If geeks love it, we’re on it

Howdy, Stranger!

You found the friendliest gaming & tech geeks around. Say hello!

Considering a career change

Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
edited Jun 2013 in The Pub
So here is the deal. I'm 38 in the midst of a long standing mid life crisis.

I have worked at the same mid sized company for 13 years, have great retirement benefits, four weeks vacation, I'm not jumping ship now. I'm looking for a career switch internally, but there is some vested interest in keeping me where I'm at. Still, every day I sit at my desk I can feel myself dying inside just a little more. I need to do something new.

I've decided to just educate myself where I'm interested so I have options. Hopefully internally, but if not?

It may come as a surprise, I have no IT degree or formal training. I'm entirely self taught. I've fixed PC's on the side with some success, but starting my own full time business is too risky.

I want to obtain some certifications that will make me marketable for a career in IT. I've heard bad things about some of the online schools though. Getting a four year computer science degree, probably not feasible for me right now, I would prefer a program that can help me be marketable at least in some entry level position in a year or so? Am I dreaming, or do such programs exist?

Comments

  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited Jun 2013
    What, exactly, do you want to do? What are you doing now? Do you want to get into *nix administration, windows administration, DB administration, networking, project management? "IT" is just so incredibly generic and there are SO many certifications out there a bit more clarification would go a long way.
    PirateNinja
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited Jun 2013
    There is a ton of stuff that can be marketable in a year's time. Define what you mean by entry-level (i.e. you could state a salary range and where you live to help determine what that means to you, feel free to PM if you don't feel OK stating that) and if you have any particular experience or type of IT you're aiming for (besides having fixed PCs). Options would include anything from development of apps or databases to systems engineering-oriented jobs like network admin, various types of server admins, or a more client-oriented support position (or management of any of these groups, which may require less actual experience and more people-skills).

    EDIT: What you currently do and why you are looking to change (if a short summary is feasible) would probably help as well, so that I don't recommend something that might put you on the same path.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    I envision myself as more of a hands on hardware kind of guy. Helping to set up systems, networks, working with the hardware, support. Sitting at a desk, developing apps, coding, that sort of thing, probably not for me, at least not short term.
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    What's your salary requirement?
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    Let me put it this way, I'd have a hard time imagining them not matching up to what I make currently.

    Of course a little more money is better, but my biggest goal is to make a change aggressively. I can continue my education once I start somewhere else.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    Let me put it this way, I'd have a hard time imagining them not matching up to what I make currently.

    Of course a little more money is better, but my biggest goal is to make a change aggressively. I can continue my education once I start somewhere else.

    He and I both meant, in order to make a recommendation, we need a number.
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    Well without knowing what your company is about, this is sort of a shot in the dark: I'd look in to virtualization certifications and/or cisco certifications. They require a lot of work and learning, but getting a few in a year is feasible. They are valuable enough to perhaps ensure your company keeps paying you a decent wage, and you will get your hands dirty in a lot of hard drive swapping and software/routing configuration.
    Standard pc hardware repair / IT is lower wage and for the most part is contracted out to the supplier. Ie. Dell business service contracts. But if that's what you are in to, your company has room for it, and they would pay you the same for it then I guess an A+ cert would be one thing you could very quickly knock out.

    If all else fails, buy a Harley?
    kimono54
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    Agree without knowing particulars :D
    Specific certs:
    CCNA > CCNP > CCIE (this is at least 5 years down the road and a CCIE can easily make 100k in Dallas)
    Virtualization > I'd recommend VMWare over Microsoft for a focus, Citrix and RedHat also could be considered. I think the VCP - Data Center or VCP - Desktop would be good places to start, depending on internal job availability. (see their "map" here)
    kimono54
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    I'm sorry, sometimes when you don't quite know, it is a struggle to ask the proper question. Let's say at least 55K for starters.

  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1 Icrontian
    Keeping my eye on this thread.
    kimono54
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    No need to apologize of course. I actually think it could help you a lot by talking to an internal hr person regarding your potential for another career to see what options your company has available to you and what requirements they would have for you to get there.

