Published on February 6, 2014
ADVICE FROM SPONSORED BY: Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 1
INTRODUCTION Want a raise? A little respect? Some peace of mind? These career-saving (and enhancing) tips are You’re a pro, no doubt about it. But if there’s one brought to you by seasoned IT pros, savvy marketers... career tip your peers keep coming back to, it’s this: The and even a few Spiceworks employees who might learning never stops. Just like those users who keep know a thing or two about tech. You can also check losing their passwords over and over again – it’s going out the amazing projects in their IT portfolios for more to keep happening... forever. expert insights and then create your own. Learn how So in the spirit of packing your brain full of as many petabytes of data as it can take, Spiceworks hand-picked some crowdsourced career tips straight to stay relevant in a world that’s changing faster than an SSD reboot. Ready to get busy boosting your IT career? Read on! from the mouths of real tech experts. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your position, get certified, “raise” the career bar, master new skills (and maybe even the Zen of IT maintenance), discover some resource goldmines, or just learn the art of being social – Spiceworks has ya covered. Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 2
TIP 01 Promotion, anyone? “I think that in order to get promoted in today’s environment you need to demonstrate you can do the work.” So, ask for additional responsibility and tackle larger At that point you have a track record of being able projects. Once you demonstrate you can be a senior to do the job and this will assuage any management systems administrator, for example, you can make fears that you might not be cut out for that position. your own case for promotion. Scott Roberts (jhuscott) IT Manager, Baltimore, MD Scott’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 3
TIP 02 Got skillz? “Focus on adding to your IT knowledge yearly. I try to focus on a different skill or area of focus quarterly to add up to one new skill each year.” And to echo others – be nice to your users. They may create ridiculous issues, and ask crazy questions, but without your users, you don’t have a job. They are your customers, and no matter how great of an IT pro you are, if you’re surly all the time, your employer will find someone else who has similar IT skills, but better people skills. Katie Drucker (Katie) Social Media & Community Manager, Columbia, SC Katie’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 4
TIP 03 Tales from the script... “Learn to do sysadmin work from the command line and scripting. Many of the “new” technologies being deployed simply don’t have powerful GUIs designed for them anymore.” Eli Etherton (Eli @ elitehcomputerguy.com) Eli the Computer Guy, Baltimore, MD Eli’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 5
TIP 04 Polish up your resume. “The best advice I can provide for IT pros to advance their career in 2014? First and foremost, have a strong resume that includes a portfolio if possible.” Expand this with an interactive portfolio online that If you don’t already have one, start a blog online, concisely shows off all of your different skills, and be and write about your solutions to different tough sure to explain, in a nutshell, what sets it apart. Be problems you encounter at work. With social media aware that the non-tech savvy (including HR people!) such a big part of the world nowadays, employers may not understand what they’re looking at, at first are attracted to bringing on board rock stars – online glance. Be a go getter today more than ever. The econ- celebrities who bring with them a following, have the omy is tough nowadays and employers are being hit ability to create buzz, and are able to summarize for hard, so you really need to show off how you can bring their employers where the industry is headed and how a positive ROI to your company. to move forward. Read full quote… Dani Horowitz (Dani at DaniWeb.com) Business Manager, Bayside, NY Dani’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 6
TIP 05 Know thy cloud. “The cloud is growing at an amazing speed, and more and more organizations recognize the immense benefits of cloud computing.” Thus, the best way IT pros can advance their career is to learn about new cloud technologies. This is the area where the most exciting and the best paid jobs will be created in the years to come. Michael Pietroforte (Michael @ 4sysops.com) Owner at 4sysops.com Munich, Germany Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 7
TIP 06 Nice guys always win. “Always be nice. This industry is full of jerks. Don’t be one of them.” If you are nicer than average there are many benefits: You’ll have a better relationship with users and they’ll Everyone will want to work with you thus you can be more willing to listen to you when you have to tell work as a team and divide the work among everyone them bad news. instead of doing it yourself. Managers will bend over backwards to keep you there (in small ways and sometimes in big ways). Being nice doesn’t mean always saying “yes.” Have the discipline to say “no” when you have to... but always be ready to suggest alternatives that will help them get what they want some other way. Thomas Limoncelli (YesThatTom) IT Consultant (at Google) Bloomfield, NJ Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 8
