Career / pay thoughts for education IT
Hello Good People - I am in the middle of a mid life career change (which was preceded by a mid life crisis wherein I purchased a Harley) and am trying to figure out next steps. I just posted in the "hello I'm new here" if you want to read some of that drivel about my school and district.
In my previous life I completed a 2yr degree in Electronics in '84 and did 24yrs in private sector high tech focused in HW. The last 16 were at Intel doing HW design where I eventually earned obscene amounts of money (explains the Harley) + obscene amounts of stress which culminated in an extreme burn-out. I would rather sell my soul than ever work for a publicly traded company again.
I am really quite lucky to have landed my current job providing direct support at a large high school (about 2000 students). When I was hired 4yrs ago the district did not even have an official position description for my job (Computer Support Tech) and I was hired as a Instructional Assistant. The district certainly had tech positions etc. but for senior roving techs who might support 2 - 4 schools and who report directly to district IT. The initial pay level was very low at $12.50/hr - but I needed a job and more importantly needed a IT job to start my career switch. For 2yrs we survived by pulling money out of our retirement to make ends meet. About a year ago the district recognized the need for dedicated local support and defined a position + pay scale -- but the school board has indicated they cannot officially fund the positions (yet) out of the districts main pot of money.
Luckily my Principle is a great guy and he funded me at the new position level - AND - the guy who hired me recommended I also get the optional $5K yearly tech stipend. Now all of that pushed my gross pay to $32K a year. And that was adequate combined with my wifes income. Life looked promising - then we had the current economic melt down and the $5K stipends were eliminated. So we are back to running in the red and I'm going to start moonlighting as a tech guy to bring in extra dough. This obviously cannot continue and I may need to move on - my current gross is $27K.
I am a jack-of-all trades guy and certified geek: OSX - XP - Linux - build clients or servers - manage servers - basic networking - home networking - just set up a Mythbuntu DVR - etc. I'm not looking to earn a fortune --- but my gross needs to meet $32K+. Economic times are tight but even as things moderate I doubt those 5K stipends will ever return.
So how does all this stack up against what some of you are experiencing ? I've been lazy but over the Winter I'm going to pick up my A+ and Network certs just to have those on my resume. Anything else I can work on or do ? I want to work in an educational setting if possible. Certainly I know that taking a job at district IT would pay better - but I do love my little kingdom at the high school and the students and staff. The thought of returning to powerpoint land - status reports - and 2 hour meetings (at IT central) chills my spine ....
I know pay levels and all that can sensitive so PM me if you want to.