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Asking for advice - Career choices

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0 Votes

Asking for advice - Career choices

irish8377
Looking for some advice. I am a principal consultant (application) for a huge software/hardware company. I have been in consulting for about 3 years and most of what I learned came either on the fly, from a book, or from some night classes. I like what I do, but looking to take the next step. Since I am new to IT, I sometimes get confused with what is best to be good at. Application, database, networking, windows admin, etc. It seems as though being a jack of all trades master of none is not the right way to go. I guess it is my desire to “know everything” that could end up hurting me. I welcome any advice, if anyone was in this type of situation, or what you would suggest. I receive absolutely no guidance from my management team, project team, or anyone else. I really know a little about a lot of things, but not an expert on any. Some suggest go for being a PM, but just wanted some opinions. I see a lot of potential, in myself and in this industry. I want to add I have two degrees (BA, MBA), but use neither in my current job. :)

Thank you.

Member Comments

    • +
      1 Votes
      irish8377

      Thank you all for your comments. At 36, I have just begun to scratch the surface and am interested in learning more. After passing an Oracle app certification (my first cert of any kind), I think I am going to just spend the next year improving my overall skill set in any way I can; while I continue my job as a principal consultant. I want to get off the road in a year, so that is driving me to land something near/close to home. I really appreciate the advice you all have given me...and good luck to those who are continuing to improve their skills and job prospects. Best, Bob

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      2 Votes
      jonathan.moo

      It really depends on where you are now, the opportunities that you currently have and what you really want for yourself in future.

      I can't see why your two degrees are not used in your current job. Most IT companies need an educational qualification to work for them, especially if you are taking on a research and development role.

      See which track you want to focus on: management or specialization.

      Management means you will have to handle people, work flows and getting things done as a team (being very general here).

      Specialization means you have an interest on a particular subject; let's say big data methodologies, then you will focus on machine learning, algorithms, data crunching and all that knowledge and skills on NoSQL databases.

      Just set your desires on to what you want, and you will be good to go.

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      1 Votes
      harveywilkins

      My advice is to explore your self cause i notice that you are an fast learner person.To be honest i worked different kind of work in fact right now i am an part time agent at http://goexcellent.no/ at the same time an full time IT .

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      3 Votes
      EVGA

      Just my opinion - I have been a IT Consultant for a couple years and got out because of the greed Consultants thrive on just to make a living didn't like that feeling no offense. Now I work as a jack of all trades in one company. One day I am underneath buildings cabling a new fiber line up to designing applications for our company and still managing a support department for all things Information/Technology. You've hit it on the head being a Jack of all trades will never allow you to become a expert or a specialist.

      What I have learned is that we go to the doctor when we are sick but in terms they can't tell me what's in my blood they have to use a lab. In fact Doctors can only do bare minimum procedure's without sending it to a specialist. There are no problems in being a Doctor so long as your seeing patients. That is fixing something contributing in some important way IT or IS related. Next I have been an IT doctor for my company so long that I have realized that computers are getting better applications are becoming easy to deploy and develop the world is moving at a slow pace to a more reliable world (Importantly with Virtualization that will kill so many IT Jobs). So as a Doctor that feeds on the sick of IT I have less work would be a fair statement however its not correct. When I dive into the business side of IT such as business IT process development. Business IT process development will never die. Companies always will need someone who can look at there requirements and make sure they have the tools. Lastly I have learned that I will never be a true expert however I do certify in anything I touch. I have tons of Certifications and its made me very successful and confident enough that I have enough skills to dive passed that doctor level at times and fix things that are necessary my users love it that they don't have to wait for a specialist and I forming a new breed of IT people that companies want. If you want more specific on a direction be more specific in what you want and post it I am sure millions of us know an easy path of reaching your goal.

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      3 Votes
      CharlieSpencer

      I've the local IT support guy for a couple of different manufacturing plants in my career. In both cases, the primary IT staff has always been several hundred miles away. The main staff handles major projects and infrastructure for all sites but a local staffer is required. I'm not a master of much but can handle Level 1, 2, and some 3 support for a variety of hardware and software technologies. (My boss says I'm a 'Level 2.5 tech'.)

      If you really enjoy a wide variety of IT aspects and don't mind getting more than 'ankle deep', there are positions that suit that preference. Look for organizations with central headquarters and multiple dispersed remote sites. Hospitals with remote clinics, colleges with branch campuses, governments with scattered local / regional offices, etc.

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      1 Votes
      mjd420nova

      Many degrees find little use in IT besides the admin side. Engineers have to be broad skilled but can't handle everything. The dividing line for me was software or hardware. I opted for hardware and haven't regetted it. I have had to bring the software skills along with the hardware, if only to support my own diagnostics and assure the hardware validity.

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      0 Votes
      irish8377

      thank you very much for your reply. just to go a bit further. are you basically setting up everything for a company or do you come in for specialized requests?

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      0 Votes
      Viktor_f

      Agree.

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      1 Votes
      john.a.wills

      And are you sure you are not using your degrees without realizing it? Understanding the variety of grammars of natural languages is useful for programming, for example. If you think network work is fun, perhaps you should take a course in graph theory (say the Open University of the UK's MT365: Graphs, Networks and Design) - which is itself worthwhile. Of course, there is also the question of money, although you should already be getting enough for contentment: which skills command the highest wages in your area?

