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General Chat Thread, Do you ever worry... in General; ...about being off the pace with technologies that get used in larger organisations but you can't use due to the ...
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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Do you ever worry...

    ...about being off the pace with technologies that get used in larger organisations but you can't use due to the size of the place you work?

    Our network(s) are both what I guess would be classed as small, one site etc so stuff like VLANs, secondary AD sites, routing and so on just don't apply and it does worry me a bit in the future if I don't know this stuff... anyone get the same feeling?

    The other one at the moment is VMWare but that's more down to the fact we got our servers a year or two before virtualisation went big and being on a 5year replacement cycle means I have to wait a bit before we jump on the bandwagon. That's a bit easier to keep up to speed with though

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    Given that there are large organisations still running Windows 2000 domains, or DOS, I wouldn't worry too much. There's enough of a range out there that everyone can find a niche.

    Many don't use VLANs, or virtualization for the majority of staff anyway, so even in a very large organisation you might never see some of this stuff, unless you've been hired specifically to support it.

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    superfletch's Avatar
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    I worry about this sort of thing. I have a lot of day to day experience in particular fields such as AD U&C, AD GPMC, Hardware troubleshooting, SIMS and quite a few others but some of the really interesting and cool stuff I don't get to touch - it can't be good for the job prospects.

    VOIP, Thin Client, Virtualisation (on a proper scale), the list could go on a long time.

    Yes - it worries me.

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    @gshaw:

    At the moment new technology is just that new, yes it would be great to have it up and running in your environment but if you are meeting and slightly exceeding what your business needs are then I would not worry in the least as I would rather be slightly behind in technology but 99.9% certain that the technology I have works.

    All too often you will see large companies as well as small move forward into the latest technological maelstrom only to find that they have masses of hardware that is not fully supported and so have to resort to development teams to get up and running.
    This only causes frustration to the end users who are after all your bread and butter, so it is all about keeping the customer happy at the end of the day and not about the latest technology.

    Short of it is I wouldn't worry one bit.

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    I don't worry; there will always be some new emerging technology somewhere, sometime that I know nothing about. My approach is simple; if we need it, we will either skill-up ourselves to handle it or buy in the necessary support. In a school, that generally means we teach ourselves

    In any case, many large commercial organisations buy-in skills for the bleeding-edge technologies anyway, which is why there are so many suppliers out there who provide billable services to support their products.

    I worked for a Global Services organisation providing specialist consultancy & technical support before I retired & became a school network manager. We made a serious amount of money selling product technical support, in fact far more than we made selling 'tin'.

    I think you need to be aware of emerging technologies so that you can understand where the ICT industry is heading, but you cannot be expected to be an expert in everything. In my previous job, we were expected to be able to discuss almost any sector of our business & product family with a client over a cup of coffee.... if the client was interested, we then wheeled in the specialist in that product area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    ...about being off the pace with technologies that get used in larger organisations but you can't use due to the size of the place you work?

    Our network(s) are both what I guess would be classed as small, one site etc so stuff like VLANs, secondary AD sites, routing and so on just don't apply and it does worry me a bit in the future if I don't know this stuff... anyone get the same feeling?
    I get that feeling sometimes. Others replies are correct about the problems associated with new technology. But there is something to be said for organizations that recognise the value of IT and the investment needed to provide a robust system.

    I would love to have a proper SAN and virtual servers to be able to provide something truly redundant, and fast. However the kind of money needed to do that, just can't be justified. I think education is disconnected from the real world in many ways, and to expect it to keep pace with the private sector is unrealistic.

    I just try to keep up with other technology outside of the job, and have several friends in the private sector who keep me updated with all the wonderful new kit that they are playing with, so I can learn about whats out in the field.

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    I don't think you need to worry about not having exposure to the latest technologies on a daily basis. A key thing that any good employer would be looking for is the ability to learn new stuff. They might employ you today because they need (say) VMWare skills but this time next year there'll be a whole raft of new stuff to deal with and if you're sitting there saying "but I know all this good stuff about VMWare" but you're not able to learn the new stuff quickly then you're no use!

    If you can go to an interview and say "I was presented with technology X which was new to me and I was able to learn it and make it work for my work place" then that looks good - doesn't really matter if the technology is actually common place; what you're showing is that you're flexible and can move forward.

    I don't always think it's true to say education is disconnected from the real world and can't keep pace with the private sector. There are plenty of private companies (particularly smaller ones) who have no kind of replacement cycle, use shared desktops instead of servers and are running a weird old mix of software (some of which might be licensed!)

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post

    If you can go to an interview and say "I was presented with technology X which was new to me and I was able to learn it and make it work for my work place" then that looks good - doesn't really matter if the technology is actually common place; what you're showing is that you're flexible and can move forward.
    Actually that's what I've done in all the interviews I had so far... worked pretty well so must be doing something right

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    Maybe the original poster meant for future prospects outside the Educational environment. It's ok to say we will skill up if we need it, but what happens when the papers and jobsites that advertise network admin jobs require voip virtualisation, vlan knowledge etc on a larger scale and you just do not get to touch that stuff at work.

    You may get stuck in your job never to progress without a lot of personal time spent building servers at home when you could be spending time with family and enjoying time away from work.

    The talk on these forums sometimes frightens me. I think "damn, are they all using ESX or VMware servers and 2008R2??" and theres me on lonely 2003 with no plans to upgrade for a good while!!

    Personally i find many jobs require in depth knowledge of firewalls and other things i really don't play with much at work. This is one of the reasons i have been banging on with the MCSE after years of not bothering and made myself do the boring ITIL at the start of the year.

    I am sure i could go into another school and it would be a doddle. Have worked in a few. Many industry jobs though have a more frightening look to them with expectations. Certainly when they require MCSE/CCNA for silly helpdesk roles quoted at 15k a year. What chance getting something mid 20k upwards then outside school? Good jobs seem rare.

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    Although us school technicians, particularly us lone primary staff, may be behind the cutting edge technology that we think is taking place around us, we've had to develop our skills on a very steep learning curve and have to manage the whole shebang ourselves. We have to make decisions based on our own knowledge and in most cases have no chance of discussion with anyone else remotely technical before major decisions are made. Yes I know edugeek (thanks!) is here for us but our own schools are unique and what works in one school won't in another.

    So... whilst I'm not up to speed on latest stuff, I'm pretty sure that I could pick it up and hopefully demonstrate that what I don't know I can find out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Although us school technicians, particularly us lone primary staff, may be behind the cutting edge technology that we think is taking place around us, we've had to develop our skills on a very steep learning curve and have to manage the whole shebang ourselves. We have to make decisions based on our own knowledge and in most cases have no chance of discussion with anyone else remotely technical before major decisions are made. Yes I know edugeek (thanks!) is here for us but our own schools are unique and what works in one school won't in another.

    So... whilst I'm not up to speed on latest stuff, I'm pretty sure that I could pick it up and hopefully demonstrate that what I don't know I can find out!
    That's why some of us moved away from primaries so we can always offer advice to primaries on what they could/should be using. Never hesitate to gimme a call if you need some advice, more then happy to help!

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    CAM
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    I always worry about being left behind. Especially after being moved from a role supporting the whole school to specialising in supporting and using SIMS. But asking someone at the conference this year (was that MVP speaker, can't remember his name) he said to get a book and read about it. Then start a blog and write about what you learned in the book. You can show employers what you know about the technology by pointing them to the blog and give you the confidence to say you know about the technology (though nothing beats experience of course!). Just be careful what else is on the blog!

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