TIP 07 The Golden Rule. “My advice is: always follow “The Golden Rule.” Treat your customers, your coworkers, your employer, your employees and everyone else you encounter as you want to be treated yourself. This is the best long term strategy you can have. Ivan Nekrasov (Ivan@Dell) Spiceworks Partner Nashville, TN Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 9
TIP 08 The road ahead... “We all have a vision of what makes us truly happy. Working in IT can, a lot of times, seem so reactive that it’s too easy to sit with heads down and just get lost in the job.” Putting out fires, answering user questions, or kicking Do you have a sense of what your job will look like in off planning the next CTO-driven initiative causes us 5 years? I believe part of any job is to partially focus on to forget the vision and succumb to the daily grind. reaching professional goals. Part of that is to ensure Each of us has a sense of our professional goals and technical knowledge is obtained to accomplish daily we know when a direction doesn’t feel right. As an IT tasks, but there should also be defined guidelines to person right now, the next 3-5 years will be interest- ensure that goals are reached. ing. Cloud adoption is moving at such a fantastic pace we all deserve a chance to take a breath and plan for our professional career. Rod Trent (Rod Trent at Windows IT Pro) Community Manager of Windows IT Pro, owner of myITforum.com Middletown, Ohio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 10
TIP 09 I T for the win. “Maybe this is less advice than it is an endorsement of IT as a career. It’s a great foundation to build your career on. The technical, business, social and interaction skills you learn can take you far.” Here’s a little known fact about me – my second job That company folded, but that experience got me a job out of college and my first job at a start-up was as at Apollo, which brought me to NeXT, which helped me a sysadmin. It was a “20 person company” building start my first company Motive – where I met the three “next generation software” for the CAD / CAM indus- other founders of Spiceworks. And the rest, as they say, try. My job was to keep 20 Apollo Workstations (a is history. And you thought Spiceworks being about competitor to Sun in the 80s) up and running. “Everything IT” was just an accident :-). Scott Abel (Scott) President & CEO at Spiceworks, Inc. Austin, TX Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 11
TIP 10 “ Be water, my friend.” -Bruce Lee “Listen to this small snippet from Bruce Lee and then integrate this philosophy into your IT career. We all know how fast IT can change. Being like this will help you flow with any changes, whether they are fast or slow or aggressive or unpredictable.” Jeff Grettler (Jeff Grettler) IT Operations Manager at Spiceworks, Inc., Austin, TX Jeff’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 12
TIP 11 Look at the big brain on [you]! “Learn, educate yourself! To be successful in IT you need to do more than just get training.” Certs are also valuable and I do have them. They help Do not stop learning, it’s a journey. Go out into the you get launched and learn more about a wider range world, both figuratively speaking and literally. of subjects than you normally come into contact with in your day job. This helps build the width of your knowledge. But most of all, be open minded and look outside of your current responsibilities. Become an excellent generalist before you specialize. “Have a T-shaped skill” set. Go wide generally and deep in your current specialties. Move out of your Learn from talking to your peers, partners, vendors, consultants who all bring their points of view to the table. Participating in a community and outside of your jobs responsibilities also builds your communication skills, both in discussions and while presenting. Read full quote… comfort zone every now and then and tackle a difficult problem or area. Didier Van Hoye (workinghardinit) Blogger (Working Hard In IT), Microsoft MVP Gent, Belgium Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 13
TIP 12 So what’cha want? “In your job search, know what you want. Take time to think about what is most important to you in your next opportunity.” Too many people jump to the next job without really Just answering a few of these questions for yourself analyzing what they really want and end up in a can help set you in the right direction when you are place that is not right for them. searching for a new role or when you get another Ask yourself things like...what’s my passion, do I like structure or chaos, do I like big or small companies recruiter phone call. You’ll know what sounds right for you and what doesn’t. and why, do I like a narrow role or spinning lots of plates, what makes me crazy about my job, why do I like to go into work everyday? Jennifer Cantu (Jen C) Director of Talent & Culture at Spiceworks, Inc. Austin, TX Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 14
