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"Work Small Business...
I was surprised at how little money smaller businesses are willing to invest in updating their technology. It seems like one of the main reasons small business lags behind so often is their lack of desire to put money away for technological improvements." (Network Administrator/Data Processing Manager; 2013)
"Varied Experiences Thrive...
I was surprised that my job required cross knowledge of so many fields outside of networking. I was also surprised that my job included presentations and required speech skills." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"They'll Either Not Know You, Or Hate You...
I was most surprised to find out just how much interaction I would have with the various departments of the organizations I have worked with. It's given me a great big picture understanding of how many different types of businesses operate on higher levels. It's wonderful to be able to learn so much about how each department operates because I have to understand their day to day needs." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"Take The Tough Courses...
I was surprised at the many different levels and opportunities there were in my field to work in. I started my career in Desktop Support and quickly moved to Network Administration. I am now in training to move into the Cyber Security." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"Take On Many Roles And Be Objective, Be Successful...
When I was hired I didn't think my title would have a high concentration in advance field of networking and management decision. I became hands on both virtual environment and networking environment as well as more experience then many other technicians in other companies." (IT Support Assistant; 2013)
"Social Interactions Are Ultimately Important...
The expectations that others have for IT professionals are often surprising and unrealistic. I can fix a multitude of issues off the top of my head, therefore it is expected that I can do the same thing with all of them." (System Engineer; 2013)
"Master One But Learn Them All...
My biggest surprise was seeing how quickly my interests move. When I started college I wanted to work with WAN connectivity but since becoming a network administrator I primarily want to focus on virtualization and storage. The amount I'm able to automate now that I was unable to previously was another big change for me." (LAN Administrator; 2013)
"Learn How To Speak Business...
Television and the movies have seemed to make it look like doing administrative tasks with computers is quick and easy, like you can quickly hack your way into a network or, alternatively, throw up two or three firewalls to quickly deter hackers. It is not really like that. There is a lot of thought and training that goes into successfully running a network, but it is sometimes fun and games." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"Learn Basic Troubleshooting Skills...
I was surprised at the amount of demand you can get from other employees, just because you work with computers. I really thought that being a network administrator meant ONLY working on a network. However, I tend to do a lot more interaction with employees that require work outside of the network." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"How To Choose Your Technical Schooling...
I was surprised so many coworkers do not have degrees. I was surprised how many technical employees want to get into management because they feel the technology has passed them up." (Computer Engineer; 2013)
"Have Your Own Networking Lab...
Communication skills that are needed in positions like network administration are often understated but are almost (not quite) as vital as technical knowhow. Being able to effectively communicate with people of differing technical ability inside and outside the company and taking the initiative to communicate is very important." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"Getting Started And Keeping Ahead Of The Curve...
My surprise for the most part was the amount of End user support I would be doing as a network administrator. I was for the most part expecting to work on systems and networking most my time, but end user support turns out to be quite a large part of tracking down and working out bugs and issues within your network. Not just working with end users however, but good communications between other members of your department are key. Good communication goes a long way to making sure everyone is on the same pages in terms of changes and troubleshooting, as to cut down the need for doing the same job repeatedly. Good interpersonal skills and communication are keys to success!" (Network Administrator; 2013)
What surprises me most is how quickly technology can move. You have to stay on top of what's new because if you don't know the new system by the time it rolls around you have to be trained just like all the other people looking for a job." (Network Specialist; 2013)
"Experience Above All...
I was surprised at the amount of interaction I have with clients. My impression was that I would be working mainly with computers and network devices but you have to have great communications skills in order to properly convey issues and solutions to your clients. I thought I would be ready to jump in and get my hands dirty but your first few months on the job really open your eyes to how much you really don't know." (Network Engineer; 2013)
"Changing Specialties Is OK...
When I first started working with computers, I really enjoyed it. I'm curious by nature, and I loved learning all about them. Honestly, my college work wasn't a basis for the career I fell into with computers. I just wound up as a network admin (and EVERYTHING else - help desk, telephony troubleshooter, programmer...a one-person IT department, if you will) for a small business, and learned on-the-job. What surprised me most, though, was that after a few years, it got very, very old. I felt like I had already learned most of what I needed to know, and I no longer enjoyed fixing problems, rebuilding systems, tweaking the server settings, or any of the other things that I did on a daily basis. The only IT-related function I still actually enjoy is programming. I think it's the fact that there's always a new problem to solve, and always a new way to approach a problem." (Information Technology Coordinator; 2013)
"Better Experience Is Better Pay...
