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Is system or networking a better career path in terms of growth and money?

How do you choose between networking and system careers? Ed Tittel offers his advice.

Dear Sir,

I have an engineering diploma in Electronics and Communications. I have 5+ years of experience in Enterprise Communication Systems, but unfortunately there was not much growth in this track. Now I want to switch into the IT sector. For that, I have completed CCNA and MCP certifications. I have a job as a desktop support engineer and I am not satisfied with this job. I am very confused right now. I need your advice about what career path I should choose, system or networking, in terms of growth and money.


Dear Sir:

The distinction between system and networks is growing progressively more fuzzy with time, so that Microsoft certified IT professionals perforce must know a lot about networking, and networking professionals must know a fair amount to a lot about the host operating systems on their networks, particularly those used to provide common network services such as DHCP, DNS, directory services, Web and file transfer, remote access and VPN, e-mail, and so forth. Thus, I would recommend following whichever path appeals to you most so that your interest and enthusiasm can be most fully engaged if at all possible, knowing that both system and network administration paths ultimately lead to many of the same career destinations, long-term. That said, if you can't make up your mind, do some analysis of locally available jobs and cold-bloodedly pick the pathway that offers the most job opportunities. It's not the most sure-fire way to predict the situation when you become fully geared up for your next job, but it's a workable and defensible planning strategy.

Hope that helps, and thanks for posting,



This was last published in January 2007

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