Career path in IT

Career Development
I am fresh graduate in field of IT majoring in Data Communications. My seriors told me to select a career path in either in Networking ,Database, Systems or Application Programming. I have selected Networking and prepared for CCNA exam. However, lots of books combine between networking and systems example: Linux Networking. I have interest to learn about Linux and Security. What is your opinions about my seniors advice.can I combine between Systems, Networing and Security in the beginning or later in my career path? What is the career path for fresh graduates and experienced people.

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I think that the answer to your question depends on the size of the organization you work for. My first job was working for a larger entitiy supporting over 1800 users. At this location I was only dedicated towards supporting microsoft servers. In my new position I support about 150 people, but I cover IBM AS400, Microsoft, Cisco, NEtworking, Firewalls, and backup. Smaller organizations tend to have one or two “do it alls” where larger organizations tend to have people who have a focused responsibility. In vermont, where I live, there are very few large organizations to work for.

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  • Tholleman
    Fresh graduate- You can never go wrong going the security path. Myself being a security professional, I can tell you that right now security is one of the hottest career fields, if not the hottest in the IT arena. If you are going to head down the security path, you will need to also develop/have skills in networking as well as your different flavors of operating systems.I would also recommend looking at your certified ethical hacker(CEH certification). I would also look at the CISSP security certifications( tholleman, CISSP
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  • FlyNavy
    Above advise is good. Security is a very interesting and open field right now. A lot of smaller organizations will have you working both operations (whether desktop or network) and security. Not optimal for ensuring security, but is a reality for underfunded IT shops. In a larger shop, most start in the operations section and learn security by working with the security folks on specific tasks and as a part of auditing and monitoring. You then qualify and move into the securtity realm. Any really good operations specialist learns security rapidly so they are part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Linux, windows, mainframe or specific network specialties has more to do with where you work than your interest. If you want to specialize early on a specific technology, you have to find a large shop or a company that uses the technology you want. Most shops are a mix of several of these technologies and others. Fly Navy
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  • HumbleNetAdmin
    136478457 I have to go along with bstuart and thollerman. There is a big difference between large organizations and small ones. At my last position as Network Admin for a small company of about 80 people (had a high profile network), I was solely responsible for the networking, security, networking engineering and systems administration along with end user support and occasionally client support calls. The position I held before that as PC/Network Analyst (AKA assistant Network Admin) I was primarily over end user and hardware support along with assisting in network administration, systems administration, antivirus and backups. In larger entities the case is most often very different were as each position of Network Admin (network connectivity, cabling, hubs switches), systems admins (server, server OS, antivirus, backups) Systems or Network Engineers (connectivity, cabling, hubs, switches, routers, LAN/WAN, T1?s, content filtering) and then security admins. However this may not always be the case. Where I presently work in St Louis for a firm of about 3000 people. They do it another way. They have Network Analyst I, II, & III. And individual may have the III title and be primarily responsible for systems administration, or as is the case of one, responsible for Network Engineering and Security. I liked working best for the smaller organizations because it allowed me to get my hands into more places and gain more experience in a shorter period of time. Though I am a master of none of them I am well rounded. Although there is a price to pay; often the smaller organizations want more for less. Often you will have to where many hats and only get paid a salary that would only cover one, or only do so marginally. For me it was rewarding because I have covered the gamut and learned at least a little in a lot of areas. As far as security admin goes. I have to agree with thollerman. There is an ever-increasing demand for security professionals, and for those that are good, the money is very good. Security certs look to me a rough road however. Not to discourage you, that?s just my take. Good luck to you in your growing career.
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  • Sdswhitehat
    I would agree with most opinions here, I would also look at the GIAC ( Certifications as well. Depending on what you want to specialize all 4 options your seniors recommended can be tied into security some how. Network Security, DB Security, Application Security and System security. Decide how far on the OSI you want to go and any technology that you want to specialize in. I had an instructor that once said "A good security specialist knows alot of key components, but also knows how everything works in the department. Might not know how they work completly or able to do them, but understands how they work." You might try or for information on scripting, programming, and Web Applications since alot of companies are looking at SOA solutions. Also decide if you want to specialize in a core compentacy or if you want a broad range. If your only interested in MS products then worry only about them, take all the security related Certs and system certs you can get. But since you also mentioned Linux, dont be afraid of getting the Red Hat certs as well. For me my current goals for my profession as a Security Specialist lies with the following: Gaining my BS in Info Security Systems, Ms from Sans (havent decided on Management or Engineer Path) Current Certs include (SEC+, SBS2k3, XP, 2k3 Server 70-291) other certs will be: up to MCSE: Security, CWNA, CWNA security one, CCNA for a networking basic, GIAC certs, and CIssp. I would also recommending setting up a test lab if you have the space and money. I currently have mine pieced together with old thrown out patched together systems. But its giving me Wireless, Exchange, SQL, File Server, XP, Red Hat, Fedora, 2000, and my workhorse a solid VM machine. That allows me to test, hack and break. Other suggestions is getting into Hacking groups and websites, read everything you can, subscribe to Security Trade Magizines, Join security groups. Download Helix or Knoppix and look at the free ware tools that you will be up against. Learn scripting that will make your life easier. All in all this is an ever change world, some days we win, some days we break even, most days we are un prepared for the next threat. But thats why we learn and research.
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  • ITMike71
    That really depends on the company. At most large companies they would be separate roles. In a smaller organization they could be combined. I hope that helps.
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  • Sixball
    For networking and Network security, a great path is the CCNA to CCNA-Security / CCNP-Security path...
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