    I don't know that straight computer repair / hardware can pull 55k in the open job market, but at your company since you have already been there for a while you can work something out. They wouldn't have any risk in taking you on as a new hire, they already know your work ethic, etc.
    In the job market, 55k + benefits requires something like a CCNA + 4 year degree pref, but often substitutable for 6ish years of experience in some networking environment.

    Once you get your feet dirty with virtualization/high end network engineering though it's sort of an upward climb. You keep getting more certs, and you keep making more money if you push. You can end up pulling six figures as an engineer, and if you are a good salesman a lot more as a sales engineer.
    kimono54
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian
    I see hardware proficiency as being increasingly commoditized. Miniaturization + SaaS + mobile means less and less things that can be serviced / need servicing. It'll be a slow process for sure in large companies, but I don't expect the opportunities to grow over the next 10 years.
    kimono54
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    Lincoln said:

    I see hardware proficiency as being increasingly commoditized. Miniaturization + SaaS + mobile means less and less things that can be serviced / need servicing. It'll be a slow process for sure in large companies, but I don't expect the opportunities to grow over the next 10 years.

    While most large companies will probably start going the Google way (spread the service over many nodes, if a node breaks, throw it out and install a whole new one), most smaller companies don't have the kind of capital to do that. Some of the smaller ones may go the SaaS route, but there are many fields that won't due to data privacy concerns. I agree the hardware field won't be growing at this rate, but I doubt it's going away either.
    kimono54
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    Since you'd like to stay internally, a run down of your current company setup would be really helpful. Also, I second @lincoln - hardware isn't much of a "thing" anymore.
    kimono54
  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    We outsource our hardware/warranty work and even outsourced helpdesk (tier 1) and desktop support (tier 2) and kept Desktop engineering (Tier 3). Virtual and Software as a Service (SaS) are the future. Hardware, in most cases, is rock solid these days. We hardly ever have outages from hardware (networking aside, they seem to still have issues).
    kimono54
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    I'm intrigued by the marriage of technical and sales related skills. Let's assume I'm open minded to leaving my company long term. What particular certifications marry well with sales expertise?
  • JBoogalooJBoogaloo This too shall pass... Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    Program management may not hurt (PMP...that can be a long ass cert). Depends on what you're selling though. Ive seen in sales that having a pretty in-depth knowledge (liason between customer and engineer level knowledge) of the overall system(s) you're selling is more beneficial than anything. This is coming from a SATCOM/VSAT perspective (intemediate satellite comms operator/troubleshooting knowledge, a bit of networking knowledge, etc...) With strictly IT, I'm not sure if it's the same.
    kimono54
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    The problem with the hardware side of things is that rack & stack is no longer a specialty. Even here, we have minimum-wagers racking $300k servers.

    The money for server work is in sysadmin and performance monitoring, particularly with things moving toward SaaS and IaaS environments. Being able to tell when your VM is struggling and why is a huge asset.
    kimono54
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian
    Going into sales is not a bad idea. Personally, I love technically savvy sales guys. It's not that I need them to be an ex-developer, it's that I need their mindset to be technical when talking with the client about their needs.
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian

    I'm intrigued by the marriage of technical and sales related skills. Let's assume I'm open minded to leaving my company long term. What particular certifications marry well with sales expertise?

    That strictly depends on what you want to sell. Cisco has a large corporate sales force that is all about wine and dine. The salesperson works on commission and a healthy base. They have to somewhat know the product, but more than anything the marketing of the product. That salesperson teams with a sales engineer. The sales engineer actually works with the potential client to make up sales lists to pitch at the client. The sales engineer has higher base, less commission. You would end up traveling, and would have to live at least within commute distance to a major city.
    A CCNA would probably suffice for the sales job. Sales engineer needs more background on topic.

    I don't know if this is the same model that other companies use (vmware/juniper/etc) but the certs you need depend on the company you want to work for.

    If this route is interesting you, my best advice is to create a LinkedIn account, polish it as much as possible, then seek out and contact HR reps / recruiters for these companies. Tell them you are an exceptional salesman looking in to alternate career paths that involve technical backgrounds. Ask what the requirements are and what you need to do. Play the field etc.
    kimono54
Sign In or Register to comment.