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I'm a recent graduate and took my first job working temporarily -- but wonder if I should actively p

Being a recent IT graduate -- my degree is in networking computing ? and I have finally (with difficulty) begun my first job. It involves installing and running the network infrastructure around buildings, so that Network Engineers/Server installation crews can connect computers through the network. It is temporary (two months) because they are busy with contract obligations and need as much help as possible carrying out work.

My experiences after two weeks of being in the job are good, because I am pulling though Cat5 UTP (laying the cable, etc.), wiring up patch units and getting proper hands-on experience in fitting network points and testing, etc. However, there is no software side to it.

My question is this;
Should I actively search for a new position with more network software side (servers/routers/troubleshooting, etc.) or should I make a full play for this potential position, even if they offer me a full-time and proper contract? Or should I use this as experience and attempt to break into a more network admin position?
A wise person once told me that the answer to all really good questions begin with the same two words--namely "That depends..." In your particular case, the key lies in deciding how important that software component is on the job. If you really want to work with both hardware and software, or if you lean more toward the software side of network admin, then the answer is probably "start looking." That said, I always urge people not to quit their current jobs until they find their next jobs, reminding them of the old saying "It's a lot easier to find a new job when you already have a job, than to find a new job when you have no job." Truth to tell, it's probably also easier to make a good decision about what to do next when you don't have to worry about covering living expenses (which is always easier when you're employed, at least in my experience).

Once you make your decision, you can take appropriate action. Among the many things you should do include a candid talk with your manager at some point, to let her or him know about your broader (or different) interests, to explore other possibilities that may exist for a lateral transfer or some other kind of job change that keeps you working for the same outfit that currently employs you. Since they know you already, and probably are getting some idea about your talents and abilities, it should be interesting to explore whether or not your "perceived value" is high enough that they'll want to keep you around, even if it's in some other role than the one they originally hired you to perform.

This was last published in April 2004

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