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Work Alone or in Large Department?

By jereg ·
I was sort of curious about how people felt about this. For the last 2 years I've worked as a one-man IT dpeartment. Before that, I worked in large shops with 30-50 people. My wife,(a System Admin at a big firm) said I'd lose touch with the industryand skills working alone at a small company. She has a point.
But, I have a wider range of functions, don't have meetings, and don't have to argue technical details with prima donnas. One meeting some time ago had 3 MCNE's yell at each other for 20minutes about the best way to remove a server from the tree. Who needs that? My boss asks for something, I figure out how I want to do it, and it just gets done.
So, what is the better deal for the folks here, say given that same pay, 1 person IT, or the big department?

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Where do you want to go?

by Malcolm R In reply to Work Alone or in Large De ...

There isn't much room for advancement in a 1-person IT shop, but maybe running the whole show yourself appeals to you.

OTOH, being in a big corporate IT organization can drive you crazy with meetings and processes, but it may let you get into areas and responsibilities you couldn't have otherwise.

I've done both. There's good and bad with each. It is all in what you want to do.

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I like the one man show

by road-dog In reply to Where do you want to go?

and here's why. There is absolute freedom to experiment with emerging technologies (hardware permitting)and if things are running well, time to do so.

I was in such a position once and built myself a lab and taught myself a lot at the onset of myIT career.

If losing your edge is a worry, you can fall behind just as badly in a group. Staying current requires discipline and effort.

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I like to get into a team

by admin In reply to Where do you want to go?

wherever I am.

IMO no "one person IT department" really is one person.

On the flip side, IMO no really big organization is as big as the number of people in it. Usually you find that you work within a smaller team there as well.

It reallytakes a team to accomplish things wherever you are in IT, and you can seek out ways to find what you need in either place.

:)

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It depends

by timwalsh In reply to Work Alone or in Large De ...

There are pros and cons to both types of work environments. Much depends on how you like to work.

If you enjoy true independence of action and being your own boss (for the most part), then being a one-man shop is definitely for you.
The downsides are: no one else to take the blame, no one else to take up the slack when you want to take vacation or just a "mental health" day, no one else to bounce possible solutions off of, no one else to keep you company when you're up al night rebuilding a server, no one else to pitch in on the myriad of IT tasks where four hands are better than two, etc.

As you might be able to tell, I also work a one-man shop. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Most of the pluses for working in a team are the flip side to the cons for working alone. Some additional pluses are: working with people from varied backgrounds who bring different experiences and ways of working a given issue to the table, ... Okay, I can't think of anything else.

I'm not sure I agree with your wife. As a one-man operation, you're more or less forced to become an expert on everything. This alone means you tend to do more research to broaden your horizons and figure out how to fix problems.
On a team, especially the bigger the team, the more you tend to get specialized, thus actually decreasing your chances for broadening your skill set.

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