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  #1  
Old 11-08-2019, 12:45 AM
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Default Tell me about IT careers

Helpdesk

Network Operations Center Technician

How competitive is the job market in Los Angeles?

I would like to work in this field while I finish my last two years of my Engineering degree.

Tired of making minimum wage
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Old 11-08-2019, 4:35 AM
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Work-XPs on your resume can make you look better than those with none.
Work experience got me hired over someone with a Bachelors Degree in IT, but I can't speak to the market, as I haven't actively dropped a resume in >15 years.

We have what is known as the Helpless-Desk, as they generally just are ticket-creating monkeys w/zero knowledge of how anything really works. They assign things to teams that aren't anyway related to the problem, wasting time, and resources.

This PC BS and bureaucracy (ludicrous decisions by MGMT) in Corp. 'Murica is unbelievable, incompetence runs rampant, and ninjas have to pick up slack.
Mac users w/degrees have to be taught how to use Windows, as COPY-PASTE monkeys generally won't be given a $1,300-$2,500 Mac to copy-paste in/out of Excel, and other applications. (However, my MGR is ~2000 miles away, so there is THAT...)
/rant

It looks like you are taking a bit of a different path, per the job description, however Cisco/Network guys are generally happier than those w/M$/NET+/A+ certs, even if they started doing something else that got their foot in the door.

I wish you well.
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Old 11-08-2019, 7:28 AM
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What certs do you have? Can you work comfortably in the registry without needing to back it up? Can you administrate the cloud? How competent are you in DNS administration, and security?.

Can you administrate Active directory? Can you set up computers/servers in a roll out? and can you set up a network/intranet from scratch?

To get any kind of decent job in I.T., the answers to ALL these questions need to be "Yes".

A YES answer to these questions, eliminates a lot of competition.

Last edited by Dragunov; 11-08-2019 at 7:31 AM..
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Old 11-08-2019, 7:43 AM
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some NOCs just receive alerts (after hours) and then call somebody on a list (like me) to address the problem.
for others, the techs are expected to troubleshoot.
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Old 11-08-2019, 8:21 AM
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What qualifications and work experience do you have?

There are still quite a few opportunities for entry-level IT jobs, but you have to realize that there are a LOT of candidates out there, many who have good personal experience and skills as hobbyists.

There are also soft skills required, and those with good writing and communications skills will usually have an edge.

How about business applications - MS Office is largely the standard, so if you have a good grasp on Excel and PowerPoint, that can help to stand out amongst the crowd.

These days, the Help Desk is the most common entry point, as stated, and it is typically just a stepping stone to other career paths within an organization (or the field in general). There are, however, also increasing opportunities for internship which can be a means to side-step the service desk grind.

There are so many different avenues within IT, so there are still plenty of great opportunities for career paths. I disagree with Dragunov above - while those skills will be useful and necessary for a Windows tech, there are many other technologies beyond Windows and all require specialized support. Security infrastructure comes to mind, and is the area where I have been for the past 14 years now.

Unix/linux skills are needed, database administrators are in demand, network engineers will always have plenty of opportunities, as well as specialized technologies such as VPN, load balancing (F5), DNS, NTP, VM (Citrix, VMWare, Cisco UCS, etc). Many of those technologies have eval software and online tutorials where one can become familiar enough to bluff their way into a junior position.

This is the day and age of the Internet and YouTube, which is far different than the era where I started out, and the opportunities for someone to grow and learn are nearly unlimited - all one needs to do is to apply themself and make the effort.
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Old 11-08-2019, 8:31 AM
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Originally Posted by the86d View Post
Work-XPs on your resume can make you look better than those with none.
Work experience got me hired over someone with a Bachelors Degree in IT, but I can't speak to the market, as I haven't actively dropped a resume in >15 years.

We have what is known as the Helpless-Desk, as they generally just are ticket-creating monkeys w/zero knowledge of how anything really works. They assign things to teams that aren't anyway related to the problem, wasting time, and resources.

This PC BS and bureaucracy (ludicrous decisions by MGMT) in Corp. 'Murica is unbelievable, incompetence runs rampant, and ninjas have to pick up slack.
Mac users w/degrees have to be taught how to use Windows, as COPY-PASTE monkeys generally won't be given a $1,300-$2,500 Mac to copy-paste in/out of Excel, and other applications. (However, my MGR is ~2000 miles away, so there is THAT...)
/rant

It looks like you are taking a bit of a different path, per the job description, however Cisco/Network guys are generally happier than those w/M$/NET+/A+ certs, even if they started doing something else that got their foot in the door.

