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HELP! Are my expectations too high???

By sekrit_agent ·
Hello all. Long time reader, first time poster! I think there's a lot of great insights here and I appreciate your time and efforts. With that said, I'd appreciate some non-inflammatory responses to my predicament.

I'm almost 3 years out of college (bachelor's in CS) and I'm slaving away for a consulting firm doing the technical architecture/infrastructure side of ERP implementation, not including application programming or database administration.

In 5 years, I want to have switched from that to being more of a technologist, particularly with Oracle. I want my skill set to include standard DBA stuff, application performance tuning, recommending architecture, perhaps even doing implementation or upgrades of ERP applications.

I'm frustrated in my current role because I see something I want to do but I'm not sure how to get from here to there.

1) Is this reasonable or am I setting the bar way too high for 5 years out?
2) Is the scope of work I want too broad?
3) How can I break into this field? Transferring to another position internally, getting a new job, training?
4) How can I grow and maintain my skillset when companies are so stingy with training budgets, without having to go invest in an enterprise architecture for my house?

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Adding expertise is a good skill to learn

by stress junkie In reply to HELP! Are my expectations ...

First I want to apologize. I'm probably one of the posters that made you nervous about asking a question and receiving some inflamatory response. I think you'll find that people like me want to be helpful to people, like yourself, who have legitimate questions. Most of us are harsh to the people who ask how to register a software application on five machines using one license or something like that.

Your question touches on a subject that is very important to anyone who wants to have a career in IT. I've found that skills that are in demand this year are useless in a few years. A career in IT requires that you continue to learn the new skills as they appear. One challenge is to learn a new skill and then to be hired for a job using that skill. Employers always want someone with a substatial amount of experience in the skill that they are looking for in a new employee. I remember some years ago that there was an ad for a job that required several years of experience in Windows 95, but Windows 95 hadn't even been released yet.

Although I've spent most of my time as a system administrator my experience with the problem may prove useful to you. I started out working with computers running CP/M and Tandy TRS-DOS. Then I worked with DEC VMS and M$ Windows. Then I got into Solaris and Linux.

There are a couple of approaches that work. You should expect to use all of them all of the time. One of them will work now. A different one may work the next time. Etc.

Try to expand the scope of your current job. If your current employer needs someone with the new skill that you want to learn then try to get your employer to let you do that work, or work with the people that are doing that work, as you continue to do your current job.

Look for work at a very small business that cannot afford to hire a lot of specialists. If a small business needs the skills that you already have as well as the new skill that you want to develop they will probably be happy to let you do as much as you can. It will save them payroll costs.

Try working as a contract employee. Although people that hire a temp/contract employee only want to hire an expert the field is full of people who are, in fact, learning the skill that they are going to use at their next temp job. In truth, we are always learning our skills. Even when I've been working with a particular system for many years I'll find that a new customer is using some part of the system that I've never used before.

That pretty much covers question 3 in your post.

Question 1 - you are completely reasonable. 5 years experience is considered a veteran.

Question 2 - as mentioned above, a small business will want someone who can cover a broad spectrum of skills.

Question 4 - many of us have elaborate computer systems at home to use as a testbed and lab. We've purchased the equipment and software and books at our own expense. We use our 'leisure' time to learn about new facets of our skills. And even with all of this there are things that we cannot model at home due to the limits of the size of our labs and the unexpected problems that one finds at work.

Good luck in your career. IT can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

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by jdmercha In reply to Adding expertise is a goo ...

You will always be limited by the state of the industry. SO you have to keep your eyes open to opportunities to get what you want.

Some opportunities require a step back. Are you willing to take a cut in pay to accept another job that will add to your skill set.

If education is a primary concern, look for a job at a university. The pay will be low but the educational opportunities are great.

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you can

by Jaqui In reply to HELP! Are my expectations ...

get free download of oracle, which you can use to teach yourself oracle.

it doesn't hurt to use free personal versions of any application to learn it.
and a number of the enterprise class apps are now giving away free unlimited versions for personal use.
as a learning tool.

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by sekrit_agent In reply to HELP! Are my expectations ...

Thanks to all of you for posting your responses. Your insights are interesting and very much appreciated.

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