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Beginner

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices


@khanzaidsalim wrote:

Hi Daniel,

 

Thanks for this opportunity to get counselled. 

 

I would really appreciate if you could guide me through the maze of career options I can't decide to select from.

 

I am from Mumbai, India and I have 6.5 years of experience in Routing and Switching domain that's mostly concentrated in the Internet Service Provider industry. I have done CCNA R&S(expired) and JNCIA certifications. My current role does not demands shift work as I am working here in the capacity of a Network Planning Engineer. I strongly dislike working in night and to my good luck I have never worked in night in my entire tenure :). My job gives me a good work/life balance and a lot of free time for myself. But, before any one reading this becomes envious ;), all of these comes with a trade-off with a lower salary. 

 

I get lucrative job offers from other cities, but I am adamant not to shift base from my home town, as I have several personal responsibilities that I can't carry out from other locations. 

 


I have given several interviews for data center jobs in enterprise industry but I never crack the technical round. I find them reluctant to hire me due to my inexperience of a data center job. Even If they offer me a job, they won't give me a hike in pay. I am also considering exploring Network Security as a Career given the great demand for experienced security professionals. But again my inexperience here plays the spoil sport.

 

I am quite fascinated with the solutions that Artificial Intelligence have to real world problems and even attended an online course on it. But that diminished the enthusiasm I had for AI as a novice due to the technicality involved in AI. 

 

I am also keen to learn python language, as I have seen my colleagues using it to automate Network monitoring jobs and I believe it has many unimagined potential applications. And the best part till now is that I find learning python quite pleasing.

 

To sum up, please suggest what career should I pursue that's a perfect match for me in terms of:
night shifts
work/life balance
lucrativeness

 

Thanks again.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hi Khanzaidsalim!

 

I will do my best to try and help you figure out what possible choices you can choose between and what might be a good option for you.

 

I hope cisco might be able to restore my response to the previous question as I was going through some of your topics in that one as well....but in case they can't...you are absolutely right that there is a direct relationship between compensation (salary) and available spare time. Higher salaries means more responsibilities...which in the end leads to less spare time available.

 

You mention that you lack experience to get into the Datacenter business or the Network Security business. Is this your long-term plan? If that's the case....you have to start somewhere and you cannot really expect a raise in your salary with the skills you have aquired from working with R&S.

 

Thinking about your career longterm....if you can get more experience within a different field with at least the same salary you have today- I think that's a very good opportunity to take the chance and move into a different field.

 

You also give some small hints that salary is a key motivator for you - but you also want to have a lot of spare time? If you expect the change to for example Datacenter with the same pay that you have today....but it decreases your spare time....then it comes down to what you are willing to sacrifice to gain the required experience?

 

Experience is often a key-deciding factor during interviews - especially for high paid jobs that requires a specialist. Are you willing to sacrifice some of your spare time in order to gain experience within this field? At least I think you should consider it.

 

Now to summarize my answer to your question...

 


@khanzaidsalim wrote:

 

To sum up, please suggest what career should I pursue that's a perfect match for me in terms of:
night shifts
work/life balance
lucrativeness

 

Thanks again.

 


Not an easy advice to give here but in general this is the relationship between the above.

 

Night shifts = usually support/NOC (1st-level) & advanced troubleshooting or implementation engineers. (2nd-level in ITIL-terms)

 

Work/Life balance = usually is a combination of your job-role and your salary. If you demand higher salary your organization will most likely demand that you are more available when they need you. Some job-roles you can never take unless you are willing to give up some of your spare-time. There is always a trade-off between what you want your salary to be and how much time you are willing to invest to reach it! In short....you are paid more to be available more. This is expected of you for 3rd-level jobs!

 

Lucrativeness = I think the entire IT-Business is very lucrative. Few other businesses can compete with IT. Most roles required very skilled staff and that always comes with a higher price-tag. Even entry-level positions where you just do some basic initial troubleshooting is very lucrative compared to other markets. But in terms of scoring the "big $$$" for You then I would say that Design and Architecture currently stick out to be extra good money and of course the whole Network Security field.

 

At the end of the day you should always aim to work with something that you think is Fun and that works for you longterm. Taking a job-role only because of the money you are paid is not a very wise decision.

 

So to make a final advice about what job-roles to look into that will:

-keep you away from night shifts

-give you a good work/life balance

-is lucrative for your career

 

Any 2nd-line or 3rd-line job-role within your Field (R&S) should be able to provide you with the above. Just remember that there is a direct trade-off between your demand in salary and your work/life balance.

 

Specifying a couple of individual fields is going to be difficult however since you mentioned enterprises - if you work with enterprises then most of the time you stay away from night-shifts and even evening-jobs with a 2nd-line or 3rd-line role. There is going to be days when you have to work late even in those positions - but at least it's not a mandatory schedule!

