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Educational IT Jobs Thread, Pigeonhole as an school ICT technician in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Hi Guy's! I was have a conversation with an collegaue the other day about moving into the private sector. I ...
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    Pigeonhole as an school ICT technician

    Hi Guy's!

    I was have a conversation with an collegaue the other day about moving into the private sector. I have heard from a few ICT Techs that work in schools (education sector) that you get pigeonholed as an school ICT technician and it is hard to move on or into the private sector. People find it really difficult... How true is this...?

    Cheers

    FatP

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    OverWorked's Avatar
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    There probably is some truth to it. I was looking to move three years ago and registered with a few agencies. One person at an agency just said "Oh... with that you'll probably just end up in another school or a council or something like that".

    I did get put forward to a few businesses, but none of them asked me to interview. The only luck I had was with a local school who already knew me, and a charity.

    After that my situation changed and I decided to stay put.

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    I think the problems arise from the fact that school work is often seen by outsiders as low level IT when in fact that is simply not true.

    I have often had to describe to people what we deal with. Eg. hundreds of logon/logoffs a day, supporting many applications, coping with users that are sometimes out to wreck the system, dealing with everything from putting a toner in to configuring switches, server etc.(often with little or no training/budget) as they have no concept.

    Interestingly we have a high up from Lakeland limited as a governor who deals with all their IT and he will happily admit how well he thinks we do with limited resources/budgets etc manging on a shoestring with few staff.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    It also depends on the school you work for. Some don't see the need to pay for training, whilst others recognize how quickly IT is changing and realize that in order for the school to move forward and embrace fresh developments a well resourced workforce is essential. The position of techies in schools is also rather circumscribed by the fact that most of us are expected to be jack of all trades and in depth specialization such as you may get in the private sector is very rare, unless you are prepared to put in the hours yourself. Conversely, this wide ranging brief is one of the main attractions for working in schools. A big plus point is seeing what you do make a positive contribution to the progress of the pupils and staff within your school.
    A managed service provider (MSP) will say that they can provide the trained specialists to keep IT problems to an absolute minimum, What Edugeek has done is to provide us all with a universal helpdesk covering a much wider brief than any MSP. One of my fears is that the personal touch will be lost. Anyone who has worked in a particular school will know which teachers are comfortable with IT and which need constant monitoring.
    In the end it comes down to you and how much you want to put into it, and which company wins the bid to manage your school.
    jcollings posted while I was writing this and i have to agree with him.

  5. Thanks to beeswax from:

    fatp (9th June 2009)

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    I was wondering this too. I have been looking to move to the private sector. It does seem that most people do tend to see IT tech's in schools as not "real" IT techs, which is very disappointing.

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    apoth0r's Avatar
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    If you have the skills and experience to work in the private sector then peoples opinions shouldn't matter. You have to make them understand your role and what security measures you have to put in place to control students (and teachers) etc etc
    If you go in with a negative attitude that is all you will portray, working in a secondary school is like a medium sized business, if you keep that in mind during writing C.V's / interviews then you will be laughing. It's down to us to change the image of school techs!

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    I wouldn't really agree. A lot of large companies will grab up ex-school IT staff wherever they can. While there's probably some discrimination against them, there are also companies who recognise the breadth of experience and knowledge you have to pick up in a school and who appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apoth0r View Post
    If you go in with a negative attitude that is all you will portray, working in a secondary school is like a medium sized business, if you keep that in mind during writing C.V's / interviews then you will be laughing. It's down to us to change the image of school techs!
    I think that the way you present your self is key to getting out of the education sector. my role is quite diverse in that I work in schools that while may be small have complex IT needs that need to be managed and prevent the user from breaking the system.

    if youve go the skills and can write an effective CV or complete the App form in an effective way and know how to word it then this sould be able to open up doors

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    dalsoth's Avatar
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    I believe that as long as you are good enough and can impress with your application form and then the interview, you will be given the respect due.

    Like said previously, if you have the wrong approach you will not go far. Any company would be improved by appointing me. If i did not believe that i would pack it all in now.

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    Last year I moved to the private sector - and my employers have loved the fact I've a different take on most things.

    Empress upon people your security expertise and ability to lock down PC's - one thing I mention when asked about working in a school is that its the only place where you've a thousand users actively trying to break your network

    So, as long as you're passionate and know your stuff, it can actually work to your advantage

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    fatp (9th June 2009)

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    It also depends on how you sell yourself and how you structure your job.

    You are not an IT technician ... you are a computer services engineer or a helpdesk leader or a 2nd line engineer with specialisms in Exchange, Active Directory, Storage, etc ...

    You are not a Network Manager ... you are also an expert in service management having worked with both internal groups on budget management and external suppliers (cablers, service providers such as Capita with respect to SIMS) to ensure delivery of mission critical, multi-user systems based on frequently changing hot-desk users in a media and internet challenging environment.

  14. 3 Thanks to GrumbleDook:

    fatp (9th June 2009), john (10th June 2009), OverWorked (10th June 2009)

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    Cheers for all the replies guys, especially grumbledook.

    So where can you go after being a school ICT technician then... or more simply, where have people gone after their desktop support experience in a school?

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    You move to a place where you can get more money, better prospects etc Common use your common sense. No offense fatp (i am not sure if your on certforums as well) but you do seem to ask allot of obvious and stupid questions.

    As others have said I can see it being an issue 'pigeonholed'. Some older members of my family and friends some who are/have been in senior positions as consultants and in highly paid jobs seem to think its a bit of a joke to work in a school. Ok perhaps it is when allot of techs are earning buger all.

    End of the day there are like 1200 odd users on our network and one can get involved in any number of things in a school. Thats allot of devices we have as a result, similar size I imagine to a decent sized probably large business. You just have to sell yourself in a good way - its not difficult.
    Last edited by Jiser; 9th June 2009 at 08:15 PM.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    I moved from Hastings into London, now in a worldwide team of 10, london team of 4, looking after 12 sites with various datacentres all over the place.

    The companys a software firm - doing financial middletier and back end stuff.

    Basically I've more toys and much more responsibility :-)

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    I found it very difficult getting out of the school due to the attitude of all of the recruiters I came across and ended up taking a paycut and going into data recovery, after a year of doing that I had more success getting another job. Although people still won't believe how many machines I was supporting and just assume schools haven't changed in 10years and still have a max of 30 machines for the whole school.

    I do wonder how i would have faired if I didn't say school and just said that I wouldn't state my current employer's name for job security reasons.

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