Network Administration - Question about staffing

Question is does this company need a primary IT staff?  One network admin?  How much is this job worth in Virginia?
What is anyone's opinion?

Have a network newly built and being added to daily.  

Win 2003 domain native

4 servers  - Dell Powedge
Server1 - Exchange 2003 and OWA SSL
Server2 - AD, DNS, DHCP, Print File, NAV
Server3 - 2 mysql databases for accounting and production and Veritas netbackup server 5 for backups with single AIT drive
running GFS backups
Server4 - Fedora Linux Apache Webserver running small company website

1 Cisco 2650 router
1 515E Pix
2 2950 switches

They are also wanting to build an extensive VPN architecture.  3-4 remote sites to start with 10-15 sites within 2 years.
Each site will connect from a Pix 501 to the Corp office with about 6-8 users at each office.
Corp site has about 15-20 User stations running XP.  

Who is Participating?

Your answer is in your own question above.  Say no.  You are already offended and you should *never* go into a new job feeling offended and under-appreciated.  Frankly, I want to believe they just don't know what they are doing when they say they don't need a full time person to handle their equipment.  Heck, the patching alone of 4 windows servers can keep a techie plenty busy at least part time (lol). The workstations will take care of the rest of your time.  No matter what MS may say about doing more with less, Exchange of any vintage will NOT run itself.  It needs regular care, feeding, and monitoring.  And you haven't even mentioned if they plan to run any specialized apps that might require SQL support, etc.  Btw, when I say I want to believe they just don't know what they are doing, it's just because I don't want to think they are intentionally d**king you over just to reduce their setup costs and then outsource their support once all is in place.

But the technical aspect aside completely.... you *must* feel good about what you do on a day to day basis.  You must feel valued and respected.  Those key elements appear to be completely missing in this scenario.  You have a job already; you don't need another one that is clearly going to make you feel unappreciated.  A meager salary increase will not offset how you feel at the end of the day (a big one might, but boy howdy would it have to be big!).

Say no, and have the decision be on your terms, not theirs.

(I'm not an HR person or a shrink, I just fake it real well)

(don't tell my husband.... ;-) )
Yes, I'd say that dedicated IT staff will be needed.  considering the scope of the operation, they'd need to have a very good understanding of AD 2003, Exchange 2003, Cisco Routing, Firewalls, and Switching, VPN architecture, and linux/sql dbase understanding.

75-90k easy a year for a good qualified engineer that will get the job done correctly without having to spend company money on outside support services.


Yes, you need dedicated IT people, and (relatively speaking) a lot of them. Gartner Group has done some TCO analysis and developed some numbers (ask for the Westcorp Financial study). As you grow and have to throw more and more hardware into the gaping maw of Windoze, figure on at least 1 FTE per every 10 Windoze servers or fraction thereof. Add another FTE for Exchange, at the rate of roughly 1 per every 200-300 users. People for Cisco, firewalls, routing, VPN are a little fuzzier.

Since you've already got Linux, have you considered migrating AWAY from Windoze as your core NOS? SUSE sells OpenExchange at about 1/2 the cost of M$ Exchange, and it scales a LOT better. You could get yourself a real Directory Service, too, seeing as how AD is just Domains pretending to be a Directory Service (since it lacks true multi-master replication, timesync, partitioning, etc. etc.) eDirectory would allow you to tie together multiple platforms, since it runs *natively* on Linux, Solaris, W2K, NT, etc. etc., whereas AD just runs on Windoze. You'll cut your FTE requirements substantvely, too.
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I believe that the industry standard is around 1 per 200 employees.  Not that that is ever how it goes, but you should try for it.  Also it is recomended to have a dedicated person for helpdesk, and a dedicated person for networking.  1 or 2 networking people should be able to handle your hardware once it is up and running, and then helpdesk based upon your company size.  For salary recomendations I suggest  They can tell you the average salary in the area, and they also are good at matching people to jobs.  Not a plug, no affiliation with monster, but they did get me a few interviews.  Best of luck to you and let me know if this helps or if you need more info.
rick_me27Author Commented:
Thanks for your opinions so far.  This company is looking at me to be hired full time to take care of the operation and is only offering me 52K to start.  They tell me the IT support will be over in 3-4 months once it's already up and running and solid.  I of course laughed after I went home but they said they would place me in another department and I could do that once the IT stuff came to a close.  What would you guys do when they asked you for an answer to work for them?  I have been in IT since I got out of college for 7 years.  I am gainfully employeed right now and make a little more than that supporting a smaller operation but it's stable and have no issues there at all.  These guys are the competetion and a new company.  On a side note I work all the time on other people's stuff (Exchange, AD, Cisco routers, and desktop BS)  I have been working for them for 50 per hour and that's very cheap because I know the owner.  I asked for 75K and figured I would get 70K but they said not possible.  I have seen the list of salaries by accident and I know they are trying to get me cheaper and cheap.  I'm kinda offended to be honest.  I'm an MCSE, CCA, A+ and just got my CCNP.  I'm qualified and do a good job.  THey just don't have a clue I guess.
Oh, and why on Earth would you want to be placed in some other department in 3-4 months doing something *other* than what you are clearly qualified to do?  So that your skillset can be left to wallow, they can pay you less, and so they still have you around when stuff fails?  You *know* they'll call you in to do the tech stuff when they are in a bind even if you get moved to another department anyway.  Don't do it!  Don't do it!  Save yourself!  Run for the hills!  Unless you believed this job could give you hands on experience that you won't get anywhere else, experience that you can immediately take and get another job with, and you have some money socked away for the time frame while you're looking for another job after this one ends (and it will cuz you're gonna hate being *near* the tech stuff but not actually doing it), I can't see any reason to do it.

