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Educational IT Jobs Thread, which is more demanding in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Education market or corporate market? Reason I ask is one of the jobs I have applied for said the education ...
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    nephilim's Avatar
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    which is more demanding

    Education market or corporate market? Reason I ask is one of the jobs I have applied for said the education market is not anywhere near as demanding as. He corporate market for IT, and I want to show that its just as demanding if not more so.

    Any help and advice appreciated.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    It used to be that way, but with the massive amount of IT in education now, the 2 are comparable IMO. Sure, there are different demands but basically you'll be as stressed in either...

    The only way I can see that IT in business is more demanding is that if a critical IT system goes down in a business, that business might simply not be making money, compared to if a critical IT system in education goes down, teachers can do something else. Losing money in a business usually ends up one way - with the sack, failing IT systems in a school don't usually end that way.

    Not to mention, in a school most places will not expect you to work overnight to fix something should it go down, whereas a lot of businesses will.
    Last edited by localzuk; 3rd August 2011 at 09:37 AM.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    You are supporting 900+ largely untrained users +the infrastructure almost single handidly would do it I suppose.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    See I explained that to the recruiting officer at said company and they said "it just doesn't compare"....infuriated is not the word....this is whilst on holiday too!!!

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    Butters's Avatar
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    The biggest difference is the budgets and the backing from SMT.

    In the private sector you 'generally' have more money to play with and don't usually have to spend a summer putting more RAM into machines just to keep them ticking over and blowing your budget doing so.

    I can't think of many private sector places that will have 5 year + machines still in use, in education I can.

    IT in education usually results in getting the best bang for buck and frugality surely is a great skill in the current climate.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    My reply thus far....

    Whilst some may not consider a school a "large business", My school has operated over 300 desktops, laptops and netbooks, has multiple servers (some virtualised, some physical) - this alone is more than some warehouses and businesses I have seen which are "large businesses" and I have been solely responsible for the strategy of IT (from testing of products to implementation and redesign of new IT suites) for the past 3 years. Also as the network manager, I was (unofficially) a member of the senior leadership group and did many presentations to the board of governors. Agreed it is not business sector, however the education is just as demanding according to many people whom I know have been in both business and education.

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    You probably should have asked him why he thought they dont compare. When he gave you his reasons you could have counter argued it. The problem with people just saying "they dont compare" is largely down to the fact they dont understand what you do. He probably thinks that you dont have the same demands placed on you as you would in corporate sector because he has made assumptions that education requires less skills/Knowledge. In my experience most demands come from users who have unrealisted expectations which are the same no matter where you work.

    Was this someone in a recruiting agency or with a company? Perhaps you could ask to speak to someone else as they are obisouly not able to do their job if they cannot clarify what they mean when they say "it doesn't compare"

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Someone at the company who worked in education 15 years ago (his words). I also mentioned that the demands are more so in education as we have tighter budgets, more security requirements (to prevent data loss or students details getting out), as well as a variety of software to support and implement.

    I am hoping my arguing gets me somewhere.

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    having just come into education from corporate, i can say the two are very different, but the end result is that the challenges are still comparable.

    In education, the general pace tends to be slower in as much as a lot of the time as long as something gets done today or tomorrow thats fine whereas in the corporate world if didn't happen 10 minutes ago it's too late.

    But at the same time unless you going into a large multinational, the quantity of infrastructure presents its own challenge, if someone accidentally makes a packet storm in a 900 workstation college there are still repurcussions 10s of hours later.

    then there are the users, essentially in educational IT you are trying to proof a network against invasion by monkeys who will rip things apart and graffitti on screens. you don't get that in the business world, because people get fired!

    I could go on, but i think next time you speak to a recruitment officer you need to 'have a word' and make them see the error of their statement before they dismiss you as being not up for the challenge.

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    In my own experience (three schools, three companies) the demands are different. At schools the demands are from users who want to be able to do something new and shiny. At the companies I've worked in the demands are generally from either clients, or business units, who see opportunities to make or save money. It does mean that in the private sector if a system goes down you are actively losing money. I work for an SMB, and we've calculated that an hour of downtime costs us just shy of £3000 if it's a business critical system, with some of the external client's systems that goes up by a factor of ten (financial penalties).

    Budgetting-wise I think you'd be surprised at how little infrastructure can get. Generally IT is seen as a cost centre in a company, rather than as an integral part of making money. In a school there is no profit to be made, so it's just about apportioning the cost out. In a company every pound spent on IT is a pound more profit that has to be made in order to break even. Every purchase has to be carefully justified, with cost/benefit analysis. You're also more likely to work with the latest technology in a school than a private company, because the company will be much, much more risk-averse. If the school network goes down you've just not got a network for a little while - if a company network goes down you are losing money (not just profits - if people can't work without the network, which many can't in a corporate environment, then their salary is essentially going down the drain).

    Every private company I've worked for has had a couple of beige boxes lying around like a dirty secret, running legacy software that's too much risk to upgrade and holding back everything else on the network.

    I don't think there's actually a huge difference in the demands, other than the private sector being business-led rather than user-led (if you're lucky). Personally I couldn't be persuaded to go back into the education sector, regardless of the potential rewards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Someone at the company who worked in education 15 years ago (his words).
    There's the issue! I first worked in education IT 10-11 years ago, (before going to business and then back to education) things don't even compare now, back then I was not much more than a toner drone, and whilst this is generalising a lot I think that was the case for a lot of schools, now you need a very broad range of in depth skills - technical and personal!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe90bass View Post
    There's the issue! I first worked in education IT 10-11 years ago, (before going to business and then back to education) things don't even compare now, back then I was not much more than a toner drone, and whilst this is generalising a lot I think that was the case for a lot of schools, now you need a very broad range of in depth skills - technical and personal!
    Indeed, 15 years ago the technician at my school carried around a paperclip as his main tool of the job - to eject floppy disks and to clean the gunk from inside mice. Bit of a difference now!

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    Quackers's Avatar
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    A few of my close friends work for IT in the non educational world. One thing i have noticed is where i have to manager AD, Exchange, SQL, SIMS, Printers, Switches, Servers, VoIP, Wireless and on and on, in the buisness world they will have each of these tasks assigned to a person or team.

    So does that make those in charge of Education networks/systems 'Jack of all trades, master of non' ? or just make our roles a lot more demanding.

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    I think schools probably support more applications than many private sector organisations. This can be a challenge to integrate, someone mentioned earlier the general hostility from end users (students mainly) towards equipment; I would argue that IT equiment has a tougher & therefore shorter life in schools than in the private sector too.

    IT Investment decisions in industry tend to be based upon business need & justification which normally has to be fully costed; there is much less chance that a private sector company will 'on a whim' go out & purchase equipment & then expect their IT department to make it work..... something that happens all too frequently in schools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    A few of my close friends work for IT in the non educational world. One thing i have noticed is where i have to manager AD, Exchange, SQL, SIMS, Printers, Switches, Servers, VoIP, Wireless and on and on, in the buisness world they will have each of these tasks assigned to a person or team.

    So does that make those in charge of Education networks/systems 'Jack of all trades, master of non' ? or just make our roles a lot more demanding.
    That depends on the company - in large enterprises you'll have roles assigned to different people, but each of those roles will be much larger than in a school or SMB. For example, an Exchange administrator will likely be in charge of a dozen or more Exchange servers, spread across multiple sites, with some crossover to AD administration and SQL. In an SMB you'll usually find that infrastructure as a whole is assigned to a smaller team who are responsible across the board. My own team covers all internal infrastructure (Windows and Linux) and all client infrastructure which we host or provide support for.

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