TIP 13 Quick Top 10. “1. Don’t get a ‘I know everything better’ complex. 2. Improve your social skills -> this will make a lot of things easier in your life.” 3. The “I” in IT is more important than the “T”. And the 6. Be open and flexible, i.e., learn to implement best place to get “I” is from people. what you may not know rather than being boxed 4. There are two types of IT companies: business-centric and technology-centric. If you like to geek out, avoid business-centric companies, and the other way around. 5. Grow a sense of humour to survive the stressful situations that you will encounter when something might not go as planned. into learning and implementing what you know. This will stand you in good stead and give you a broad background as you grow in your career. 7. While you are in college do a search for the job you will be seeking when you graduate, and do a gap assessment amongst the experience, projects, technology, and certifications you will need to land the job. 8. Be focused on what cluster you want to specialize in. Maxime Trottier (Devolutions) IT is far too big to be a generalist. Spiceworks Partner Read full quote… Lavaltrie, Quebec, Canada Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 15
TIP 14 Know your bottom line. “Build an expansive network of contacts first and foremost. Chances are you have many of the skills you need if you’re looking to advance your career, you may just need a resume booster or two with a few certifications.” If you have the right contacts and the resume Networking, Network Security (CCNA, CCNA Security, to back it up, you should be able to obtain the JNCIA-Junos for the Juniper folks, JNCIS-SEC, etc). position you’re looking for with a reasonable amount of effort. Windows or Linux Servers (Linux+, RHCSA for Red Hat folks, RHCE, MCSA for Microsoft folks, MCSE, etc) Learn the following and get certified: As much as I don’t like working on servers outside Virtualization (Hyper-V, ESXi – VCP5, Oracle VM– of work, it helps to set up a hardware lab at home Certified Implementation Specialist, etc). to build out new environments to test out and learn new products. Ralph E. McNabb III (rmcnabb) Microsoft Engineer, Southfield, MI Ralph’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 16
TIP 15 Be resourceful. “You cannot know everything. If you do then you are worth more than your company can afford. Use your resources such as the Spiceworks Community, Google, Experts Exchange, etc.” Karl Ross (Karl8674) Systems Engineer Bradford, PA Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 17
TIP 16 “Raise” the bar... “So you want a raise huh? Do you think you deserve it? Can the company afford it? Last year I answered “yes” to all three, asked for a 15% raise, and low and behold got over an 18% raise.” “How did you do this?” you ask… Well, quite simple if If you fudge, your whole presentation will fail. Include you prepare and present. Start with your job descrip- in this where you succeded and where you have failed, tion - what do you do, what are your responsibilities, and what you intend to do to prevent the failure(s) and what are you expected to do (i.e: On Call, week- in the future. ends, etc…). Next, do a self evaluation and be honest. Do you show up on time, do you get your tasks done correctly and on time, do you ‘go the extra mile’ or do you just do what is required? You need to be really honest with yourself on this one. Now go and talk with the money folks. This would be the controller, or bookkeeper, possibly the CIO, or maybe the owner. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO ASK FOR A RAISE. You are looking for information on how the company is doing...financially. Did they give bonuses? Was it a profitable year? What are the projections for next year? Read full quote… Paul Chiodo (pchiodo) IT Manager, Cuba, MO Paul’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 18
TIP 17 Greener pastures... “Get a new job!” or “Hold up your boss for more money!” Many people don’t progress because they don’t look If not, start looking for a new opportunity that will ei- for new opportunities or ask for more money. Better ther provide you with a better situation or is a sideways titles and better pay means you can command even move to prepare you for a better situation. If you are better titles and even better pay. If you are not content willing to work hard and do a great job, why not work with where you are now, talk to your boss about what hard to have a great job? it will take to improve your situation. Erik Nordman (Erik) Director of IT, Hollis, NH Erik’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 19
TIP 18 Happy little accidents. “Mistakes shape you into the worker/person you become and are. Some of my best opportunities and successful projects/ implementations have resulted after I failed terribly.” Kacia Steiner (Kacia (QuickCert)) Marketing Manager Portland, OR Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 20
