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Thinking about leaving IT

By dh_it ·
A year ago I started a position in Desktop Support. I've learned all that there is to learn about the job in the last six months, and although I've asked my boss for additional responsibilities, he's slow in making it happen. I want to become a sys admin at some point, but the only experience I've had with servers is what I've thought myself. I could get certified in a certain server technology but that won't get me anywhere without experience, and desktop experience don't really transfer into anything else. I thought about leaving IT altogether and maybe pursuing a skilled trade. That way once I have the experience, it will open a lot more doors for me, not to mention better pay. I think that with IT, in order to get a position you really want, you either have to know someone in management, be very very lucky, or have years of experience, all of which don't apply to me. I'm thinking long and hard about this decision. Is there anything I can do to make myself more marketable, so that if I decide to leave this job in a couple years, I won't be restricted to only working desktop jobs? Lack of server experience is my brick wall.

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Too soon.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Thinking about leaving IT

First, I don't think one year with a single employer is enough experience to make an informed judgement on any career field.

Second, it depends on whether you really enjoy this field. I get the impression you're relatively early in your working years. If you like IT, I'd definitely look for another employer and make a point to ask about advancement and training opportunities.

If you don't like really like IT, you could be promoted to senior sys ad Monday morning and still be unhappy by Friday. If you are early in your working life, this is a good time to explore other fields.

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It isn't always a brick wall.

by hartiq In reply to Too soon.

I started in mainframe programming, with a bit of connectivity and some supercomputer thrown in. I became my company's Helpdesk when such things were new and innovative. I migrated to system work, Operations and other odd corners. Some of the desktop support people who followed me into the expending "help desk"/"service desk" area also graduated into Operations or System Support or even design work.
My employer had a rather wonderful attitude to training, which helped a lot, and they were sometimes good at spotting talent and using it, which also helped, but I drifted into slots more by accident of timing than anything else.
I ended up working for the same employer for ages but doing quite a few different jobs.
The "desktop support"/"help desk"/"customer service" work introduced me to every type of machine and software the organisation used, so I learned a lot in that post, formally and informally.
True much of what I have learned is now obsolete but the basic principles don't change much.
I guess what I'm saying is that if you have a good employer what you can achieve is limited only by the effort you make, and if you have a bad employer you should consider moving to a good one.
Whatever you do, try to have some fun doing it.
Good luck, and I hope you do well.

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And, not to offend anybody doing Desktop Support...

by robo_dev In reply to Too soon.

Desktop support is really not IT.

That's like saying you worked as an ambulance driver for a year, and now you don't want to become a doctor.

Driving an ambulance is very different from having your own medical practice or doing heart surgery to save lives.

IT has LOTS of options....

Like security? do that.
Like databases? do that.
Like to explain to clueless executives how it works? Do that.
Like to help Pixar render a 3D animation film on-time and on-budget? do that.

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Physical labor and no tech.

by dh_it In reply to Thinking about leaving IT

I do like IT very much. I'm always tinkering with computers in my spare time. Setting up networks, remote access, and file servers, but in my current role I'm doing more pysical work than technical work, which brings me to believe I could just be working in a construction site doing the same physical work but probably get paid more to do it. I work at an engineering company. Engineers are their core people. They could care less about advancing the carrer of a IT guy that sits at the bottom of the corporate ladder. I thought that the most you should stay in these tech support roles is one year without hurting your career. If I look for another job it will just be the same old tech support role, because I don't have much experience beyond that, only what I do in my spare time. I've asked to enroll in Microsoft courses with this company but because it's so large it's taking months to get an email saying that it's either approved or not. Meanwhile engineers are getting trained in different areas all the time. The main duty in my work involves moving computers between offices, becuase they are always shifting people around. I do some technical work, but not much.

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I'm not sure where you got that notion.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Physical labor and no tec ...

"I thought that the most you should stay in these tech support roles is one year without hurting your career."

That's a new one on me. In this economy, I definitely wouldn't leave until I had something else lined up. Update your resume to include what skills you've been able to acquire and what tasks and duties you've performed, and start submitting applications. What's the worst that can happen?

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I did "help desk" for four years.

by hartiq In reply to I'm not sure where you go ...

Maybe five. I actually liked it at times. When I could actually *help* people it was wonderful. When I could help people and learn new stuff it was even sort of fun. But it got successful, which raised its profile, which made it high-pressure which caused it to be less tolerant of goofing around and playing with bits, which made it more bureaucratic and boring and no fun at all. So I moved to a different job.
I did mainframe operations and support for about a decade. I was rather good at that. Well, one would be after so much practice, would one not?
The shortest time I spent in a job was fifteen minutes. The longest was the Operations/System Analyst job.
I have seen "service desk" people move on after a few months, others have stayed there for a good few years and still managed to have careers after their stay in that post. Some have even moved out of IT, some into management.
I don't think you should be dogmatic about it.
But you should always be curious. You should *always* be trying to learn things. Write a web page in HTML using a plain text editor. Play with Java programming. Have a go at learning IBM JCL (there are guides on the Web). Read up on the history of computing. I never had to do much of that as I *lived* it and worked in it but there was a lot of stuff going on before Adobe and MacOS.
Most of all, be reassured that a year in one post does *not* imply that you have dead-ended your career. There's still plenty of time to make horrible mistakes and to get promotions.
Not that one necessarily causes the other.

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In smaller shops, everyone is Help Desk.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to I did "help desk" for fou ...

Our company has nine or tem people for service desk and infrastructure support in the US. We support over 800 users in multiple locations. Some of us aren't expected to answer the hotline as a regular part of their jobs, but only the two interns have no duties outside of 'Level 1' service desk. Most of us have a mix of responsibilities, including some degree of service desk duties. There are two of us located in this specific plant, and we do everything from basic help desk to server configuration, Active Directory management, and SQL programming.

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I just need the experience

by dh_it In reply to Thinking about leaving IT

If I send out resumes now it probably won't make much of a difference, because I have no experience. Even getting my employer to pay for a cert is a real pain. Problem is I don't know how to get to where I want beyond desktop support.

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Try applying

by Slayer_ In reply to I just need the experienc ...

Some places have very lax IT, especially small businesses.

I've noticed branch IT for things like banks, stores, etc. is extremely easy and can get your foot in the door. If that doesn't help, go to school and maybe get into a co-op or work experience program.

The first place I worked for was a body shop, just after school hours I would go fix their problems. Mostly it was just installing/fixing software and replacing hardware. The old paint code program and some others were old DOS programs and were thus difficult to get working. Even hardware problems I sent out to get fixed, I just made a deal with the local mom and pop computer shop for a discount on labor and equipment. Because of the power surges in the shops. UPSs, power supplies and mother boards would **** very often. And the body shop dust wrecked everything else.

I didn't even know about the power surges till the front desk computer blew its third motherboard that year.

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by DesertJim In reply to Thinking about leaving IT

"I've learned all that there is to learn about the job in the last six months"

fantastic, they should make you CIO straight away.

Firstly you never stop learning, you don't think something like the move to Windows 8 or BYOD will give you new, marketable skills, revitalise that job satisfaction and give you a wider understanding of the user before you move onwards and upwards.

Secondly don't confuse Ambition with Ability

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