 

To earn more money you have to validate it with experience, skills or certifications. In the networking world having a minimum of CCNP or equivalent is almost required to get into 2nd-level roles. If you are looking into 3rd-level roles you also need to add experience or skills to justify it.

 

The last thing on your list is the most difficult to match as there is probably no job-role that would give you a higher salary without sacrificing something back.

 

With all your requirements above in combination with your background and experience, I believe you should focus on getting a 2nd-line job-role working in an enterprise-environment. Datacenter might not be the right field for you since you value your time a lot....and if things crash in the datacenter....you are going to be in the middle of it sooner or later!

 

Have you considered looking into Network Management positions?

Those positions are a little bit unique, few people show interest in them....but trust me - it's a very important role in any network. This is where you collect all your syslogs, netflows, dhcp-scopes and so on.

 

More importantly....you will have the chance to work with your Python skills to make system-integrations and import/export data between systems. This is becoming a very nice skill to have now when we see a trend going towards SDN and Automation. Even the best automated networks still need a good management platform to work.

 

Also a network management position should give you some good experience in the network security field as well since you will be tasked with collecting and sorting information from the network and hopefully you can demonstrate your security skills to other teams when they ask for information!

 

-HTH

Daniel

Beginner

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices

Hi Jayant,

 


@Jayant Anand wrote:

Hi Daniel,

 

I am glad i can ask this question to someone because this has been haunting me for way too long - what do i do next to keep up with the pace of changing IT world and where do I start?


As always with any career you need to ask yourself - What do you want to do in the future? How do you want to live your life? What is important for you to be happy?

 

In most cases the most difficult choice with any career is the part where you need to work with yourself in order to figure out what you need to be happy with your entire life. Consider the whole picture and not only your work.

 

The general formula is usually:

  • -Higher paid jobs comes with more responsibility.
  • -More responsibility comes with more availability towards your employee.
  • -More availability comes with less time for hobbies and/or family and friends.

At the end of the day you need to look at your life in total and not just only about your career. Another thing that is important to consider is that in different stages of your life you might want to look into different stages of your career.

 

What I mean with that is that depending on how your life look like and what you consider to be important at the moment and over the next 5-10 years will most likely have an impact of what you are willing to sacrifice for your job. That will in return have direct consequences of your spare-time and your salary. You should always have a balance between your life and work!

 


@Jayant Anand wrote:

 

My name is Jayant Anand and i have 9 years of experience in troubleshooting Cisco Collaboration Product Suite. I did my CCNA R&S and CCNA Voice (it was Voice in 2010) and then i learned alot on-job roles. I started as an implementation engineer but then i was always involved in long cutovers and issues that sucked the life out of me. I moved to the support role and quite liked it because i had fixed shifts and the work was good. 


 

From what I can read about your situation it is that you value your spare-time. That is good - you know what you DON'T want to do for a living! I understand your way of reasoning entirely and I've been there myself. Implementation and migration engineers are always going to be in the engineers that takes all the heat from both sides of the migration work. That takes a lot of patience and a lot of skills to handle. It's a very energy-consuming job.

 

At least within the IT-Industry the fixed schedules is mostly going to be with a Support-role/Operations-role because those roles are usually not meant to solve very advanced and very complex problems. That's where you send your implementations and senior engineers to do further investigation after initial troubleshooting by the support. Most of the time these types of tasks are done off-peak hours for a good reason.

 

I think you did a good choice going towards a support-role if you value fixed-schedules and a better work-life balance. I don't think there is any other industry that is so extremely flexible and so stressful as the IT-Business. It just takes a lot to handle that pressure and to recover from it. That's why I always say to new engineers that the IT-Industry is not for everybody.

 

In my last role I was a Problem Management Expert in which i was mostly handling problem tickets, high impacting incidents, migrations. I also learned python only to solve my day-to-day tasks like monitoring systems and taking health checks. I also have little knowledge on VMware. 

 

This year i moved from India to Canada and i got a job here in the same field though i am working here as a Voice Engineer who manages all types of cases (L1,L2 or L3) but i think its not a bad start when i migrated.

 


To be honest I think you have a very nice profile and you have experience that should make you very attractive in the market. Python skills are always good to have. Especially now when everything supports API's and where you can actually Code your Networks instead of Configuring your networks.

 

I agree that migrating to another country and landing a job such as yours is not a bad thing. It's a very difficult thing to do. It's a challenge in so many ways! In my experience the most difficult thing you can do is to migrate to a different culture and try to understand their way of doing things which is most likely very different from India.

 

From my experience working with different cultures I can just say that there is a huge difference in how we defin an Engineer and what we expect them to be able to do. It's not very easy for anyone to adapt to that. Take a moment and consider your achievement!

 

You already have a very good background & experience to validate your skills. You currently hold a very strong hand in case you decide to make a career-shift! That leads me to your real question...

 


@Jayant Anand wrote:

 

Here i do not see many Voice related jobs in the market and i wish to understand what could be good for me - choosing cloud computing, doing data science or do my CCIE in collaboration.