The job market is soft, but it's not *that* soft, and it's not worth settling unless you're starving.  Not to mention that your next employer will want to know what your salary was at this job and if you take a salary drop you are scr**ing yourself for the future.  No matter what anyone tries to tell you to the contrary, future employers always take into account what you are making now or at your last employer and they will *rarely* offer you substantially more if the job is similar to your last job.  The first thing through any hiring guy's (or gal's) head will be this: Hmmm, he was making *how* much for doing this job?  He's either not that good, or he's overstating what the job or his role in that job really was.
rick_me27Author Commented:

Great advice.  I just got a call from one of the VPs and he wants to meet for beers to talk tomorrow evening.  I told him at this point I can't see myself coming over there and I might
be making the biggest mistake of my life but this the decisoin that my wife and I made. I have a family to support (kids).   I told him I had things to talk about and show him if it mattered and he insinuated that it did
so I am meeting tommorow around 5:30.  Some other details they asked for are, document everything (not that we don't trust you Rick, but we need to justify what you are doing when you come on board).  I do understand the need for documention in IT but it's not adding up with the other details.  They also said I will be hourly and not salary due to a new VA law that states if you don't have people working under you, one cannot be salary.  I don't even believe that for a second.  I'm looking for this law as we speak.  And for the record, I don't want to leave my career that I've worked so hard to achieve and what I love to do :)
Well, don't let them twist your arm.  Beer and conversation at Hooters is all well and good (yeah, I go for the hotwings too...), but in the end you must feel excited about the job and completely buy into it.  You must believe they value you.  If you don't, don't do it.

Trust your gut instinct.  It will not stear you wrong.

Wow, this has got to be the oddest tech question I've ever answered.  LOL!!!
"They tell me the IT support will be over in 3-4 months once it's already up and running and solid. "
Hey rick I have some swamp land in the GOBI desert if they beleive that..

You are looking at one guy busting his butt, IF he has that skill set 70K is about the bottom of the barrel, Based on the numbers I see and the industry standard I agree with everyione else. This is a full time posistion.
Also for what my opinion is worth.
DON"T DO IT - I feel a BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again) if you do.
rick_me27Author Commented:
I agree.  Feeling good about the position is a must.  Gut instinct is to not go.  My wife, in-laws and friends and you guys here all say no.  I'm going to meet with the VP and this evening and tell him I can't do it.  He's going to say, "is the same salary plus a possible bonus not enough plus you will be working in a more secure environment."  "You have to understand we are a new company"  They also tell me my company which they used to work for is going under soon.  I don't see the signs here to be honest.  I'm going to tell him that I don't want to quit my current job to come over to their network and work twice as hard, travel to all their loctions to setup the VPN from scratch and get paid the same.  Plus they think it will take care of itself and I'll be working for some other department?  yeah right.  no thanks.    I can take care of a couple servers and 80 workstations plus VPN sites at my current company and all is well and stable.  I printed off some salary info from and it shows what I'm worth and I'm going to show him some of the posts from this thread minus some of the negative things we've said to show them they are crazy and then ask them to do some research for what it will cost to hire someone full time with the required skillset I have.  Then after all that's said and done, I'm going to offer to take care of the IT needs as a contractor after hours and give them the info they need to try and setup VPN on their own.
I don't recall if I mentioned this before, but they told me years ago they had a small business before it was sold that
was 1 server and 10-12 95/98 stations.  All the sever did was File and Print and it was NT4 and utilited NTbackup for AIT backups.  They did some reasearch and told me last night that they spent around 15K for outsourced support for their network.  I told them that they didn't have much of a network that required any support.  He said they has a problem with the sever maybe 4 times a year and most of it was workstations.  They just don't get it.  I hope this all makes sense.  I'm typing and mad at the same time but in the same light I'm feeling better and less stressed out because I know I'm be comfortable with my decision.  My wife thinks they will bow to whatever I want because I set up all their stuff for 50 per hour and the cost for a Cisco, Exchange, AD etc guy around here is 125-150 per hour.  Plus VPN is out of reach for them unless they want to pay huge bucks to outsource someone to travel around the country to set them up.
I spent months setting it up for my current company and the new company wants to emulate all of that.

P.S.  No swap land for me ;)
> This company is looking at me to be hired full time to take care of the operation and is only offering me 52K to start.  They
> tell me the IT support will be over in 3-4 months once it's already up and running and solid.  I of course laughed after I
> went home but they said they would place me in another department and I could do that once the IT stuff came to a close.  

They need at least an MCSE-equivalent to run those servers, and I'd recommend a CCNA-equivalent to run the network.  Both require ongoing monitoring, patch management, and general hand-holding.  A single talented person might be able to do it all, but it might take more than 40 hours a week, and the combined skill set should demand more that $52K.  (I don't know whether your background covers all of that or not.)

Note the ONGOING.  I suspect they have some current major problems that need solving, and so they're completely blind to the amount of ongoing tending that will be needed to make sure that they don't just have a different set of equally-major problems in 3-4 months....

rick_me27Author Commented:
I agree.  I'm definitely qualified to do the work and handle it but I mentioned we would need a desktop support person donw the road for helpdesk and they said that was fine.  But jeez that pays at least 40K.  They would probably offer he/she 20K
and get no one to accept a job.  The network is brand new.  Up for about a month and nothing is wrong.  They just keep calling me to do more and more things.  I told them that they were getting complicated and it would reguire someone full time.  This is where this all started.  I think they are completely blind to this whole thing like you said.  
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