TIP 19 Master IT. “IT is moving away from break/fix. IT nowadays is about system deployment, adoption and utilization.” How many systems do you have in your environment Then figure out new ways the system can help the that users are only scratching the surface of? The next users and the business make money. That is where great way to grow your IT career, is find that system in the value in IT is going forward. your organization and master it. Chris Davis (Chris7262) Systems Implementation Specialist, St. Louis, MO Chris’ IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 21
TIP 20 Learn some humility. “I’ve stayed miles ahead of the pack by the way I treat my internal customers and clients. Long gone are the days of the antisocial, pocket-protected, server-room recluse, stereotypical ‘nerd.’ ” Any monkey can learn technical skills. You need to bring your soft skills to the table these days as well. IT needs humble, hard-working members who fully understand that “If everyone knows what I know, then they wouldn’t be paying me to do what they pay me to do.” Lee Burns (Atillion) IT Manager Bend, OR Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 22
TIP 21 Document your day. “Keep a record of all that you’ve worked on as you cross it off your project list.” That way you have something to show your boss at Read these two books that have done the most for review time. And if he/she isn’t impressed then you my IT career: The Practice of System and Network Ad- can use the list to update your resume. ministration, and Getting Things Done. Nicholas Tolstoshev (Nic) Former Spiceworks Community Manager Austin, TX Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 23
TIP 22 Be unafraid. Be very unafraid. “Never be afraid of emerging technologies. Don’t be the department of ‘NO,’ but rather, ‘how can this technology be used to make my (or other people’s) work easier?’ Always network with other people in your industry. When working with someone, always follow up with Doing this will keep you abreast of different solutions them, even if nothing is going on. Never leave your and opinions of how technology is used. Yours is not customer in the dark. the only environment – different environments require different solutions, but sometimes there’s ideas out there that can help you enhance your environment. Rob Dunn (robdunn) Network/Systems Administrator, Rockford, IL Rob’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 24
TIP 23 Simply put... “Label and document everything. Keep it simple. Spiceworks is your friend. Learn new skills, and keep learning! Remember ‘customer service’... talk to users on the phone with a smile, (yea hard sometimes). You are serving them! Streamline workflow, look for ways to improve processes. Back up everything! Be a team player.” Alexia Andrew (Gadget Gal) Help Desk Tech Plainview, TX Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 25
TIP 24 Manage your peeps. “If you really want to go farther, learn to manage people better.” Nearly 100 years ago a fellow by the name of Dale Help others achieve results they had no idea they could, Carnegie mentioned that around 15% of your success so they can grow, get along at work, set realistic but at work is technical, the other 85% is getting along with stretch goals and surpass them. others. Supervision and management, the real skills of getting results via others is the MOST valuable skill you can learn in 2014, not just for yourself but for you department and for your organization. These are things great managers do everyday. They make a huge difference in organizational performance. So stop taking certification, techie, hardware, software courses and learn how to coach, mentor and lead. Randy Ansems (RAnsems) IT Director, Halifax, Canada Randy’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 26
TIP 25 Soft skills for hard results. “Document, label, and document some more. Then make Projects on Spiceworks. And for god sake, keep up with your certifications!” But one of the best IT tips for 2014: LEARN SOFT SKILLS. They don’t go to a library, to the Internet, to a guru, or Nobody likes to receive an email in capital letters. Heck, to a fortune teller. They come to you, because you’re it may even infuriate you. Your users (because that’s why their best resource. You ARE the library, the Internet, we’re ALL here, for the users) don’t like or need to be and a guru to them. treated like an idiot because they didn’t know to turn it off and on. Be nice! We’re all human. I’m paraphrasing Tom Limoncelli here when I say this, but you should see it as such a compliment that someone comes to you, when they know absolutely nothing about something. Sometimes even a fortune teller (“I see a forgotten password in your future...”). So take it as a compliment, slow down, maybe teach them a thing or two. They may even surprise you and (successfully) try to fix it themselves one day. Justin Dale (JustinCredible) IT Coordinator, Edmonton, AB, Canada Justin’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 27