I wish you well.
This is pretty much the case in every company. The IT group usually has one or two competent people and the rest are there to waste oxygen. The one or two good ones then become overworked because people find out they know what they're doing and then they can't get anything done.

Also, IT is generally looked upon as a liability rather than an asset. They don't produce any widgets, they're not customer facing, they don't bring in revenue, etc. They're only an asset when something important fails and they need it fixed ASAP to resume business operations, and once done, they're back on the short list for budget cuts. It's a bit of a thankless job.

For the record, I do not work in IT, but my degree is in IT. I never worked in IT, but I know what it's like. I work in design & construction where a tangible product is produced and people can accurately value your worth to the company.
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Old 11-08-2019, 8:37 AM
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Do you speak Hindu?
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2019, 10:32 AM
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All I have is 5 years of experience as a security guard for a condominium association and 2 years working in a restaurant.

I’m kind of leaning towards noc or maybe a datacenter job, but i would not mind a help desk job.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:53 AM
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If you're open to having a kind of hybrid job, maybe look into learning how to code (javascript is probably the best to start), and script (batch files, shell scripts, etc). Coding and scripting skills help open jobs up for application support and troubleshooting.
You don't necessarily have to take a new class or course, lots can be found on the web/tube.
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Old 11-09-2019, 9:17 AM
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IT Bootcamp code-monkeys are in demand, and they get paid well (2x my yearly wage from what I am told, to start), from a dude I spoke with at a hotel in IL, he prefers them, and they only know a little niche of a thing. He commonly hires guys and gals that were working in restaurants, or lifting boxes, but this is just one guy that runs a coding crew for one of the largest ins. company in the US.

I actually think that most of the guys and gals from India at my work went to an IT bootcamp.

SAP ninjas are everywhere too, at EVERY large company, on the backend, and lots of specialists for SAP, but I don't know anything about that, but there are a LOT of them.
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2019, 9:40 AM
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Used to work both help desk and IT manager for Apple. Great benefits, mostly good people to work with. Plenty of opportunities for advancement as well. When I retired I was a manager for the IT Help Desk.
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Old 11-09-2019, 9:46 AM
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Its a hard field to break into - I worked IT for 8+ years with an electronics background. I could repair just about anything which made me valuable - but I didn't know the square root of eff all about M$ Office or similar. Still know very little. Install/tweak/fix Windows or Mac OS? Very skilled at that, but I've never really used Excel and Word left a bad taste in my mouth 30 years ago!

BUT - in general, the above posters are correct, you have to know everything about everything, be able to do everything, often work odd hours, and often get paid only slightly more than minimum wage (depends on locale).

Fortunately, I was in a niche - I fixed/configured the computers and their operating systems, figured out how to do strange automations that nobody else could; and somebody else took care of the M$ Office support.

If somebody asks, Windows is a kludge, Macs are elegant BUT break everything with every yearly OS update - so pick your poison.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:22 AM
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The job market in Los Angeles is pretty competitive since it is a metro area. My organization has done several recruitments in the past year due to a sudden turnover. In Riverside, getting solid applicants has been difficult for us because most IT skilled workers are in LA or OC. Being a state employer, we also need to compete with those areas for those few skilled workers in our region because they are willing to commute for the higher wages in private sector.

That being said, what I feel are the in-demand IT fields are:
  • Dev-Ops
  • Security/Security Dev-Ops
  • Big Data Analytics / Machine Learning

Networking is always going to be in-demand because our entire lifeblood of IT involves the network connectivity. But that market is saturated with workers.

Dev-Ops is pretty much replacing what you would call the traditional systems administrator. We still need people who can administer server infrastructure, but organizations (at least medium and up to large enterprise) have moved to very agile and automated methods of code and infrastructure deployment. Much of that skillset is desirable since it helps with managing cloud infrastructure. You probably heard of the term "Infrastructure as Code". Well Dev-Ops is where all that rooted from.

I'm not saying Big Data / Machine Learning (sometimes referred to as AI) is a huge employment opportunity in terms of the numbers of available positions. But a lot of the automation that companies are trying to incorporate into their products and or infrastructure relies on ML. We're seeing security companies offsetting SOC analysts with ML.

