Questioning if I am valued at my current position - Looking for an opinion on my skills and role.
By - Vesmok
I think this has less to do with whether your employer values you or not. You feel ready to spread your wings and go to the next level, your employer is not able to provide you with the next level, hence you must look elsewhere to take your career further. The question is solely whether you want to wait for your employer to decide whether or not you're ready, or if you're going to seek out opportunity on your own.
Since we're moving along similar timelines, I'd like to share with you what I did.
My first job was an MSP helpdesk which I did for 1 year before I burned out (funny, you can't push 60-80 work weeks forever). I went from that to a PC Technician for a federal contractor for another 18 months. The transition was from full access to the entire technology stack (domain admin, routers, firewalls, O365 admin, DNS hosting, etc) to a position with restricted access (no admin rights on any servers). So it was clearly a step down and my career was going nowhere fast.
Since the job paid well I used that extra pay and time to get my MCSA, MCSE, and also did the OSCP and picked up a lot of Powershell. I was the most technically skilled person there and would be a shoe-in to get a Sysadmin role. Only problem was, there was only 1 slot and I wouldn't get it unless the current guy retired or got hit by a bus.
I wasn't feeling very patient (I did get bored enough to learn how to hack computers and go through one hell of a pen testing certification to prove that I can), so I cleaned up my resume as best as I could and applied around for Sysadmin roles. I got one such role, worked it for 6 months before getting promoted into a VMware admin role (also picked up the VCP-DCV cert along the way).
I'm about 3 years into my IT career.
This is all a question of how fast you want to move in your career IMO. If there's one thing valuable I picked up from chasing the mid-level IT certifications, it's that you're never 100% sure whether or not you're ready. Sometimes the only way to find out is to take the shot. You might find yourself lacking and fail, but it would also tell you **where** you're lacking, and that itself has value.
You do miss 100% of the shots you don't take after all.
Thank you for the super in depth explanation. Super props for accomplishing that much in three years. Honestly, I think you're right in that I'm ready to go further and my current employer can't support that.
I think chasing those mid level certifications might be what I need for the confidence boost to make it to sysadmin. As of right now, I feel that I'd just have major imposter syndrome, and a lack of the basics that I need to succeed. I can always learn on the job, but there is nothing stopping me from chasing it now.
Did you go through bootcamps or online courses for your certifications? Or just self study and test? I've never been much of a classroom learner, but I've never really tackled anything advanced or in depth like I imagine these mid levels will be.
Self-study. I have a hands-on mentality so I always combined virtualization with whatever I'm studying (Windows Server, Powershell, vSphere, and now Red Hat). Typical routine is reading a certificate study guide and then following along with my Virtual Machine.
I think that's the path I'll take as well. Just need to find some replacements for the MSCE and MSCA. Microsoft killed those January of this year unfortunately.
Maybe it's time to get yourself into a niche market doing IT app support. Focus on a specific app and go all out on it. I've noticed even 15 years ago tiered IT support topped around $45k even so with inflation it's probably around $50k now. It sounds about right.
I've always been super interested in scripting. I love working with PowerShell. But I know DevOps needs a lot more under the hood than just PowerShell. Maybe I should deep dive on the PowerShell and look into consulting for that. Though I always hear everyone should know PowerShell. So there might not be a big market for it.
When you are the master of your domain you control every aspect of your future. When you are not then you are at the mercy of others telling you what things you should know. I think if you are able to become a master at PowerShell and know it inside out you can become a consultant on your own if not do it as a side gig.
Thank you for the encouragement! I appreciate the responses and it's definitely helped me out.