 

You are correct in your analysis about voice. Even if we are moving towards a more digitalized world we se less and less demand for Voice specialists. I believe that is simply because the trend is to equip your employees with a PDA (mobile phones, pads etc) instead of a VoIP-phone at their desks.

 

Voice Engineers are still needed but in my opinion i think they are more needed in service-provider networks (mobile networks and core infrastructure-services) and less needed in Enterprises.

 

Now here is where things get complicated....I also believe that Collaboration Engineers are needed within Enterprises since we are integrating various collaboration-platforms with more and more complexity....and guess what!? They all support VoIP as well!

 

So collaboration is NOT dead! We are just in the middle of a trend where traditional VoIP-phones are being replaced with a different technology such as Skype/Lync, Jabber etc. VoIP is just a very small piece of that.

 

Networks become more and more complex every day. Collaboration software is almost impossible to understand even when working very closely with all vendors involved. It's just such a complex solution that spans the entire networking-field and most of the time also off-premise clouds as well as on-premise clouds.

 

If Voice is what you really want to work with then I think you should look into your CCIE Collaboration - because that's where all the Voice-work have moved into. It's integrated into other platforms that also supports VoIP. And honestly - working with Collaboration will require a solid understanding about Cloud-environments as well. That means you would have to look into Cloud Computing as part of your studies for CCIE Collaboration. (not part of the blueprint per definition from a certification point of view - but definitely needed to do your job later)

 


@Jayant Anand wrote:

 

Once i decide to which field i have to move, there are questions like where to start and if i could be that good in that field and should i give up on Cisco Collaboration altogether?

 

I will be really happy to hear from you.

 

Regards

Jayant Anand


 

To answer the last piece of your question I will say....No I don't think you should give up what you are good at. Good engineers are always in demand regardless of what they do. But I think you should look at your current skills and the market trend and adapt to that.

 

That means that your traditional VoIP Job-roles are moving away from environments where you are used to work with them. They are moving into clouds that are either on-prem or off-prem and they are being integrated into collaboration software.

 

Speaking from experience I can say that in today's networks having access to someone that truly understands how these software operate and integrate into a network - is a skill that i find extremely difficult to hire on the market today. Collaboration engineers WITH Cloud-Experience is in very high demand!

 

While Traditional VoIP-Engineers on the other hand are not in very high demand and I don't see this changing in the future.

 

-HTH

Daniel

Beginner

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices

Thanks Daniel for your answer. It is very practical and to the point.

Regards
Jayant Anand
Beginner

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices


@Jayant Anand wrote:

Hi Daniel,

 

I am glad i can ask this question to someone because this has been haunting me for way too long - what do i do next to keep up with the pace of changing IT world and where do I start?

 

My name is Jayant Anand and i have 9 years of experience in troubleshooting Cisco Collaboration Product Suite. I did my CCNA R&S and CCNA Voice (it was Voice in 2010) and then i learned alot on-job roles. I started as an implementation engineer but then i was always involved in long cutovers and issues that sucked the life out of me. I moved to the support role and quite liked it because i had fixed shifts and the work was good. 

In my last role I was a Problem Management Expert in which i was mostly handling problem tickets, high impacting incidents, migrations. I also learned python only to solve my day-to-day tasks like monitoring systems and taking health checks. I also have little knowledge on VMware. 

This year i moved from India to Canada and i got a job here in the same field though i am working here as a Voice Engineer who manages all types of cases (L1,L2 or L3) but i think its not a bad start when i migrated.

 

Here i do not see many Voice related jobs in the market and i wish to understand what could be good for me - choosing cloud computing, doing data science or do my CCIE in collaboration. I don't understand how the future is for these technologies and certainly alot of the new technologies are picking up. Once i decide to which field i have to move, there are questions like where to start and if i could be that good in that field and should i give up on Cisco Collaboration altogether?

 

I will be really happy to hear from you.

 

Regards

Jayant Anand


Hi Jayant,

 

I don't know where my reply went to your question....maybe Cisco can get it back? It doesn't seem to be found anywhere :(.

(it was a long and thorough response so I hope with their help they can bring it back)

 

-Daniel

@Cisco Moderador can I get some help to read-back the original reply?

Beginner

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices

Hi Daniel,

 

I was really looking forward for a good discussion. I hope Cisco moderator can get your answer back. :|

 

Regards

Jayant Anand

Beginner

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices


@Jayant Anand wrote:

Hi Daniel,

 

I was really looking forward for a good discussion. I hope Cisco moderator can get your answer back. :|

 

Regards

Jayant Anand


Hi Javant,

 

I can see that they are coming back now.

Just drop me a PM if you want to continue the discussion and I'll see what i can do!

-Daniel

Community Manager

Re: Ask the Expert- Where do I start my IT career? Advice, Tips & Best Practices

Hi @Daniel Larsson, thanks assisting all the participants with their questions

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