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career choice

Posted on 2012-03-28
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Last Modified: 2012-04-04
Hi Experts,

For the past 4 years I have been working on windows servers and I spent alot of time on servers, sccm and other microsoft products. Just last month I left my job and landed in a networking job as I am CCNA. My question is what is a better career choice systems/servers or networking? what will pay me more in the future and also make me more independent?

I understand companies are not asking for everything in one person but it is not possible.
Please help.
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Question by:Zak
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by:motnahp00
motnahp00 earned 125 total points
ID: 37780058
I think working solely with networking is too narrow for your skill sets. In my opinion, having the networking background as a systems administrator makes you more valuable to employers.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 125 total points
ID: 37780253
Depends on the environment you are working in.  Networking specialists - if you get REALLY GOOD can make a lot more than systems administrators.  But I would suggest you look at things differently. What do you ENJOY doing.  Money is nice and if you are reasonable good at either, you should make a very good living.  But being able to say you don't work, you get paid to have fun, that's special.  I don't work.  There are days I can't believe I get paid - and paid WELL - to do what I do.  Everyone has bad days from time to time, but if you love what you do, the money will come in sufficient quantity.

Sorry - getting a little too philosophical.  Nonetheless, if you want to try starting your own business at some point, being a consultant who manages client systems AND understands networking will make your life as a consultant much easier.  If you want a specific job with an employer, financial industry (I think) pays best, but the pressure is also significant.  And in larger businesses, I don't think there really are "system administrators" in the broad sense.  There are Exchange administrators, database administrators, directory services administrators, storage administrators... but few true (at least by my definition) system administrators (the people who manage everything).  Companies of 50-500 may have such job descriptions, but much bigger, and they are generally well specialized and much smaller and they usually have one overqualified guy handling everything in house or they outsource it to a consultant.
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arnold earned 125 total points
ID: 37780344
The answer to your question which the prior experts referenced, what do you see yourself doing in 5 years? Which I believe is a rather general HR interview question.
Are you looking at moving forward from Ccna, to ccnp, ccie and  the various network related option going eventually not voice/unified communications, etc. and possibly managing a department handling all those? As leew pointed out the diversity of your skill set make you more valuable to a smaller company versus a conglomerate. In the smaller firm you can expand on your skill set but possibly at lower rates compared to a conglomerate where your pay might be higher.

The main issue with our skills is that they are not a money generating position for the firm.  Both the networking and the systems administration positions do not shine really, when stuff hits the fan, those positions are blamed but if everything runs smoothly your value is rarely recognized.
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by:ujitnos
ujitnos earned 125 total points
ID: 37780544
Its actually a matter of interest. When you compare this new profile with the old one, which one do you like? Which job role did you enjoy doing? Select the one that you enjoy doing and built on it.

Having said that, a Network Engineer with Server based knowledge can have a better edge over people with just Server knowledge.
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by:Zak
ID: 37809088
I really appreciate the comments each of you has provided. My time for the 5 years in servers was very valuable but I noticed that the network guys used to get more in the work place like travelling to sites or doing integration but server guys did not need to go out of their office and every thing is central. I want to manage a network in the future and be stay on top of it as nothing much will change the networks apart from routine upgrades.

Thank you.
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