took a few days off and totally and completely unplugged for probably the first time in my career. It was some of the most enjoyable days off I've ever had.

This post was edited on 1/15 at 2:46 pm


BeepNode
The City of Central
Member since Feb 2014
6249 posts

quote:

I currently work on a team of 3 people in a Law Firm with a boatload of money flowing through it. I'm talking setting up Conference rooms for Multi-Million Dollar clients and deals daily. So I'm also toying with the notion of staying with them for the long haul.


Places like that are one flashy sales guy away from switching to an MSP and regretting it.


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Rhio
LSU Fan
Lake Charles
Member since Dec 2013
1041 posts

quote:

I'd also say to anyone in IT, but especially someone starting out in this day and age, be very cautious of burnout. More and more people are working themselves to the point of mental breakdown due to covid and other factors. It can happen very fast in this industry if you don't maintain your work and home life balance.


+1 for this, IT companies in this remote work age, tend to avoid hiring new techs and pile tons of work on the ones they already have.

I know that's true for every industry, but it just feels like it hits ours a little bit harder.

Above all, make sure you take some time off.


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McChowder
LSU Fan
Hammond
Member since Dec 2006
4589 posts

Dp
This post was edited on 1/18 at 12:12 am


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McChowder
LSU Fan
Hammond
Member since Dec 2006
4589 posts

I would commit myself to 1 year. Use that time to get some more certs under your belt to pad your resume.

My first job out of college I gave my employer my word that I would commit to 1 year with that company. I busted my arse and ended up second highest in production for the year (ticket closes + all the other weighted metrics). Several managers tapped me on the shoulder to let me know I was going to be promoted. I found out at the last minute that I had been passed up by someone who had a closer friendship with the higher ups outside of work. My job search started that day and by weeks end I had accepted a position with another company that doubled my pay. 1 year after that I accepted another job that greatly increased my pay and now make more than 3 times the amount I was making right out of college.

The guys I left behind had been languishing at that lower pay for years and were all laid off when the company was bought out.

Don't be like those guys. It's too early in the game for you to settle. It does matter to employees that you have demonstrated you can maintain stable employment for a length of time but dont get complacentand and settle. Pay your dues and search for greater opportunities.

This post was edited on 1/18 at 12:17 am


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Bard
LSU Fan
Poli Board President-Elect
Member since Oct 2008
42414 posts

quote:

Yeah that's what I'm thinking, I remember when I applied the pay range they had was huge for help desk. I was offered near the lower-middle side of the spectrum (which was still great for me) so I think they definitely have the resources to help me out.

And the job is fine its just alot of "white-glove" support with older clients, and my team members are a little quiet... they are very "techy" people, where I'm more of your typical "Bro" I guess. Granted they're nice folks but it would be cool to at least have a wingman or two. Makes me nostalgic for my Pizza Delivery days


Stick with your current job at least a year and learn everything from it you can (especially if the pay is good). As it's such a small shop there should be lots of opportunities to pick up new skills. From the sounds of it, you have a prime opportunity to work on interpersonal skills with non-IT folks.

After that year, re-assess. You'll most likely be itching for the next job to expand your horizons but there may also be new opportunities which come up at your current company. I'm not saying to absolutely stay longer than that first year, but rather to have an open mind about seeing what other benefits may be available from staying for another year or more.

Having time in a place on a resume looks good, having time in a place and then you promote up through positions while there looks better.


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WhiskeyThrottle
Member since Nov 2017
2957 posts

Are you committed to the Help Desk/ sys admin side of things? My $.02 is that Help Desk is a decent career but on the lower side of the IT payscale. Seems like specializing in Networking or Security, learning development, or getting involved in the DBA side of things has a higher potential earning salary.


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