TIP 26 Kindergarten lessons... “Share! When we were in Kindergarten we were taught to share; we should continue this practice. It will benefit you greatly. Hoarding knowledge just makes the world more difficult.” 1. Be friendly, even to your enemies. You may just win 4. Set up a server at home with a hypervisor on it. Play them over. Data is important, and critical. Treat it like your around with all the servers you have room to store. life. It may just save yours (from an irate boss). 2. Don’t be afraid to try something, but make a backup first (preferably in two or more different locations)! 3. Immerse yourself in tech. Every possible moment, try something different (MS Windows RT?). You will probably be working on it sooner or later. More than likely the boss’ 5. Take time for a break, and get outta that chair. 6. Make a list of preventative maintenance tasks to do / check on. It may just save your Super Smoked Applewood BACON someday. Read full quote… 10 year-old will have one. Josh Hymer (Gadget) Network/Systems Administrator, Bruceville-Eddy, TX Josh’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 28
TIP 27 Document your day (the sequel). “For me these days, if something is worth doing, it is worth documenting.” Documentation – this one cannot be over emphasized. I can My home test environment was a key learning tool for me recall countless times going into an environment where there as it allowed me to install, make changes, implement new was no documentation and spending ungodly amounts of technology, etc. without affecting real users. My wife and kids time trying to figure something out. For me these days, if “may disagree now – group policies locking down computers, something is worth doing, it is worth documenting. firewall preventing access to certain sites, etc.” Never stop learning – EVER. It can be as simple as reading a Set realistic goals – short term and long term. Short term – technical book, installing Linux, install Active Directory at take an IT certification every 6 months to stay current. Long home or just learning any technology you are not familiar with. term – set a progressive career path like - Help Desk > Desktop Support > Network Administrator > Network Engineer > Network Manager > Director of IT > VP of IT > CIO. Read full quote… Bruce Gilbert (InkMaster) Chief Technology Officer, Ft. Worth,Tx Bruce’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 29
TIP 28 “Hello, my name is...” “Mingle. Networking is the best way to advance or change your career.” Even in this web centric tablet wifi world of ours it’s personal relationships that make the real difference. Go to professional gatherings, trade shows, even lunch with coworkers and friends, and make new or strengthen friendships. A human will be much more likely to refer you to a job than a server. Michael Fasman (michael fasman) Digital Media Producer San Francisco, CA Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 30
TIP 29 Some micro-tips. “Improve your people skills! Even though most of our focus is on implementing and maintaining technology systems, we all still need to “interface” with users (people).” Go virtual -- even small networks are going with virtual Get to know PowerShell v3 - for better or worse, more servers. If you do not know VMware or Hyper-V you and more Windows server management is done with soon will not be able to work on any LAN! cmdlets and scripting. Tim Loga (Tim Loga) IT Director, Mount Prospect, IL Tim’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 31
TIP 30 Ring! Ring! Ring! “Best advice, which has helped me in every profession I’ve worked in: Answer the phone and return calls quickly.” Once people know that you do this, they become helpers and clients. They know if you don’t answer the phone you are either not there and you will call back at your first opportunity or you are neck deep in someone else’s problem and you will get neck deep in their problem as soon as you can. With a reputation for that, no one is going to believe anyone who says you have been ignoring them. Dan Hatt (danhatt) Network/Systems Administrator, Los Angeles, CA Dan’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 32
TIP 31 A.B.L: Always Be Learning. “Always Be Learning! - Seems straightforward but never rest on your laurels, especially in IT.” Don’t forget to treat your co-workers like your customers. (And it’s good they don’t, that’s called job security!) When it comes to technology, they don’t always know Always Be Patient! - It’s often the hardest thing to have what you know, or what you think they should know. and the quickest thing to run out. Work at it and don’t let that happen. Tim Brandt (DrakeCroft) IT Manager, St. Paul, MN Tim’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 33
TIP 32 Use your words. “Learn how to be a premier communicator – it will come in handy. People in IT have a reputation for not being the best at communicating to non-technical people.” You will go far if you can speak to tech and non-tech people with ease. It is not always easy to do, however it is worth trying and worth the practice. Take advice from people who have been in the industry for a long time as they always have good tidbits to share! Corrine R. Greenhalgh (Corrine572) Enterprise Support Tech Hadley, MA Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 34