I am surprised at how much you have to deal with office politics. Its not all about fixing computers but making people happy with you and happy with your department, would be surprised how much easier things are when your co-workers like you. Also am surprised on how much school did not get me ready for the real job, I would strongly recommend and internship to learn hands on." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"Always Learning Is Key...
How much down time you can really have. There will be weeks at times with absolutely nothing to do, and this is the norm for all positions I've had. On the other hand, there are times you need to work 80 hours in one week including weekends and late nights." (Network Engineer; 2013)
"Adapt To Change...
I was surprised to see how few jobs there were out there. When I started in college it seemed like there was significantly more jobs out there." (Carpe Facto Advisor; 2013)
"In general there is sometimes a lot of downtime during my work week. Work seems to come in chunks of time, so I may be very busy one week and not all the next, it is hit or miss. Also, you have to have good problem solving skills and be able to manipulate people to get the information you need. This was kind of surprising to me." (Network Engineer; 2013)
"I was surprised about how much the classroom doesn't teach you. I thought I was fully prepared but to apply the knowledge I learned was not necessarily useless, however, it did give me help. The practical application of such knowledge was a bit different than what I expected it to be." (Networking; 2013)
"I was surprised to find out how much hardware knowledge I needed in addition to the software information." (Server Administrator; 2013)
"I was really surprised with how often people complain that something is wrong with a computer on the network, even when nothing is wrong at all. It becomes a bit frustrating at times, but since often nothing goes seriously wrong, it can at least keep you a bit busy at work." (Network Administrator; 2013)
"I was surprised at how much creative writing I needed to do on a daily basis. I was also surprised at how much coding I would be reading." (Editor; 2013)
"I was surprised to find out that being a network administrator, you deal with a lot of customer service. You have the opportunity to see and interact with your customers." (Network Specialist; 2013)
"I was surprised at the importance of being able to search for, acquire and document reliable websites for solving problems. Organizing solutions to common problems that occur in your environment is critical, and it wasn't a topic that got any attention at ITT Tech. I was asked to offer solutions with people hovering over me waiting, which was not something I was prepared for much of the time. However you recall and regurgitate information, become extremely efficient at it." (Infrastructure Technician; 2013)
"While college gave me a broad view of computing, I was surprised at how useful it was in a very specific fields. The courses were more toward programming and theory but still very applicable to things such as learning network topology, configuration, deployment, etc. So I believe that college background was very helpful even in another area of IT." (Network Engineer; 2013)
"I was surprised by the constant need to continue with schooling. It really does get old after awhile, we need to stick one type of system for a few years. That way we can get the best ways of using a system." (System Administrator; 2013)
"I was surprised that I didn't really need a technical degree or specific training to obtain my current job. I am mostly self-taught, though my degree helped me understand how businesses operate and how to fit in at my current institution." (Network Administration; 2012)
"I was surprised to find out exactly how much I didn't know about my field after graduation. When I got my job as Network Administrator, I quickly learned that I still had a lot to learn. I am definitely more knowledgeable now 10 years later, but the learning never stops." (Network Administrator; 2012)
Network Engineer: "The best part of my job is problem solving. I have to think on my feet and sometimes think in detail about how something should work and why it works that way. I also have to figure out in detail what went wrong in order to provide a fix for the problem. The worst part of the job is that sometimes the day can get very long. We are required to work on an on-call basis at all hours of the night." (2011)
Network Engineer As An Army Civilian: "My career is great for people that enjoy always having new challenges. The same problem never occurs twice, so you cannot simply write down instructions for others to solve certain problems when they arise. I enjoy a career that takes advantage of my ability to think about the big picture and identify correlated factors that could be causing the problem. The worst part about the career is attempting to explain the degree of difficulty of work to your supervisors and managers. Most of the time, these people are not technically oriented themselves, and do not understand the intricacies of the technology." (2011)
Network Administrator: "Take as many courses as you can. Take the ones you think you may not succeed in or ones you don't like. Chances are, you will like them and choose that area as a concentration. Furthermore, it will be the path that you will love the most about your career." (2013)
Information Technology Coordinator: "Don't be afraid to change your specialty in IT as you progress through your career. While I still have to be a jack of all trades, I mostly consider myself a programmer now, even though that's not close to the only thing I do." (2013)
Server Administrator: "Subscribe to as many relevant information sources as you can, to keep current in the field." (2013)
Network Administrator: "Always stay on top of new information when it comes to the IT field. Technology is changes daily, and even if you knew everything about a field several years ago, often you'll be left behind if you don't keep up with the ever-changing career field." (2013)
