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Working for a Small business- am I missing out?

By camis05 ·
I'm a recent graduate and am working for a small business - I am the IT dept. My daily tasks are combination of Level 1 Helpdesk and report generation for management. I'm also responsible for introducting new technology to the company. I'm concerned that because I'm working with a small company that I'm missing out on huge learnings in an enterprise environment. My main concern is when I'm looking for another job that my skills won't meet the standard skillset of an IT worker. Any thoughts on how to make sure I stay competitive IT worker?

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Same Prob here

by sandeep.kunwar In reply to

Ya dude i m also experiencing the same prob.
As work load is too much which i loved to carry in starting but now they expect me do overtime as my fixed schedule.
Having exposure but with Less salary.
Even now i m feeling bore with my work

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Enjoy your E-person Status

by docbrown In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

Take it from someone who started out as you did; as an "everything person", responsible for all aspects of IT, from software and hardware deployment and management to network troubleshooting and customer service. Eventually, you'll wind up in an IT dungeon nursing servers all day, longing for those days when you you had hands on knowledge while working for that small business! On a small but very effective scale, you are functioning as the key MIS CIO for your organization, which provides you the ability to shape how your organization will function now in the future. I beg to differ. It is we who are competing with you, since the majority of businesses in this country (assuming the US) is conducted in the SOHO environment. Take good notes, document your changes, and I guarantee you, you will be giving me instructions on IT considerations outside the corporate environment.

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I worked at both

by doug m. In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

I've worked at both small places and global places. The small places can be nice, but often times you have a lot of family members either owning the small business or just working there and that can be awkward to outsiders. Global companies have a tendency to slap a number on you and forget about you. Until its time to make cuts that is. You have to find sonething that feels right for you and if it stops feeling right, look elsewhere. You have to look out for number one.

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Totally agree and then some

by kevinf In reply to I worked at both

I have worked at both as well. Corporate was nice for the perks and yes, you learn tons of stuff. The small company was nice b/c I came at a time where I could use what I learned to help them grow. I think ultimately it just depends on your goals. Depending on your budget, you can learn and gain exposure to lots of things.

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don't rely on somebody else to train you

by gnbonney In reply to I worked at both

I have also worked for both. Big companies generally have better benefits. However, if you are working on a project with 100 other people, you will just be given one small piece of that project to work on. They may put you on something you are not interested in and you find yourself gradually getting pidgeon-holed. On the other hand, with a small company, you may never get a chance to work on the kind of projects you are interested in.

So, I would say don't leave it up to the company to train you. You have to do it yourself. For example, if you are a Java programmer working on a big J2EE project, when you go for interviews they will still ask you lots of technical questions. Many of the questions may pertain to things that you didn't do in your own little corner of that big project. However, if you have trained yourself, you can still give good answers to the questions.

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I think you are right

by avid In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

if you want varied experience i think you should be working for a computer consulting firm. you get exposed to a wide variety of networks. you get to see how other techs have approached a problem, and which solutions work best.

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Career Thoughts

by bgurney In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

You have to come up with some objectives. In my experience, there are 3 key interrelated areas:
Personal + Career + Economic

These have to be from the perspectives of RIGHT NOW, +/- 5 years and ultimate.

>Personal - where do you want to live ? This determines the market you need to be in synch with. For example - If a particular rural location is important, then smaller company experience may be the best avenue - then you may want to focus on finding a more complex environment or ones with ubiquitous technology.
Want a big family (or have one already) ? Then the work / home time committment and how it's handled in smaller vs. larger orgs may be important.
>Career - what role might you eventually want to have ? This determines what you need to learn and experience before you can attain that.
>Economic - what earnings do you need to support your personal and career objectives ? It also can steer you to company's that can help - ex: Advanced Degree - what companies provide aid might become an important consideration, this may lead you to only want larger org in future.

Qualifications provided by experience for IT positions fall into a few basic categories.
-Technologies in play (HW, SW, NW, etc..)
-Scope (breadth of experience in terms of roles, business processes and technologies)
-Scale (sheer size of supported systems, databases, users, transaction volumes, etc)

In any case, knowing what you want and synchronizing it with the markets you can find it in will ALWAYS make you stand out from the crowd of candidates for ANY job, now and in the future!

So you can plan to build your background around the above with your goals in mind.
Hope these ideas help you clarify!

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

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Small company GOOD, for now

by maus_69 In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

I started out at a small company, and only later on in my career did I start working at major multinationals. Almost daily, the experiences that I had back then help me now. The great thing about small companies is that you get breadth of experience, and this is the perfect time in your career to get that breadth.

Once you see a particular area (infrastructure, network management, help desk, PM, app dev, whatever) that really sparks your interest, THEN you can begin to specialize at larger and larger companies.

I have seen far too many people at big companies who never had the benefit of small company experience first, and the sad thing is that they often have no perspective. Because they specialized and "went deep" so early, they only know their one area, and as a result are far less useful to the company, especially in situations requiring problem-solving abilities.

Anyway, that's been my observations over the past 10 years or so, so my advice is - learn ALL you can, then go deep and move up.

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Be very careful!

by bg6638 In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

I've spent 30 years working exclusively for small companies as the lone "IT-guy", and while working for a small company can be rewarding, I strongly suggest moving to larger employers. Why? Thru personal experience, I have found that larger employers view my past experience as practically worthless. They felt the systems that I wrote don't scale up to larger volume levels, and the largest network I managed *ONLY* had 1 AS400, 1 S/36, 5 Wintel servers, and 50 workstations. Typical comment is that many college labs have more equipment.

Also, to be a competitive IT worker, think *beyond* IT! Within the next 5-10 years, you must be a "business system solution provider". Specialize in IT alone, and you'll find your skill set outdated and not desired!

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You're better off being a JOAT unless

by sjohnson175 In reply to Working for a Small busin ...

you prefer to be one of the narrow-focus types (who tend to gravitate to large companies).

Some small companies have the same problems though. I left a ~150 employee company loaded with petty turf wars to go to a large multi-state bank.

I've actually managed to fall into a sort of JOAT role here. However, my title is officially "Programmer" so I get looked at like a two-headed alien when I suggest a given project team doesn't need a DBA to use DTS for copying some data between SQL servers for example.

As a recent graduate you don't really "know what you want to be when you grow up" so you should work on as many things as you can until you realize what you like best.

I enjoy all aspects of IT but do prefer development over all others. I'd much rather write code than manage a domain for example. Yet I'm capable of doing both.

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