What is the future of my career?

Tags:
CCNP
CCSP
IT career
MCSE CCNA
MCTS
I've been in the IT industry for 8 years (2003-2011). I've been MCSE/MCSA certified in windows 2000 and 2003 since 2003. In 2005, 2006, 2007, i got CCNA, CCNP, and CCSP certified respectively. In 2008, i got MCTS in windows server 2008. After all these mix of IT certifications, i can say that the IT industry was a big waste of my time. I never utilized more than 7% of the knowledge i gained from these certifications. All the jobs i had were very basic in tasks such as user/machine account creation and administration, GPO creation and administration, maximum two domain controllers administration, VLAN creation, ACL creation, and other few basic admin tasks. It is like i was stuck with a help desk level job and nothing more. I've had very bad luck landing a job in an enterprise company. All these jobs were in small companies. Now, whenever i apply for jobs in enterprise companies, they said that my experience isn't enough. I told them that i am old in this industry and have a good knowledge and i can learn complex scenarios. They always say that we need someone with strong MS knowledge. Other Cisco partners said the same and won't hire me. As a result, i am out of work since 2011 and can't find a job. If i wasn't out of work, i would have 12 years experience not 8. I've been studying the same thing over and over in my unemployment time without putting this knowledge in a good use. I got bored from studying active directory, exchange, sccm, ip routing, and lan swithcing over and over. In my opinion, committing technical knowledge in your brain without putting it in practical use is a CURSE. What makes it worse, the dynamic nature of this industry doesn't agree with unemployment. Keeping up with the latest techs is difficult. How can you keep up with latest techs if you couldn't even practice and work in old techs? I thought about switching to web development career so it will give me more self-employment freedom. Developers have the free will to work as freelancers at anytime and don't get stuck with some idiotic company that never gives you the experience you need. Also, web development doesn't need all these bells and whistles of getting equipments such as routers, switches, firewalls, strong server, bla bla bla. All you need is your laptop, good programming editor, and a browser. I don't know what to do really. I am now 36 and not sure if switching to development is the right thing to do. Please help. Thanks
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By switching development you would put all of your knowledge and experience to waste. Also as you are 36 you will have had to studied the other development. Because you can’t just say “I’m going to play the guitar.” when you have never play the guitar before. So if you do decide to change development then you have to follow what you are good at. As I am not you I can’t tell you what to do. You have to decide. From my knowledge I know that Bushy Meads is looking for an it teacher. Why not try that? It not keep going with what you decide. Reamember it is not your abilities that make you who you are it’s you choices.

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  • ToddN2000
    I feel for your dilemma. I have had similar issues. You get a job with a company that only uses a small portion of your skill set. Work for them for years and you never get to improve your skill set. Then try and find another position and you experience is not strong enough.

    My suggestion is to take steps to keeps your skill set up whenever possible. Ask you employer for more responsibility to keeps the skills up or see if they offer educational training.

    Lastly is to do what you are happy with. I spent almost 30 years coding in RPG. You get into a company and a lot of the time it's maintain existing code. Not much chance to expand your skills with the new features of the code because it is not used in your work environment. Then at 50 years of age I mad the change to the .NET / SQL side of development in 2012. I ax exposed to a lot of new opportunities and am happier now.

    Don't give up.
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  • JCD4444

    I have had the fortune to work continuously for the past 13 years, so I don't suffer from that particular problem, but with that said I do think I can provide some insight. Different geographic areas seem to want different sets of technology. Where I live, we have perhaps 30% .NET shops with the rest in various flavors of open source.  Having Microsoft knowledge is not a particularly great asset here.  One possible option would be looking for jobs in other areas if that make sense in your life.

    As for moving into development, I work in the a specialized role of developing testing framework and tool for my company.  Write code can be fun, but as a 'pure' developer some people find it monotonous.  On the other hand, if you hate having to do all the physical work of operations, often times operations skills apply well to testing.  Learning development all at once is a significant, difficult task.  If you are more motivated to get a job rather than study, I would suggest you consider trying out testing.  You might find you like it.  If you don't, then use it as a way of getting your foot in the door.

    Finally, the last thing is the idea of working freelance. I don't know where you live, but if you are in a 'western country' (US, UK, France, Germany, etc.) it can be hard to compete with some of the Asian countries that don't need nearly as much money to survive. The best way of working freelance from what I can tell is to work in your local area.  If that makes sense, or if you are in an Asian country where the economics work out in your favor, it might be worth a try.

    Best of luck!

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  • bhannah
    As one of the older professionals, I feel your pain. I had a good paying highly challenging position at a financial institution until a hostile takeover finished that position. I started out as desktop support there and did development work there to. I became the network admin there until the hostile takeover. Now, no one will hire me because of my age. That is not what they will tell you though. What they will tell you is that your skill set is not good enough, when it is. What a lot of companies are terrified of is you, and your skill set. HR will tell you that they found someone better even though they did not because they do not want to pay for your skill set and your experience. The lower end IT Managers are terrified of your skill set because you probably could do their job equally as well as they do it, because you probably have done it, so they don't want you.

    Those are the two main scenarios that I see with you, because both of them are happening to me, plus the added one of age discrimination, which no one wants to talk about even though company after company in my area is doing it.

    The only thing that I will say, is keep you skill set as up to date as you can afford, and keep looking. Eventually you will find some one that wants you for you.
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