TIP 33 The times, they are a-changin’... “The best thing you can do in IT is keep up on upcoming technology and emerging threats. If you are not willing to keep up on newer technology then you will get left behind quick.” Another is to be easily adaptable to change. If you are I have been told by a lot of people that because I am not willing to change at a moment’s notice then you younger than a typical IT security guy that I can’t pos- are in the wrong field. As a security professional I have sibly know how to react to a threat or give adequate been put into multiple scenarios where I have had to recommendations for risk mitigation. Don’t buy into change tactics at the drop of a hat. other’s opinions of you. You are there to do a job and If you cannot change and adapt then you will get extremely stressed out and hate life. The last thing I would say is don’t let people tell you that you they do not evaluate your performance – your supervisors do. The results of your hard work will show and will not go unappreciated. can’t do anything. William McGuire (wmcguire) IT Security Analyst, Trenton, OH William’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 35
TIP 34 Wear the ware. “Learn VMware or Hyper-V. Learn how to say ‘No’ to users without sounding like you don’t care about what they want (like, ‘Can’t we switch from Windows to OS X?’, or ‘We should all get iPads!’).” If you don’t report to the correct boss, check for other signs you need a new employer. The HR manager was my boss. She had no clue or care about IT and would volunteer the IT Department to help out other departments with non-IT tasks. Fortunately, this all changed. Brian Scheele (Brian Scheele) Manager, Information Technology, Lancaster, PA Brian’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 36
TIP 35 You’re my BFF. ”I think the best advice I could give to any newcomers is be friendly.” Yes I know users can frustrate us all, but they are just people and yes sometimes picky people, but in the end they are just looking for our expertise and we need to present it to them in a way they will understand. I really try hard to make it my niche to be the friendly IT guy, as it gives me more perks than you think! Justin Drakes (JDrakes) Network/Systems Administrator Meadville, PA Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 37
TIP 36 So long, comfort zone! “The quote my previous boss drilled into my head. ‘If you’re not uncomfortable you’re not learning.’ Push yourself and spend time to find a good process of documenting tasks to help you stay organized. Set reminders in Outlook to follow up with vendors and co-workers on projects you are waiting on. They will be impressed with your fail-proof memory.” Seth Cooper (Static) IT Manager, Kansas City, Kansas Seth’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 38
TIP 37 Know your bottom line. “I always keep track of all of the ways that I have saved my organization money. Whether it is by negotiating better pricing on a product or reviewing existing contracts and services.” By far the most important thing you can do is “To Be of Service” to others in a professional and joyful way. Be thankful for the awesome job that you get to do each day. I have been working in the IT field for over 14 years and still feel grateful that I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up! Dawn Wolf (Dawn7643) IT Director, Sioux Falls, SD Dawn’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 39
TIP 38 Love your field. “Pick an area of IT that you love doing at home... you will end up doing this sometimes and it makes sense to not be bothered by it.” Read both of Tom Limoncelli’s books… if you don’t think you have time to read the big one then you need the small one more than you might think. Both books are a must! Find a supervisor that you can learn leadership skills as well at technical skills from… it will help you grow like you can’t imagine. Shayne Kawalilak (SW-Desperado) Network Systems Analyst, Edmonton, Canada Shayne’s IT Projects Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 40
TIP 39 Learn to speak CEO/CFO. “OK, so you love learning new stuff and technology is your passion. You can naturally assume that you will advance quickly in your IT career, right? Well, the answer is not quite as simple as that.” You may get that Sys Admin job quickly, but in order Your CEO/CFO doesn’t care how you built your infrastruc- to really advance your career, you will eventually ture, they just care how much it cost and the benefits it need to start working and explaining your projects can bring to the organization. Being able to convey ideas to non-IT folks. in terms they can understand is key to promoting IT and your own skillset in your organization. Read full quote… Darren Schoen (Darren for VMWare) Spiceworks Partner, Palo Alto, CA Darren’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 41
TIP 40 Follow your passion. “My advice is make sure this is your passion. You have to love IT to stay in it. As soon as you start hating it you’ll start hating the users who make you do it and that’s a path you don’t want to go down.” Martin Pugh (Martin9700) IT pro, Milford, MA Martin’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 42
