Need advise in the carrer of being a MIS/System Engineer

Hi guys. I have just registered in this forum and i have just completed my MCSE.

Been searchng for system engineer jobs and I have seen that its a big world out there with various systems being used.

There are so many experts here and what I hope is that you all could give me valuable advise as to how to carve out an IT career for myself.

How should I improve myself.

I iust entered here 15 minutes and I can't believe the wealth of information I can find here.

I am a fresh MCSE(Still studying a lot in this forum) and would like to know how far can I extend to support systems up to a higher level eventually earning a higher pay.

I like messaging.

I have heard of unix etc etc.

What do you guys think I should go learn now. CCNA. Unix, etc?

I pretty much like microsoft. How do I become a very versatile IT person.

Thanks
moneywellAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
First, the following link is meant as a technician's tool kit... but if you want to be versatile, then you should review it... some things will apply to you... others may not:

www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/techtoolkit.asp

I would recommend getting a CCNA next.  Followed with some Linux courses (in Red Hat and/or Suse).  Unix is still around and used... but Linux is the growth market in terms of future *nix growth.

Regardless, KNOW YOUR STUFF.  Don't try to cheat by asking others to answer your questions (not saying you are or would, but I definitely see people trying on various sites, including this one).  Certifications can get you in the door, but KNOWLEDGE will get you the job.  PLAY!  Get yourself a copy of Microsoft Technet Plus Direct ($350 first year).  With it, you'll get what amounts to trial/educational copies of MOST Microsoft products.  They are not to be used in production, but in helping you understand the technology, they should be fine.  (Considering what you are getting in this package, $350 is CHEAP!)

Know Windows Networking, Windows, and Networking and you'll be able to start fairly well.  Linux is a bonus to most people... not a necessity... but I believe that will change in the coming years - at least with any significant size business.
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briancassinCommented:
This is going to get a lot of opinion and a lot of responses probably. Ultimately it is going to be a combination of opinion and factual information you are given and then ultimately you will have to make the decision... WARNING... this is a long post

I started out myself with A+ then Net+ then MCSE, Security+ and MCDST,

the information is confusing and conflicting out there as to experience, pay and skills required.

First off it depends on your experience you said you just got your MCSE but you didn't tell us how long you have been working in computers what your experience is specifically server, desktop, etc.. If you had any other certifications if you have ever worked in the I.T. field etc..   To give you more accurate information your going to have to elaborate on your skills.

Do you have a 4yr or 2yr degree ?

How did you get your MCSE ? through a college ? self study ? or a boot camp ?

How much experience in the work world have you had with server 2003 ?
Can you write scripts ?
Can you administer and design active directory ?
Do you know how to do backups of servers and develop disaster recovery plans ?
Do you know how to do clustering ?
Can you deploy applications through Group Policy ? GPMC ?
Can you setup a VPN, RAS, ?
Do you know how to setup and troubleshoot switches and routers ?
Are you familar with firewalls ? ISA server ?
Exchange ?
SQL Server ?

What is your motivation for your I.T. Career ? Money , Knowledge, Perks ?

When it gets into system engineer what Microsoft calls one and what one is in the real world differe quite a bit as a system engineer is generally required to know messaging, some linux (not always though) firewalls, vpns, almost always cisco routers and switching, scripting, at least 2 programming languages such as Java, PHP ASP .NET. Also common office apps, usually an accounting, payroll or other more specialized database based application.

Look at Dice.com and Monster.com for the job descriptions and see what you feel fits you best then look at the ones that sound of interest but the skills they list you don't have write those skills down keep a tally. Also look at the pay ranges.  As an example they will say an MCSE will get 70K per year on salary surverys that depends where you live, also depends on if you have a college degree and how many years in I.T. most new people to the field are lucky if they break 40 - 50k start pay with an MCSE unless either you have a lot of other skills or you really know your stuff. For instance you can go to California where the pay is higher but the cost of living is too same for NY. Being that I see you are in Singapore time I have no idea how much the compensation is in Singapore. So that information may irrelevant.

Unfortunately Microsoft certs are a flooded field at least in the U.S. Am I saying you wasted your time with the MCSE absoutely not. Certs help but only if you really know what your doing. Microsoft certs have been devalued over the years because of paper MCSE's (people that can pass a test do a test cram but have no real world experience and cannot perform in the real world) I think a lot of experts will agree on this one. During the dot com bust they were pumping out classes of people that never touched a computer in there life as MCSE's in 2 weeks time.

What I am saying is though if you want to make the higher pay you have to get experience outside of Microsoft unless your a developer or you get architect status under there new certifications.  Or you specialize your Microsoft Skills for example you do cross system integration, security, something that sets you apart from the other 100k MCSE's out there  

Here is the current list of certs and how many of them there are from Microsoft
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/certified.mspx


Linux and Windows integration is a hot thing right now because of Open Source Software and the move towards it. Databases are hot, Security will always be hot and in need.

Linux administrators and especially unix admins usually get compensated much higher for there skills since there are not as many of them around.

Cisco is a whole other world if you want to get basic CCNA then I would say go for that as chances are in many organizations your going to run into Cisco switches and routers. However if you are looking at CCIE then you will have to live eat, breath, sleep Cisco.

You also have security specialization certifications such as CISSP, SANS, CEH, LPT, etc.. Then there is also storage specializations such as Brodcade.

If you want to be in the 70's and up it is based on location and also your specializations. Like anything including a job interview you have to have skills that set you apart from the average everyday I.T. guy. Something that gets you noticed because you are competent in it and it sets you apart in a good way.

To pick up experience I would recommend getting some pc's and setting up your own home network play with it give yourself real world scenarios such as deploying applications setting up roaming profiles etc.. purposely try to break and blow things up in your server enviroment just make sure you have a way to restore it, practice recovering a server that has gone down. Use recovery console become familar with all the utilities that are available to you for testing the domain, dns, dhcp, PDC, replication etc..   do this until you become really comfortable with it.   EXPERIMENT EXPERIMENT EXPERIMENT.  Don't know the answer search for it, post it here.

Participate in online forums like here deal with real world problems try to help people out just try not to tell them anything that will blow up there systems otherwise they may not be too happy with you.

Experiments, Perserverence and Experience will be the main guiding factors towards your I.T. Career and a lot of reading, keeping up with the trends and technology. Get familiar with tech websites including technet, microsoft's knowledgebase, news sites such as slashdot.org they have had several postings with people asking a similar question yt yours. There opinions differ from here as they are not as Microsoft friendly (more linux).  An example is a discussion on hot careers http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/23/041242


Hope this helps and good luck and congrats on your MCSE! If you took at least one security elective you could always go for the CompTIA Security+ which then gives you an MCSE +Security.
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briancassinCommented:
I forgot to mention use the MCP website to your advantage as an MCSE you have access to it and you also can print out a transcript with your credentials

They also have other information available on it
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/career/default.mspx
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