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General Chat Thread, Industry VS Educational IT in General; I know a lot of you here have previously worked for long stretches in IT in industry as opposed to ...
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    Industry VS Educational IT

    I know a lot of you here have previously worked for long stretches in IT in industry as opposed to ICT in education. As I have only just started my career in IT (and I suspect education was a very good place to start off) I was curious about the differences between the two. In the distant future, industry (known as the real world here I think? ) is obviously something I'll be looking into.

    From what I have read in post snippets scattered around the forum, I have picked up the following so far:

    IT in industry is:

    - Much more stressful
    - Being on call and phone calls at home is a regular thing
    - Split up into many jobs. There isn't just a 4/5/6 man IT Team doing everything. Each person has a set job i.e. website designer, software administrator etc.
    - Budget is obviously a -lot- bigger and current IT equipment wasn't purchased 10 years ago
    - Much better paid then education

    Am I correct in saying that? Can anyone add anything else? This question is just out of curiosity really, but I think any info may help for decisions I make in the future.

    Thanks

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    nope thats only large businesses.

    My friend works for a small web dev firm, he's the only non-developer IT bod who does all of the server work and desktop support etc etc. They've only just moved from an NT4 server to a 2003 server, all the computers are ~3-8 years old depending on what the person does, and they don't have any legal MS licences (except the server) and he can't do anything about it apart from quit as the bosses don't care and don't think there is any problem with it. Oh and he's paid £19k.

    *All names removed to protect the innocent and incompetant*

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    IT in industry is:

    - Much more stressful
    - Being on call and phone calls at home is a regular thing
    - Split up into many jobs. There isn't just a 4/5/6 man IT Team doing everything. Each person has a set job i.e. website designer, software administrator etc.
    - Budget is obviously a -lot- bigger and current IT equipment wasn't purchased 10 years ago
    - Much better paid then education

    Am I correct in saying that? Can anyone add anything else? This question is just out of curiosity really, but I think any info may help for decisions I make in the future.
    Had 15 years in industry - thought I would pick on your comments one at a time:

    - Much more stressful
    Depends on who you work for I suppose. I was ok and in fact the company I worked for was very good giving me 3 /4 months off on FULL pay to spend time with my oldest son whilst having various operations at GOSH. I was told only to come back when he was well and I was ready. Not many companies would do that.

    - Being on call and phone calls at home is a regular thing
    Once every few weeks for me - the money was great, only problem I had was having to be around just in case over the weekend. Once I took a gamble, took the kids to Lego land - just about to get on Fairy Tail Brook and the phone went off..... It was not an over the phone fix, I left the wife and kids at Lego land - hacked off down the M4 to work hoping a quick re-boot would do the trick. It didn't.....Had to ring my mate to ask him to pick my wife and kids up at Lego land....Hmmm I was not popular... :-)

    - Split up into many jobs. There isn't just a 4/5/6 man IT Team doing everything. Each person has a set job i.e. website designer, software administrator etc.
    Again depends on where you work - our department was sort of split as many of us had various special skills. I was a server specialist, building various servers for citrix, web and other back end data stuff. I also had loads of OS/2 & LAN Server knowledge so spent lots of time dealing with those. I wanted to get into AIX and some more network based stuff but it never happened so you did concentrate on one thing. At least working in a school you have to know everything - [ or try and know !! ]

    - Budget is obviously a -lot- bigger and current IT equipment wasn't purchased 10 years ago
    Indeed - silly budgets sometimes. I have to disagree with the IT equipment though - some of our stuff belonged in a museum. We still had coax stuff and 3270 controllers !!

    - Much better paid then education
    OK it was and how the company did was a factor, plus we all had large projects to complete and roll out. I have taken a HUGE pay cut to do what I am doing now - [ did not have much choice after the company was taken over ] but now I get my hand in all the pies and the work is more beneficial to children and not share holders. Plus its only a 30 mile round trip every day on my bike - my last job was even closer - 2 miles away. In order to get back on the money I was on would mean having to work in the city which was something I was not prepared to do.

    I am lucky to having worked in both environments - ok the numbers [ lack of in regards to users ] still get me banging my head as a script I say knock up to do something takes seconds to run instead of say a few hours.
    My main gripe is telling teachers the same thing over and over again, and getting badly written educational apps working how I want for our network.

    Working in a school is much more satisfying though in the long run.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    I previously worked for the Local Authority IT Dept....


    - Much more stressful


    Yes and no. School is stressful in that you have too much responsibilty/ management through ignorance don't attach sufficient weight to IT. At the LA the job was pressured, but you could more easily leave it at the door (in my opinion)


    - Being on call and phone calls at home is a regular thing


    No. Extremely rare for anyone to call you outside work hours at the LA, perhaps due to them more strictly following regulations. At school I get called any time. Bank Holidays included, and I'm expected to respond with no allowance for pay, overtime or whatever.


    - Split up into many jobs. There isn't just a 4/5/6 man IT Team doing everything. Each person has a set job i.e. website designer, software administrator etc.

    Yes. Wherever you have more than one person you're going to specialise. At the LA support was split into desktop, network (including servers), database and programming - roughly.


    - Budget is obviously a -lot- bigger and current IT equipment wasn't purchased 10 years ago

    Definately not true. LAs are typically years behind - everyone is always shocked. Even if they don't have a bad replacement cycle, hardware is hardware after all, software and O/S changes are extreeeeemly slow!



    - Much better paid then education


    With the LA, they say they lag seriously behind industry. The local schools here tho' are way behind LA IT Staff. Whereas a basic, unqualified person in desktop support can command a salary starting at £14.5k rising to £19, Schools staff are paid £11k to £13k with no upward mobility.

