I've been thinking about the future today, and what I should be doing in order to progress in IT.
Working as network managers in schools, we are basically a jack of all trades. Some of us get management responsibilities, some don't. But realistically there are a set of commonalities to all our jobs - we manage networks, servers, design infrastructure, plan for the future, etc...
Now, my thought is this - what can we move on to after this job? I'm not personally looking *right now* but its always good to plan for the future.
Jobs in industry have different names, different titles, different responsibilities etc...
So, where should I (and anyone else interested in progressing) be looking? Going from one school to another is great but its not *really* progression in my mind.
I know some of the members of EG have moved on to industry jobs, so what titles do those jobs carry? How do they differ? What is needed to get into those jobs?
When i worked for a short time at a bank, they loved the fact i was a jack of trades. I was involved in a project that involved lots of technologies coming to together. Project management positions are a good way to go with an all round knowledge.
It struck me today that the jack-of-all-trades experience you get as a school's IT Technician / Network Manager / whatever would be good preparation for a research degree. I remember doing my masters and not really having the practical experience to join any of the theory I'd learnt into a coherant whole that I could use to actually get stuff done. There's also the real-world practice aspect - in a school you don't just stick to your narrow field of practice ("programming", "electrical egineering" or whatever), waiting for other people to sort out practical issues, if you need something done you go and find a saw or a power drill or whatever tool you need and figure it out. It would have been great to turn up to do a PhD after a year or two in a school IT environment, being used to not dithering around and just fixing stuff as issues come up.
Originally Posted by localzuk
For progression on from a school IT job, the obvious route to me seems like setting up on your own as a freelance / consultant / business owner. Freelance and consultancy strikes me as tricky to do right (although, obviously, plenty of bad IT consultants seem not to starve to death every year), so I'd rather be running something producing an actual product or service.
I moved recently from Education to Industry, its a whole different ball game IMO. My job now is very different, its more technical, more demanding, more pressure (Ok, lets say I needed to reboot a server in education, yeah ok, people would be annoyed but cope, in industry, its a NO NO!) You have to get times in between people not being at work, and when its not doing its backups, a small window...
I have to think more in terms of we need 100% uptime, how can we do this?...we have so many redundancies its untrue. I've learnt so much and still learning! Its not so much anymore of "Oh, my projector isn't working..." more to "How do we get this DFS folder to replicate up to our branch office" (rubbish example but you get what I mean)
Well worth moving to industry, better pay...a lot more responsibility.
I've been pondering the same about data management roles, not really much in the way of obvious progression in or out of the education sector down that route either. A lot of the stuff we use such as SIMS Reporting is nowhere near "industry" equivalents like writing SQL statements or designing a whole database.
After the best part of 30 years in IT I am in the process of evolving my career. My interests are changing and I am not getting the pleaseure I once did from the nitty gritty.
I am passionate about the eSafety, a relatively new interest that has grown in the last 5 years, and will continue with that, but I am heading into a different role now at school. At present, I am acting into assistant bursar and would like to grow this role. The IT is beoming more incidental.
I was thinking at exact same thing yesterday! maybe with the holidays here we have to much time to think.
For me I want to go into something like service delivery, service desk manager of a large company ect or project management. I have choosen this year not to go on the same old MS courses and start doing my ITIL, Prince ect.
What I found with people moving into industry they need to take a pay cut to then move back up the ladder to huge pay differances. Something I cant or am not willing to do!
I've had similar thoughts in the past. This is my second professional job after graduation and I'm at the top of my career ladder as far as school IT support goes :(
There is potential to move into the central IT management of an academy chain, but that's not for everyone. I interviewed for one such position and decided that I didn't like the sound of it (in brief: lots of responsibility and blame, no power to do anything about anything).
For better or for worse, my answer to the resulting conundrum of "what would I like to do then?" was "author". This is probably not a sensible decision.
One thing I'd say is consider the type of organisation you'd like to work in - that will have some influence on what types of jobs are available. Having come from a huge corporate behemoth, ignoring the nitty gritty of what I actually do all day, what I love is that changes can be dreamt up, worked out and implemented in very short timescales (all things relative). Also the level of appreciation is much higher - you think a teacher is unappreciative; try a user located somewhere you've never heard of,who will never meet you and who has been waiting forty minutes on hold to speak to you.
Obviously, these are generalisations, but spoken from experience, not conjecture.
Oh, and think transferable skills. You'll be amazed at what you might be able to talk yourself into :)
@localzuk - I think you need to ask the question - where would you like to go to progress? Which areas interest you? I would say going from School to School getting a payrise each time progression!
But I guess you would progress by joining a larger scale educational establishment, such as a uni or college. The challenges will be a lot different than a school just because of the size!
I would say jobs in very large companies, such as 10k+ users... Hitachi for example. As an Infrastrucure Engineer. Dealing with VMware clusters, 15 exchange 2010 servers with different roles etc, huge DR & HA stuff.
Then, as someone else mentioned, service delivery manager, project management etc.
Freelance, not really for me due to not having the security i'd like.
Microsoft specialist - for a large IT Support company - go to different organisations they do work for doing installs, upgrades, migrations. Be involved setting up the companys technical requirements, pre sales talks, etc