Editor: "I would recommend to read and write as much as you can in whatever you are interested in." (2013)
Network Specialist: "You should always study the latest technology. It changes so much these days and you need to be on top of it all." (2013)
Infrastructure Technician: "Discern the difference between what can be googled and what cannot, and focus on committing to memory what cannot easily be looked up." (2013)
Network Engineer: "Be sure to make friends and keep up with them post-college. Lots of leads and job opportunities come from referrals. It's very important to be able to have others for recommendations to employers. So try to be somewhat social during your studies if possible." (2013)
System Administrator: "the programming courses always offered the most challenge. I did manage to easily pass them, the classes were not that difficult for me. I recommended that my fellow classmates follow my lead. this of course lead to great success for the class." (2013)
Network Administrator: "Get as much on the job training as you can, most places are looking for people with experience. Your starting pay may not be great but don't worry about it, within 5 years you will be making what you thought." (2013)
IT Support Assistant: "By taking on many roles and interests in the different part of networking will help you become favorable chosen for many projects. Being objective in the networking fields helps make you stand out and chosen to be a team leader." (2013)
LAN Administrator: "Learn about multiple systems. Don't put your eggs in one basket. Learn MAC OS, Linux, and Windows but become an expert in at least one." (2013)
Computer Engineer: "As a student, call a company you want to work for and ask to speak to the department you think you ant to be in, ask them what course of study or school could prepare you for the job. Community colleges have very affordable classes and often have technical courses." (2013)
Network Administrator: "Don't expect to find a Systems admin or network admin job right out of school. Even find a Junior position will be quite difficult without prior experience. Don't be afraid to get your feet wet with internships and Help desk positions while keeping your eye out for the career starting jobs your looking for. Experience is key, and don't be afraid to take initiative and challenge your self with new tasks, and ALWAYS stay ahead of the tech curve. Keep yourself informed of new technologies and study up on your area of expertise constantly as the moment your knowledge is behind you'll find your opportunities dwindling." (2013)
Network Administrator/Data Processing Manager: "If you want to be more than just a name in someone's email, work in small business. Far better feelings of belonging there." (2013)
Network Administrator: "If you're starting to go into networking, get GNS3 and make your own lab environment (better yet, get some cheap Cisco gear). Running your own labs and getting comfortable with troubleshooting issues is vital in your role." (2013)
Network Administrator: "Probably the best tip I can offer for prospective Network Admins is to be prepared for long odd hours, and lots of stress. More so than most other departments, if yours fails, everyone fails. When things are good, nobody notices you, but when it breaks, and it will, every eye is upon you." (2013)
Network Administrator: "It might not seem important, but brush up on basic troubleshooting steps and computer repair. At least several times a week I end up upgrading RAM; un-jamming printers; or helping with a simple spreadsheet question. Don't be afraid to work a first job that requires this experience, it is great practice!" (2013)
Network Engineer: "Strive for new certifications that will advance your career. You can never stop learning, or else you will end up unemployed." (2013)
Network Engineer: "I would suggest that you get as much hands on experience as you can possibly get. Volunteer someplace if you need to or build a home lab, study hard for the CCNA Routing & Switching Exam." (2013)
Carpe Facto Advisor: "Be prepared to constantly evolve to a changing environment. Technology is constantly developing and you need to be able to shift with it." (2013)
Network Specialist: "Aim for company specific certifications to get in good with them." (2013)
Network Administrator: "Learn to work in groups and learn as much about related fields as possible." (2013)
System Engineer: "People skills are an absolute must. If you isolate yourself socially you are easily dismissed professionally. Find time to integrate yourself into the social fabric of your office and not let yourself get drawn into the depths of IT focus." (2013)
Network Administrator: "If you want to be successful in network administration, make sure that you learn some business skills. In today's market, the geek who can speak the business language with the CEO will go much father." (2013)
Network Engineer: "You need to have a high level of interest in computers and networks. Continue to study. This type of career requires you to study and take new certification tests every few years. You have to be able to keep up with the changes in technology. Take college courses. You will get more detailed and practical instructions. However, it is possible to do a self study program. I did it that way. It has been difficult and I have had to work harder, but it is possible." (2011)
Network Engineer As An Army Civilian: "1) Volunteer to work on an projects that come up, as they are all opportunities to expand your knowledge and network with people in your company. It will be a big help when you want to advance your career. 2) When starting off, be knowledgeable on topics covered by the CompTIA exams (A+, Security+ and Network+). If you can obtain these certifications, they will help you get your foot in the door when you are starting out. 3) The IT career field can get stressful when things aren't working right. Stay level-headed, and remember not to burn bridges with anyone you are working with. You never know when you may next need their help." (2011)