TIP 41 Know IT! “Keep learning... whether studying to finish a degree, acquire a certificate, or self-taught... do not get stuck in one type of technology or one way of doing things.” Also, be a “yes man” (or woman). My predecessor said “no” a lot. I will always give things a try. Sure, you may not get something to work but the reward of getting all the other things to work that you may have initially thought would not is an amazing feeling. Both of my tips keep you from feeling bored and stuck in your current position. Christine Wilson (cwils14) Systems Administrator, Warrenton, VA Christine’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 43
TIP 42 Quick Top 5. “1. Always make only one change at a time when troubleshooting. 2. Documentation, documentation, documentation, and documentation.” 3. Never be afraid to ask for help, check newsgroup’s, peers (Spiceworks!), a two-second question may save you hours of work. 4. No is not an answer -- don’t be afraid to try. If it fails or can’t work, at least you tried and learned something. 5. If all else fails… S.W.A.G. Strategic Wild Ass Guessing . It’s bailed me out more than once. Real Verrier (Cigar-Boy) Network/Systems Administrator, Edmonton, Canada Real’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 44
TIP 43 Let ‘em know you did IT. “My 2 cents after 36 years of IT/Tech/Programming: Make sure you are able to let everyone know what you did to fix and to avoid issues. The silent ones get ignored.” Don’t be too brash and full of yourself, but by our very Getting burned once with a great idea that is either nature techies are quiet, get out there and crow when flawed or simply not understood can set you back in you do good! your career, so make changes carefully and wisely. Make sure when you make system changes that you Get lots of input first, then feedback later to make sure do them properly, and communicate with everyone any changes you made were understood and imple- in ‘dumbspeak’ (few and simple words) that your end mented and USED properly. Give them a hammer and users can understand. they will use it like a screwdriver if they don’t understand what the tool does and how to use it properly. Greg Joiner (Zaphod) Network/Systems Administrator Bushnell, FL Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 45
TIP 44 Goal! “Set some goals and create a plan to achieve them. Be realistic about them.” 1. Is there a specific technology that you need/want 2. What incremental steps will you need to take to to learn? Have your goal establish a firm definition for make that happen? Do you need to take classes? Do achievement. “Get certified in XX by XX/XX/XX date” or you need to find them first? List out all of those steps “Have XX technology implemented by XX/XX/XX date.” and apply target dates for them. Valerie Huffman (DarthVal) Technology Manager, Hickory, NC Valerie’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 46
TIP 45 Be a know-it-all. “Never stop learning. There are a lot of free resources and some that are fairly inexpensive to be able to expand your knowledge of what interests you or what you want to accomplish. There is always going to be something new to learn.” Steven Lipp (SLipp82) Helpdesk Administrator, Cranberry Township, PA Steven’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 47
TIP 46 Dream Big. “Follow your passion, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t give up on your dreams. As long as you keep pushing forward to grow, you will always look back and be grateful for where you are.” John Schuepbach (Shuey) IT Manager, Baltimore, MD John’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 48
TIP 47 Fancy meeting you here... “Join some of your local meetups and groups that are in the interests that you hold. I’m part of the Information Systems Security Association, Infragard, my local VMUG (VMware users group), and more but you get the idea. Grow your network of people because you will never know when you might need their help.” Michael Cimino (MCimino) Network/Systems Administrator, Delaware, OH Michael’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 49
TIP 48 IT pro “Work on people skills. All too often we are excellent with machines but have a serious failure to connect with the humans that use those machines we service. Poor social skills can block any advancement, no matter how excellent your technical skills are.” Amanda Hagen (Hageam) Recent Computer Science graduate, Norwich, CT Amanda’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 50
TIP 49 Keep up your mad skills. The quote my previous boss drilled into my head. “If you’re not uncomfortable you’re not learning.” Keep on top of your current skill set – update your For contractors, network and build good relationships qualifications and expand. If interested, look at cloud with all employers you contract for and always give technology. Learn some form of coding – C# is cur- 110%. Loads of courses out there to refresh yourself. rently highly in demand and will be for some time. Enjoy what you do – if you don’t enjoy it, you’re in the wrong job! Pasha Shah (pasha shah) Help Desk Tech London, UK Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 51
