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Moving up from MCSE

Molly advises a network engineer on how to plan the next career move. Moving up Molly advises a network engineer on how to plan the next career move.

Dear Molly: I have an MCSE and have been working as a network engineer for a couple of years. I am starting to get bored with my job, but as far as I can tell, if I change jobs I will end of doing the same thing I am doing now. How can I manage my career so I do not end up spending 10 years doing the same old thing?

Molly says: At this point, you have two options: Plan a move into management or prepare yourself to take on senior IT jobs. Either way, you need to gather some information and sketch out a plan for yourself. Otherwise, you are correct–you could spend an entire decade doing the same thing.

If you like working with people, aiming at a management position might be a good goal. You would likely manage one or more groups of fellow IT workers and sit in on lots of meetings with other managers. If you like working on your own, moving up the ladder of technical problem-solving would be your best bet.

Prepare yourself to do some ongoing research about what these jobs are like and what kind of experience you’ll need while you plot out your next career moves. Computer trade associations are the best places to get general information about IT jobs. You can also get a lot of information from Web sites run by major recruiting firms and from online forums that cater to MCSE professionals. Microsoft runs such a forum, which is open to anyone with a current MCSE.

Here are a few Web sites that offer more information about planning your career: the IEEE Computer Society (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Monster.com, and the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) resources on the Microsoft Web site.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]

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