Career Options


This post has been inspired by a task on VMware’s Cloud Credibility so here we go!

Current Situation

I have been at my current company for 17 years now and currently have the title Server Administrator. I started as a student and never escaped! I am pretty comfortable there and I am coasting along. This is not a good thing. Just now I have to do Level 1 to Level 3 tasks. I can go from replacing someones mouse one minute to creating a PowerCLI script to automate part of our MDT process the next. If you want to see more on what I do and how I do it see my previous post I’m Colin Westwater, and this is how I work

I am not afraid to admit to my manager I hate doing the Level 1 and 2 stuff. In general I hate, I repeat HATE doing Help Desk tickets. The problem is I am pretty good at fixing issues, so I seem to get a lot of them. Also as the only IT person on site at a factory with 150 people, I have to deal with a lot of mundane stuff.

Changes are afoot though!

Near Term

My manager made me very happy recently by getting approval for a Help Desk team member to be based at my site. This should mean no more level 1 and 2 stuff. The new person (who starts in three weeks) should take over the bulk of the Help Desk tickets I currently deal with. This will let me concentrate on doing the stuff I love. vSphere, PowerCLI, PowerShell, Windows Server stack, automation, design, learning new technologies and seeing how we can use them, etc. You get the idea.

I am really excited for this change. In the 17 years I have always had to deal with the mundane day to day tickets. It’s going to be a big change for me not to have to do it!

This will help me long term at the company. It’s pretty well known IT is going to be assimilated into our parent company IT department. My manager has told me her goal over the next two years is to develop me as much as possible so that when they come calling, I stand out amongst all the other IT people in the 40+ operating companies they own.

Long Term

17 years is a long time at the same place. As I said I am comfortable there and could have a job for life. I am really thinking hard if that is best for me. I always get to try new technologies, I have a great working environment, good hardware, training opportunities, freedom to set my own day to day goals, and a manager that trusts me to get shit done. All those things mean a lot!

When I am assimilated into the borg, sorry parent owner, I will have a much bigger role and environment to work in. So do I hold off until then and see what happens?

However you never know what job you might find online. The current environment is very traditional enterprise - Microsoft stack with low rates of change. It’s all on premise too. I listen to a lot of podcasts, read a lot of blogs, and my interest is drawn to new tech. I am strong in the on premise Microsoft and VMware stacks, but cloud is an unknown. This needs to change.

The other day I white-boarded a list of what I want, ok, need to learn for my future growth and career:

  • Get my VCAP6-DCV Deploy (with Design as a stretch goal)
  • Better PowerShell skills
  • Better PowerCLI skills
  • Azure
  • AWS
  • Desired State Configuration
  • Config Management tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc.
  • Git/GitHub (and Jekyll so I can migrate this blog to GitHub pages)
  • Server 2016 Certifications
  • Pester/Vester
  • Basic Linux skills It’s quite a list. I guess I need to make a plan and maybe a Kanban board to focus myself on the above.

Dream companies to work for would be VMware and Google. I really admire the VMware culture from meeting VMware employees, the technology, the community around them and the many, many smart people that work there.

And Google, who doesn’t like Google! Really just working for a technology company would be very exciting.

I would really appreciate any comments or hearing from people in the same situation as me - a lifer at a company considering if that’s best for them.