Then of course, Information Security (which is what I am currently in) is in-demand and will be for quite sometime. You have lots to choose from in this sector, whether it's Sec-Ops, red-teaming, blue-teaming, governance-risk-compliance, etc. GRCA work can be viewed as very mundane and isn't overly technical, but is one area that will be overlooked by those seeking employment in the IT arena and can be a nice spot to land in given that this job field won't be saturated with qualified workers.

Help Desk / Desktop support is still a valid entry-level position, but you need to be very proactive to expand your skillset and experience (e.g. participate in enterprise-level projects) so that you aren't stagnating in a Help Desk / Desktop Support position. If you go with Help Desk, do so in an organization or company that helps foster growth and provides lateral movements within the IT organization.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by InFamous20 View Post
All I have is 5 years of experience as a security guard for a condominium association and 2 years working in a restaurant.

I’m kind of leaning towards noc or maybe a datacenter job, but i would not mind a help desk job.
Data centers are probably gonna eventually be extinct with AWS and Azure type companies. But if it’s an internship or something would be worth seeing what’s going away
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Old 11-11-2019, 6:01 AM
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Helpdesk

Network Operations Center Technician

How competitive is the job market in Los Angeles?

I would like to work in this field while I finish my last two years of my Engineering degree.

Tired of making minimum wage

I've been doing this for 25 years... Started at helpdesk and worked up to Sr. Sys Admin/Sec Officer/Compliance officer/Network Engineer/just under VP for company (just keep tacking on stuff... ) Now I have the title of Network Admin for a different company but its really just something to put on my business card. I still do all the same router programming, security management, server setups etc, but also get to look after an entire CAD and engineering dept. and get to play with CNC machines and robots.

What do you like to do? Do you like hands on? Do you like problem solving? Can you sit and stare at a screen all day without losing your mind? Do you want to work on a team or fly solo? What do you do for hobbies? I ask because many people are "tired of minimum wage" and think they are going to get rich in IT but they "just don't got it". It takes a particular mindset to be successful. I tell people this when they ask not to discourage but to illuminate the reality of the work.

College degrees do not mean much. Experience and decent certs carry more weight. I've had people bring me resumes with fancy degrees but then in the interview I can tell they don't know anything and have awful problem solving skills. On the flip side I hired a kid with minimum experience because he "had it". I could tell he had excellent analytical and problem solving abilities. He is very successful now doing some kind of higher level admin stuff. When I interview I ask very little specific knowledge based questions. Anybody can remember stuff from advertisements. I'm more interested in knowing you can find the solutions to issues that come up. I had one kid I thew a hypothetical at him and asked how he would find the answer. He said he'd call his cousin. I told him great, have your cousin submit a resume and have a nice day. The IT world changes way too fast to be focused on specific things, save for maybe VMware and Cisco. I need to know if I drop a Juniper firewall on someones desk and tell them to make it work with the Powerlink aggregator and use the Stonefly for storage, they can figure it out. Then if we are powering up a rack what kind of power is the datacenter providing? Etc etc.


Anyway, helpdesk jobs suck. They are the IT equivalent of a burger flipper and are all about ticket turnover. Gotta get those numbers up. If you can actually get a NOC tech job that is vastly superior as you will be touching all kinds of things and will look good on your resume (reference my previous paragraph). However, helpdesk gets you good at personal communications and such, which is also highly important. If you are stuck in a datacenter your people contact is a bit more limited and you turn into one of those salty Nick Burns types.

I guess that also depends on the type of company you work for. I would not work for consultant types companies. Everyone I know that has says its a grinder. They use the crap out of you then toss you aside. I personally choose to work for established companies with a technical side, preferably in the construction industry as I know it well. I like working at a place where people know my name and I can make a difference, where I actually matter. I do not want to work for a company where I'm just a line on a spreadsheet, which is what my last company became. We treat our helpdesk guys really well. We call them helpdesk but in reality they sit more in the level 2 or higher skill level. We don't hire entry level people because we run lean and don't have the time to train them. We do send them to training to beef up their skills but higher level stuff, like CCNA or whatever.
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Old 11-12-2019, 5:35 PM
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All I have is 5 years of experience as a security guard for a condominium association and 2 years working in a restaurant.