TIP 50 Power to the shell. “I’d have to say, the best tip I can give to any Windows server administrator is: Learn PowerShell.” Over that last year I have been learning PowerShell And lastly, create yourself a home virtual server. the best I can (with the help of the PowerShell group Something with either VMware ESXi (preferred) or in Spiceworks, I love you guys) It is the easiest and Microsoft Hyper-V. Both are really nice Hypervisors most effective way to manage multiple servers. (I have for hosting virtual machines. VMware is a bit more 104 windows servers that I manage, so PowerShell is feature-rich and mature, but Hyper-V comes with the ONLY way to go.) high-availability features built in. ESXi would require Another tip is to just keep reading, you will learn so a license to enable these features. much from just reading posts you find on Spiceworks, or researching Google for a new project you would like to complete. I can’t stress this enough. Matt Bergeron (Chamele0n) IPTV Administrator, Langley, WA Matt’s IT Portfolio Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 52
ABOUT THE TIPS So how exactly did we gather such valuable career advice from IT pros (and marketers) who know? We just started a thread in the Spiceworks Community, and it took on a life of its own! It’s crowdsourcing at it’s most powerful! What’s the Spiceworks Community, you ask? It’s where more than 4 million IT pros come to trade tech tips, show off their awesome IT projects and share real-world advice (as well as their love for bacon and zombies!). Plus, experts from tech vendors are there as well -- talkin’ shop and answering IT questions. Like to be part of the IT revolution? Join us in the Spiceworks Community! A VERY SPECIAL THANKS Not to get too sappy, but everyone here at Spiceworks HQ just wanted to extend our spiciest appreciation: THANK YOU! To every SpiceHead (IT pro), marketer and Spiceworks employee who took the time to share the love with a little career advice: YOU ROCK!. Who knows? maybe your tidbit of wisdom could help someone get a well-deserved raise... or even score a promotion. You did your part, and we salute you. Thanks for keepin’ IT spicy! – The Spiceworks Team Who the heck is Spiceworks? Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 53
SPONSORED BY: About VMware VMware is the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable businesses to thrive in the Cloud Era. Customers rely on VMware to help them transform the way they build, deliver and consume Information Technology resources in a manner that is PRODUCED BY: .About Spiceworks Spiceworks is the professional network for IT more than 5 million IT professionals use to connect with one another and over 3,000 technology brands. The company simplifies how IT professionals discover, buy and manage more than $525 billion in technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is backed by Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Goldman Sachs, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. For more information visit www.spiceworks.com. evolutionary and based on their specific needs. With 2013 Follow Spiceworks on Twitter: twitter.com/spiceworks and connect with Spiceworks on Facebook: www.facebook. revenues of $5.21 billion, VMware has more than 500,000 com/Spiceworks. customers and 55,000 partners. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world and can be found online at www.vmware.com. The contents in this publication are a result of primary research performed by Spiceworks. Unless otherwise noted, the entire contents distributed as part of this report are copyrighted by Spiceworks. As such any information made available by any means in this report may not be copied, reproduced, duplicated, published, displayed, transmitted, distributed, given, sold, traded, resold, marketed, offered for sale, modified to create derivative works or otherwise exploited for valuable consideration without prior written consent by Spiceworks. For more information, visit www.spiceworks.com. This report contains information of fact relating to parties other than Spiceworks. Although the information have been obtained from, and are based on sources that Spiceworks believes to be reliable, Spiceworks does not guarantee the accuracy, and any such information might be incomplete or condensed. Any estimates included in this report constitute Spiceworks’ judgment as of the date of compilation, and are subject to change without notice. This report is for information purposes only. All responsibility for any interpretations or actions based on the information or commentary contained within this report lie solely with the recipient. All rights reserved. 2014. Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 54
Where IT goes to work. Show off your best work. Bring your IT projects to life with a free Spiceworks IT Portfolio Get Started Now Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips 2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 55
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