At some point, every IT professional should ask, "What's my ideal job?" There may not be a clear answer. If that's the case, then you should give the subject some serious thought. Otherwise, you shouldn't complain about your current position being a dead end. In fact, I would argue that if you know where you eventually want to go, then you can view your current job in that perspective and find ways to use it to your advantage.
For example, I would view a Backups Technician (someone that runs and babysits backups) as one of my least desirable IT jobs. Why? It doesn't involve a whole lot of creativity and it includes a lot of monotonous work. However, if I did have that job and my ultimate goal was to eventually become a senior administrator at a large or mid-size company then I would find ways to use the resources in my current job to my advantage. I would take the time I had while waiting for backups to read up on networking and server technologies. I'd look for ways to master the current job and find improvements that make a difference in the business so that I could put that on my resume. And I'd also get to know other people in the IT department (especially those who worked in areas that I was interested in) and learn as much as I could from them. These activities wouldn't always make up for the monotony of the job, but they would help give some purpose and direction to my work.
Of course, some of you will already have an ideal IT job in mind. What's interesting to me is how subjective that question is and how different the answer is depending on who you ask. The answer probably says more about the proclivities of the individual than the appeal of the job itself. Still, it's always fascinating to see the jobs that are most desired and why they are so appealing. Some invidividuals want to work for a specific company or a hold a specific job in a particular company. Others want a certain role in IT that offers what that person views as the perfect place to channel his skills and abilities. Still others idealize a particular job for other reasons, such as money, flexibility, hours, location, and other pragmatic factors.
I'd like to know what TechRepublic members view as the best and worst jobs in IT. Therefore, I've started a pair of discussions to convene some collective wisdom on this topic. Let's hear what you view as the best jobs in IT and the worst jobs in IT.
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Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.