I’m kind of leaning towards noc or maybe a datacenter job, but i would not mind a help desk job.
You will not get a NOC position with no IT experience. A datacenter is too critical to hand over to somebody totally green, and unless you have experience deploying and configuring network hardware and servers, you won't even know where to start. If you really want to switch careers to IT, you will have to start at the bottom like everybody else, help desk. I started as a field tech, and I was more or less just hands while NOC engineers guided me over the phone in resolving network issues.

I'm about 7 years in to my IT career now and I'm at senior systems admin level and I manage the datacenter for my company at one of our branch offices. I moved up faster than most because I put in a lot of extra work to get certified in relevant areas, did lab work at home, and I just have a knack for problem solving and innovation. I'm a certified Cisco network engineer and VMware datacenter professional, and I have so much experience building and managing Windows servers, there's nothing in the datacenter I can't handle on my own. Just to give you an idea of the level of knowledge you need to attain if you really want to move up in the IT world.

The perks of being a high level IT employee are second to none, short of being an executive, so it's a great career path. Just be aware it takes some trudging through the trenches at first to persevere.

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Old 11-13-2019, 12:45 AM
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Alright, is it possible to get into help desk with no experience or certs?
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Old 11-13-2019, 6:17 PM
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Alright, is it possible to get into help desk with no experience or certs?
Possibly, depends on the company. Some are more willing to train than others. Can you demonstrate a basic understanding of how computers work? Do you know how to replace hardware components and/or build a computer? Have you ever troubleshooted and fixed your own computer or a friend/family member? What's your level of experience with computers in general?

If you're applying for a help desk position, it's mostly important to understand the process of troubleshooting and develop an efficient methodology, as most things can be learned. If you're interviewing with a company as somebody with no experience, just make it abundantly clear that if you don't know the answer to something, you will exhaust all possible resources to find it, and that you're genuinely interested in learning. I've interviewed people for tech positions before and I consider the right personality traits more than technical knowledge and experience, because again, all that can be learned. Matter of fact we just recently hired a new help desk tech at my office, and I recommended the guy we hired over a couple other candidates who clearly had more experience, because of the way he carried himself, his upfront honesty about lack of experience in some areas, and just the feeling that he would mesh well with the rest of the office. Personality goes a lot farther than people give it credit for, even in IT.

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Old 11-14-2019, 8:19 AM
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Possibly, depends on the company. Some are more willing to train than others. Can you demonstrate a basic understanding of how computers work? Do you know how to replace hardware components and/or build a computer? Have you ever troubleshooted and fixed your own computer or a friend/family member? What's your level of experience with computers in general?

If you're applying for a help desk position, it's mostly important to understand the process of troubleshooting and develop an efficient methodology, as most things can be learned. If you're interviewing with a company as somebody with no experience, just make it abundantly clear that if you don't know the answer to something, you will exhaust all possible resources to find it, and that you're genuinely interested in learning. I've interviewed people for tech positions before and I consider the right personality traits more than technical knowledge and experience, because again, all that can be learned. Matter of fact we just recently hired a new help desk tech at my office, and I recommended the guy we hired over a couple other candidates who clearly had more experience, because of the way he carried himself, his upfront honesty about lack of experience in some areas, and just the feeling that he would mesh well with the rest of the office. Personality goes a lot farther than people give it credit for, even in IT.

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Good answer. I agree with that completely.
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Old 11-14-2019, 8:58 AM
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Would it be a good idea to learn Linux?

As far as pc stuff goes I know enough to do some troubleshooting, OS installing etc, never built one but
I’m familiar with the components.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:25 AM
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I fix windows issues with Linux utils all the time...
And time clocks, even under the radar... ... ...
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:36 AM
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InFamous20, why are you not interning some place? The demand is high for Engineers at the current time and if you are clearable even more so. The defense industry is big in So-Cal.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:45 AM
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Would it be a good idea to learn Linux?