    We're about to go through job evaluation, so hopefully we'll see a more level playing feild tho' i'm not that optomistic.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    I used to work in industry for 7 years. I started at the bottom of the ladder, building computers to start with, then I moved onto installing windows and boxing them up for shipping out.

    After that I managed to get into the repairs department firstly repairing copmuters in house and then going out on call all accross the country to fix them.

    I can agree that industry was more stressful as driving for 5 hours a day 5 days a week started to give me a headache. As for the budget i don't know what it was but the sales staff always had top of the range laptops and computers.

    Looking at salary, in my experience, it wasn't as good. I started out 18 on £6K a year, after 1 year I moved on to £8K. when i moved into repairs i went onto £9K and after doing 2 MCP exams in NT4 and doing my MCSA in windows 2000 I moved to £12,500 and at that point I decided to leave and go in to education. I started on £15K and have managed to go up with promotion to network manager. Education has been better to me than industry, but maybe it was just who I worked for.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    Ive not worked in industry so I cant answer all, but from visits and work experiance etc, Id say they dont nessearily have bigger budgets. Depends how much they care about IT. When I worked at Vodafone for example everything was bang up to date as you would expect. But smaller companies run on crap hardware a lot of the time.
    Whereas my school has a huge budget, take IT seriously, and nothing is over 4 years old (well hardly anything)

    I dont thinkl working in industry would be that bad unless it was a for a huge huge company. I dont think I'd like to be just a tiny part of IT - eg not being allowed to make changes without getting permission from above, or only being delegated certain things - dont want to sound snobbish or anything but that would be a step down for me personally

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    Just spent ages writing a long winded reply and then had some kind of cookie error;

    ERROR
    Please enable cookies to post on this site. If you feel that you have reached this message in error please refresh the preceding page once and post again

    But ultimately, worked in industry for 8 years. KPMG (data centre), Jaguar (HPC/VR), Jim Henson (render nodes and clusters) etc etc. All reasonably stressful but nothing compared to being self employed and having 3 lads work for you. That is a whole new level of stress!!!!

    Current role in the school is severley overpaid, I get 3 meals a day and rent a school owned cottage at a stupid price. Feet arse and landed come to mind!

    But this is just a 'cool down' after 8 years hard slog. I think HPC and storage is the future and its what I enjoy and am reasonably 'OK' at

    So, it all depends not just on the role/company - but what kind of person you are too. I personally prefer working under pressure.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    eg not being allowed to make changes without getting permission from above, or only being delegated certain things - dont want to sound snobbish or anything but that would be a step down for me personally
    There are reasons for a change management process - specially in large companies.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    I was part of a two man team for the UK arm of a $24bn (yes that is a b) american corporation looking after seven sites in the UK.

    The money was OK but less than I am on now and the stress was fairly low - just the sales reps who think that a missing email at 11 o'clock at night is life and death.

    The budget for equipment was much lower than I am spending now - and everything had to be justified, there was no automatic budget for anything - every penny counts, particularly in a small business where it effectively comes out of the boss's pocket, or at the other extreme where Directors and investors want to know where every penny is spent.

    The pay was not as well structured either - I know we are all on different scales, but we are all on scales that have a mapped out progression - in industry this is rare, unless you are one of a hundred people doing the same job. Pay rises never come just because it is a new financial year, you generally have to fight for them.

    There is money to be made in industry - but only at the very top of very big organisations or in absolute niche's like Oracle developers where they pay you a lot because they have to invest in your training and need to keep hold of their investment - and that just means you end up trapped unless you are prepared to take a pay cut to move on - and companies will rarely employ someone willing to take a pay cut.

    Personally, I can only see IT in education growing more and more, with IT Staff being called on more and more to get involved in supporting the teaching and learning directly by initiating the process flows rather than just providing the tools that are the systems. Riding this wave is the way to have the best of both worlds.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    I spent 7 years with the same (American) company after bombing out of college at 17. I worked for them first in Wembley, then up to Aberdeen for a few years, that back down to London, where I worked in their flagship sales office in Mayfair.

    I spent time as a desktop support guy (which is probably just about as stressful and technical as a technician job in a school), then an email administrator (back in the days when my modem used to phone the States 4 times a day to transfer all the email back and forth), then running the internal support department (easiest job of my life), and finally as a Mr Fix-it in Mayfair.

    One big thing about the corporate world is the perks. You'll be lucky to get huge bonuses, share options, non-contributary pensions or private health care working for a school (not that these are assumed in a 'real world' job). On the flip side, I wouldn't even get Christmas Day off unless I took it out of my holiday allowance...

    To be honest I think I got lucky with the various roles and bosses I had, in that I was never particularly under too much pressure, but I basically ended up bored. Yeah, the expense account, the corporate Amex card, the being taken out for dinner/drinks by clients, the trips around the UK/Europe, etc. were great, but I basically wasn't doing anything for a living. And then there's the back-stabbing, in-fighting, and corporate ladder-climbers that just drove me bonkers...

    Add all this to a commute on the world's oldest underground mass-transit system and it was pretty easy to turn my back on it all.

    The education thing was an accident, but this is the second school I've worked at now, and it's far easier, not so badly paid (once I take off the thousands that travel used to cost) and I get the time back that a commute used to rob me of. It's still only a means to pay the bills, but I'd rather be here than the corporate world, any day.

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    Re: Industry VS Educational IT

    Thanks for all the comments. They are much appreciated

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