OK, I have a few friends who happen to be sysadmins, or at least in tech jobs, so to help in my job search, I’d like some feedback and opinions on the following.
Theory: I am outgrowing the label “system administrator” and running out of challenges under that umbrella. So, to find the “next big thing” I should probably look for something that doesn’t have the Senior Sysadmin label on it. Probably something like “Perl tools coder” or the generic-sounding “System Engineer”.
Bit of background. I quit college 3.5 years into my 4 year degree when I had an opportunity for a full time job. I have been in SQA (Apple), SQA/Support lead/Sysadmin (a startup) and now Sysadmin and Sysadmin Manager (AltaVista and SGI). I have 10 years’ experience as a Sysadmin, Senior Sysadmin or Sysadmin Manager (5 years of that in management).
While I was a QA tester and QA lead, I started questioning myself as to whether I really wanted to Be A Programmer When I Grew Up. But, I haven’t forgotten about algorithms, data structures, C, asm, etc. Some of the best fun I have had as a sysadmin has been coding stuff in perl (like this thing). Right now, I’m not having fun, and I really want to get the Hell out of IT (I had a lot more fun and challenge on the production side than on the “serving internal users” side).
As a perl coder, I would probably be starting at a lower rung on the ladder, as compared to the Sysadmin game where I’ve got 10 years experience and I’m near the top. It may involve a pay cut (currently I’m at 110k) but it might be worth it if I can get back to my current pay level in 3-4 years and then end up going higher.
It’s possible that I’ll be hampered by not finishing my degree program. If so, an alternative might be to stay as sysadmin for a while, while finishing the degree in night school.
Last to consider but certainly not least, I would still like to find something that involves killing spammers and freeing the world from spam (well, at least reducing it for my customers and contributing micro-inventions that help the cause).
So. Questions for those in the know (or anyone with an opinion).
Does calling myself a System Administrator limit my options, or are there Super System Administrators out there doing what I’d like to do and making bank?
If I start looking for “perl coder” jobs, what would be some of the key words or job titles to look for? What skills or keywords do I need to add to my resume to make me marketable in that way?
Should I go back to night school for a couple years before trying to make this type of switch? Do I really need the degree, or can I get equal value from some targetted training in Java or other topics?
OK, let’s see those comments!!