As far as pc stuff goes I know enough to do some troubleshooting, OS installing etc, never built one but
I’m familiar with the components.
Depends on your goals. In general, its a good idea to learn about everything. My bread and butter skill sets are *nix systems (Linux, IRIX, SCO, BSD, etc) and Cisco stuff. I would advocate for Linux without question.... BUT, reality is, not too many places use it as a desktop. Heres the thing though, if you get into VMware, Cisco phone systems, various SAN and NAS devices, and stuff like that they sit on top of a Linux systems. So, if you really need to dig in you will be in a Linux shell at some point. Even our CNC machines here at work have various Linux controllers.... Since I have damn near Linux mastery I was able to script all kinds of server mapping and automation for them. Heck, what got me out of help desk was my Linux skills. The company had sent all the locations these little all in one desktop servers that ran Linux. I ripped through that thing like it was nothing and modified all the settings and such from a shell, modifying the configs directly rather than using the limited web interface. I called my future boss (he was IT manager at that point, I worked in a different department, not IT directly) and was asking him some advanced Linux stuff to set up the box and he was like "uhhh I have no idea. You want a job?"

So yes, learn all you can about Linux unless you want to be stuck as a Windows help desk guy forever.
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Old 11-14-2019, 2:50 PM
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I worked in IT for about 14 years, including trying (and failing) to start up my own IT consultancy.

I was once offered a job at a tiny, little, 4-person startup company called Earthlink, to put things in relative chronology.

I've done Linux, Windows, Mac networks, as large as 50 or so nodes, scattered across several city blocks (either remote offices, off-site commercial establishments, etc.)

Generally speaking, I was the only tech support onsite. I've been called at 3am, I've been paged while on vacation.

My resume used to look like a NASCAR hood, full of logos and certifications.

IT paid for my food for over a decade, helped put my wife through school, and... and this is the important part, basically destroyed my soul.

I was at the local CC working towards a Cisco certification when I had an epiphany: I'd hated every minute I was at work for 12 of those 14 years. I walked out of class, signed up for a more academic schedule, and finished the engineering degree I should have finished in my younger years.

Unless you are one of the truly brilliant "ENGINEERS" at the top of the IT pyramid, IT work is grunt work. You'll spend years changing toner cartridges and trying to teach your boss how to use his new iphone. You're expected to be on-call like an emergency room doctor, but paid like an Indian call-center drone.

If you have two years til you are done with your engineering degree, and don't want to go all-out for an IT career, start looking into engineering-related work... internships, academic research projects, see if a professor needs some ****-work done. You'll get about as much respect and money as IT, but it will help your career.

You'll live without beer-money for a couple years. Think about where you want your career to go, and start working towards that goal.

Basically, don't be me. Be better than I was at your age, and you'll live a better life for it.

(Edited to add: I don't knwo what kind of engineer you are, but if you are Comp Sci or EE, learn a bit of VHDL or Verilog. The cross-training will help you get into internships at companies like Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.)

Last edited by BigFatGuy; 11-14-2019 at 2:52 PM..
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Old 11-14-2019, 5:41 PM
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EE major.
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Old 11-14-2019, 6:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ibanezfoo View Post
Heres the thing though, if you get into VMware, Cisco phone systems, various SAN and NAS devices, and stuff like that they sit on top of a Linux systems. So, if you really need to dig in you will be in a Linux shell at some point.
Good advice, and true about Linux based appliances and software. I occasionally need to do things which are either a pain or impossible to do via the stock shell or GUI, so I connect directly to the Linux shell and get it done. Example, try creating more than one VMFS datastore on a single LUN in vCenter or ESXi. Can't be done. BUT, it CAN be done (though it's not officially supported by VMware) via parted and vmkfstools. Of course that takes Linux knowledge. It's also much easier to script and automate your own tasks such as custom backup routines if you know Linux well. I've also had to backdoor stuff in OPNSense which is a Linux based firewall appliance.

Bottom line, Linux knowledge is an invaluable skill to have and well worth learning as it's extremely versatile.

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Old 11-14-2019, 9:29 PM
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If your an ee... If you have any interest in digital design, and can build your skills to the point that you could design a pcb, do a simple board layout, select the right parts, and program an FPGA, the big aerospace companies will pay you a lot more than a help desk job...
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Old 11-15-2019, 1:33 AM
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You a veteran by any chance? If so I can point you toward a bunch of free certs that’ll help. Ultimately though I’d agree with “just knock out the degree already”. I know several EEs who went the software engineer route and are doing extremely well - the hardware knowledge and understanding architecture can help right juuuust ever slightly more efficient code and that’s an extremely valuable thing to companies that have to deal with scale (FAANG and more). I know one guy who’s basically built a niche career living in X86 assembly. He sometimes comes up to C but can write assembly as if it’s Python. He makes $$$$$$$$. So don’t think that just because you’re an EE major you have to stick with circuit boards. You’ve got a lot of options once you graduate with that degree.
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Old 11-15-2019, 2:02 AM
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All I have is 5 years of experience as a security guard for a condominium association and 2 years working in a restaurant.