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      0 Votes
      irish8377

      I really appreciate your input. As for pay, yes, I guess I could say I am content from that angle, but only about 10% of my brain is being used. As for jobs in my area. I live in Philadelphia, PA USA. I would say there are a ton of PM, implementation consultant, and SW developer jobs available. I imagine the transition from consultant to PM wouldn't be that difficult, but I get concerned if I'd have passion to do that as opposed to being a network engineer, windows admin, etc etc. I do enjoy trouble-shooting. Right now I work on a project mgmt application that is installed in a lot of major companies, so there are a lot of partner jobs/smaller consulting firms that implement our software, but I guess that probably goes for a lot of other software from a big company (Oracle, Microsoft, SAP)....

    • +
      1 Votes
      john.a.wills

      And are you sure you are not using your degrees without realizing it? Understanding the variety of grammars of natural languages is useful for programming, for example. If you think network work is fun, perhaps you should take a course in graph theory (say the Open University of the UK's MT365: Graphs, Networks and Design) - which is itself worthwhile. Of course, there is also the question of money, although you should already be getting enough for contentment: which skills command the highest wages in your area?

      +
      0 Votes
      irish8377

      I really appreciate your input. As for pay, yes, I guess I could say I am content from that angle, but only about 10% of my brain is being used. As for jobs in my area. I live in Philadelphia, PA USA. I would say there are a ton of PM, implementation consultant, and SW developer jobs available. I imagine the transition from consultant to PM wouldn't be that difficult, but I get concerned if I'd have passion to do that as opposed to being a network engineer, windows admin, etc etc. I do enjoy trouble-shooting. Right now I work on a project mgmt application that is installed in a lot of major companies, so there are a lot of partner jobs/smaller consulting firms that implement our software, but I guess that probably goes for a lot of other software from a big company (Oracle, Microsoft, SAP)....

      +
      1 Votes
      mjd420nova

      Many degrees find little use in IT besides the admin side. Engineers have to be broad skilled but can't handle everything. The dividing line for me was software or hardware. I opted for hardware and haven't regetted it. I have had to bring the software skills along with the hardware, if only to support my own diagnostics and assure the hardware validity.

      +
      0 Votes
      irish8377

      thank you very much for your reply. just to go a bit further. are you basically setting up everything for a company or do you come in for specialized requests?

      +
      0 Votes
      Viktor_f

      Agree.

      +
      3 Votes
      CharlieSpencer

      I've the local IT support guy for a couple of different manufacturing plants in my career. In both cases, the primary IT staff has always been several hundred miles away. The main staff handles major projects and infrastructure for all sites but a local staffer is required. I'm not a master of much but can handle Level 1, 2, and some 3 support for a variety of hardware and software technologies. (My boss says I'm a 'Level 2.5 tech'.)

      If you really enjoy a wide variety of IT aspects and don't mind getting more than 'ankle deep', there are positions that suit that preference. Look for organizations with central headquarters and multiple dispersed remote sites. Hospitals with remote clinics, colleges with branch campuses, governments with scattered local / regional offices, etc.

      +
      3 Votes
      EVGA

      Just my opinion - I have been a IT Consultant for a couple years and got out because of the greed Consultants thrive on just to make a living didn't like that feeling no offense. Now I work as a jack of all trades in one company. One day I am underneath buildings cabling a new fiber line up to designing applications for our company and still managing a support department for all things Information/Technology. You've hit it on the head being a Jack of all trades will never allow you to become a expert or a specialist.

      What I have learned is that we go to the doctor when we are sick but in terms they can't tell me what's in my blood they have to use a lab. In fact Doctors can only do bare minimum procedure's without sending it to a specialist. There are no problems in being a Doctor so long as your seeing patients. That is fixing something contributing in some important way IT or IS related. Next I have been an IT doctor for my company so long that I have realized that computers are getting better applications are becoming easy to deploy and develop the world is moving at a slow pace to a more reliable world (Importantly with Virtualization that will kill so many IT Jobs). So as a Doctor that feeds on the sick of IT I have less work would be a fair statement however its not correct. When I dive into the business side of IT such as business IT process development. Business IT process development will never die. Companies always will need someone who can look at there requirements and make sure they have the tools. Lastly I have learned that I will never be a true expert however I do certify in anything I touch. I have tons of Certifications and its made me very successful and confident enough that I have enough skills to dive passed that doctor level at times and fix things that are necessary my users love it that they don't have to wait for a specialist and I forming a new breed of IT people that companies want. If you want more specific on a direction be more specific in what you want and post it I am sure millions of us know an easy path of reaching your goal.

      +
      1 Votes
      harveywilkins

      My advice is to explore your self cause i notice that you are an fast learner person.To be honest i worked different kind of work in fact right now i am an part time agent at http://goexcellent.no/ at the same time an full time IT .

      +
      2 Votes
      jonathan.moo

      It really depends on where you are now, the opportunities that you currently have and what you really want for yourself in future.

      I can't see why your two degrees are not used in your current job. Most IT companies need an educational qualification to work for them, especially if you are taking on a research and development role.

      See which track you want to focus on: management or specialization.

      Management means you will have to handle people, work flows and getting things done as a team (being very general here).

      Specialization means you have an interest on a particular subject; let's say big data methodologies, then you will focus on machine learning, algorithms, data crunching and all that knowledge and skills on NoSQL databases.

      Just set your desires on to what you want, and you will be good to go.

      +
      1 Votes
      irish8377

      Thank you all for your comments. At 36, I have just begun to scratch the surface and am interested in learning more. After passing an Oracle app certification (my first cert of any kind), I think I am going to just spend the next year improving my overall skill set in any way I can; while I continue my job as a principal consultant. I want to get off the road in a year, so that is driving me to land something near/close to home. I really appreciate the advice you all have given me...and good luck to those who are continuing to improve their skills and job prospects. Best, Bob