I’m kind of leaning towards noc or maybe a datacenter job, but i would not mind a help desk job.
So you plan on competing against all of the other IT applicants (who will be coming in with certifications and probably a few years experience) just how? Do you think data center jobs are just something people "walk in" to?

I'm guessing that you either have no clue or are particularly dismissive of the skill and experience it takes to work at that level of IT..

Anyways, be sure to let us know how this new career works out!
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Old 11-15-2019, 9:18 AM
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Not a vet.

I’m just looking for info.
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Old 11-15-2019, 1:23 PM
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After I graduated college, I got my foot in the door by working in Helpdesk at a big Silicon Valley company. It was the most miserable time of my life. Good thing I only had to do it for a couple years before landing another opportunity in a different field.
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Old 11-25-2019, 9:01 PM
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I worked for an ediscovery firm for 4.5 years. Started out as help desk but moved onto being a sys admin. Never went to college. Left the company and basically took on a job as local IT for my site. I now work for a large manufacturing company with over six figure salary with no degree. Keep in mind though I have a good amount of experience in networking, servers, storage, and some SQL.
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Old 11-26-2019, 7:27 PM
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Originally Posted by NoHeavyHitter View Post
So you plan on competing against all of the other IT applicants (who will be coming in with certifications and probably a few years experience) just how? Do you think data center jobs are just something people "walk in" to?

I'm guessing that you either have no clue or are particularly dismissive of the skill and experience it takes to work at that level of IT..

Anyways, be sure to let us know how this new career works out!
I had a security guard at GoGrid (DataPipe now RackSpace) who I used to talk to, couple years later he works in the Datacenter. He was basically running cables but moved up to learn more infrastructure. This was a colo too, so multiple customers.

Last edited by MikeyMike_510; 11-26-2019 at 7:31 PM..
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Old 11-26-2019, 7:30 PM
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Good advice, and true about Linux based appliances and software. I occasionally need to do things which are either a pain or impossible to do via the stock shell or GUI, so I connect directly to the Linux shell and get it done. Example, try creating more than one VMFS datastore on a single LUN in vCenter or ESXi. Can't be done. BUT, it CAN be done (though it's not officially supported by VMware) via parted and vmkfstools. Of course that takes Linux knowledge. It's also much easier to script and automate your own tasks such as custom backup routines if you know Linux well. I've also had to backdoor stuff in OPNSense which is a Linux based firewall appliance.

Bottom line, Linux knowledge is an invaluable skill to have and well worth learning as it's extremely versatile.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Yup, Linux is also available in Azure in AWS. At least know the basics. I had to learn the basics as a sys admin since I was responsible for 1 server that I was hosting for one of the top law firms in the U.S. Keep in mind also, startup companies may resort to Linux due to licensing.
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Old 11-26-2019, 7:36 PM
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Data centers are probably gonna eventually be extinct with AWS and Azure type companies. But if it’s an internship or something would be worth seeing what’s going away
Not necessarily. You still need techs for even the hosted platforms on-prem. Have you seen how many DC's Azure has operating?

What about co-location data-centers? Plenty of them here in the bay area.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:48 PM
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Just realize that sys admins seldom work just 9 to 5. They often have to work off-hours, staying late and on weekends, so they don't disrupt the users. You might also have to be on-call after hours at times. Expect interview questions about your willingness to do so.
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:29 PM
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The job market in Los Angeles is pretty competitive since it is a metro area. My organization has done several recruitments in the past year due to a sudden turnover. In Riverside, getting solid applicants has been difficult for us because most IT skilled workers are in LA or OC. Being a state employer, we also need to compete with those areas for those few skilled workers in our region because they are willing to commute for the higher wages in private sector.

That being said, what I feel are the in-demand IT fields are:
  • Dev-Ops
  • Security/Security Dev-Ops
  • Big Data Analytics / Machine Learning

Networking is always going to be in-demand because our entire lifeblood of IT involves the network connectivity. But that market is saturated with workers.

Dev-Ops is pretty much replacing what you would call the traditional systems administrator. We still need people who can administer server infrastructure, but organizations (at least medium and up to large enterprise) have moved to very agile and automated methods of code and infrastructure deployment. Much of that skillset is desirable since it helps with managing cloud infrastructure. You probably heard of the term "Infrastructure as Code". Well Dev-Ops is where all that rooted from.

I'm not saying Big Data / Machine Learning (sometimes referred to as AI) is a huge employment opportunity in terms of the numbers of available positions. But a lot of the automation that companies are trying to incorporate into their products and or infrastructure relies on ML. We're seeing security companies offsetting SOC analysts with ML.

Then of course, Information Security (which is what I am currently in) is in-demand and will be for quite sometime. You have lots to choose from in this sector, whether it's Sec-Ops, red-teaming, blue-teaming, governance-risk-compliance, etc. GRCA work can be viewed as very mundane and isn't overly technical, but is one area that will be overlooked by those seeking employment in the IT arena and can be a nice spot to land in given that this job field won't be saturated with qualified workers.

Help Desk / Desktop support is still a valid entry-level position, but you need to be very proactive to expand your skillset and experience (e.g. participate in enterprise-level projects) so that you aren't stagnating in a Help Desk / Desktop Support position. If you go with Help Desk, do so in an organization or company that helps foster growth and provides lateral movements within the IT organization.
If you wanted to get into red teaming, what is the standard route?
What about blue teaming?
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:49 PM
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Just realize that sys admins seldom work just 9 to 5. They often have to work off-hours, staying late and on weekends, so they don't disrupt the users. You might also have to be on-call after hours at times. Expect interview questions about your willingness to do so.
I can relate, there are times where I have worked 14 hours straight and weekends because some user purged something or the SAN ran out of space, etc. That's how I ended up learning and worked my way up.
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Old 11-27-2019, 5:42 AM
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Just realize that sys admins seldom work just 9 to 5. They often have to work off-hours, staying late and on weekends, so they don't disrupt the users. You might also have to be on-call after hours at times. Expect interview questions about your willingness to do so.
Thats a good point. It depends on your company but if I work after hours a lot of times I'll come in later the next day just to balance it out. I'm on salary so I don't get paid for OT. I wouldn't stay at a job where you were expected to come in bright and early and then tons of after hours work. Every once in a while is fine, for big infrastructure upgrades and such, but not all the time. Find a company that recognizes the importance of family. The last company I worked for I put in crazy hours, and often. 7am -> 3am sometimes. But, at that company I was the highest paid hourly employee. They kept fighting to put me on salary so they could take advantage of me. I always refused. If I am working I am getting paid. I'm not working 80 hours for a 40 hour paycheck.

That right there is why I will do my best to never work for a big tech company that just grinds you up and spits you out or a consultant company which just treats you like a spreadsheet number. Most of our IT team now went through the grinder at Dell, and one at Google.
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Old 11-27-2019, 7:40 AM
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If you wanted to get into red teaming, what is the standard route?
What about blue teaming?
Either side you need to know how to 'hack' in the actual context of computer intrusion: know how to recon, scan for vulnerabilities, leverage vulnerabilities for exploit, and actually exploit. You definitely need to understand how to program (not just code) because red teaming really goes deep into the technical in terms of exploit writing (e.g. stack smashing).

A solid foundation in actual computer science is pretty important for that (e.g. data structures, algorithms, automata) combined with practical knowledge (e.g. Operating Systems design + systems administration, networking).

I lost an analyst a couple years ago who was in my Security Operations team. He left to work on a red team for a big corp. He had a BS in CS and was doing web dev at another company before he moved over to Info Sec in my organization, and during that time he was doing things off hours to improve his offensive skill set (OSCP cert, etc).

Personally, I think it is handy to have a solid enterprise level systems administration background to be red or blue team since you have to know what will or could exist in a computing environment so you know how and what to recon (including the personnel) and how to attack (or defend) those assets.

I think a lot of people fake their red teaming skills using canned tools (e.g. Kali Linux, metasploit, scripts written by others). I'm not saying those tools aren't good (we use them in our org to in-house pentest), but I've seen self-professed red team professionals that use these tools in what I would call a "script-kiddie" fashion with no true sense security assessment.
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Last edited by ocabj; 11-27-2019 at 7:45 AM..
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