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Topic # 67677 6-Sep-2010 19:40
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Hi

I am considering further study, both networking and programming appeal to me .To help me decide which course to study I would be interested to hear from people

- What is your job title 
- What sort of daily tasks do you do in your role
- What study did you do to get there?
-What is the sort of pay for your role

Thanks in advance for your answers

 

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  Reply # 377381 7-Sep-2010 08:45
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Travelguy: Hi

I am considering further study, both networking and programming appeal to me .To help me decide which course to study I would be interested to hear from people

- What is your job title 
- What sort of daily tasks do you do in your role
- What study did you do to get there?
-What is the sort of pay for your role

Thanks in advance for your answers

 


LL's rules of thumb: 

1. Creating pays better than managing and tends to offer better scope for the Big Win.
2. Programmers have to completely re-tool (languages / platforms) every decade or so or risk becoming obselete
3. Networks are technology-based and more and more "smarts" are built into the hardware making people less and less relevant.....but mainly less numerous....unless you're physically connecting wires to stuff, which doesn't usually require too much tertiary study. 
4. Your head gets tired over time. Programming - especially in the pressure-cooker sausage factories - has real burn-out potential. If you can, get your skills up and then think hard about how you can create something the world will buy.

Bottom line though - in my experience after 30 years in IT: if you have imagination, then get into programming. If you don't.....then get into networking and later on, management: Keep stuff running and do what needs doing (as defined by the business leaders).  I have a bias to the creative side, but that's only because I went the other way because it was easier....and wish I hadn't. But at the time - you don't know what you don't know. I didn't know. I was a mainframe systems programmer.....a job now almost extinct. Careful about that. That's why I say write code. Coding won't be extinct. :-)  

Note: You can usually see - 5 years out - the development that is going to make your current job obselete. I did...and got out of the way before everyone else got the push. But you have to pay attention. 

 






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  Reply # 381929 19-Sep-2010 17:03
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Travelguy: Hi

I am considering further study, both networking and programming appeal to me .To help me decide which course to study I would be interested to hear from people

- What sort of daily tasks do you do in your role

-What is the sort of pay for your role



 

Hmm.
Really with programming, yes you can learn it but that doesn't necessarily make you a really good programmer.

It's part Art too.

It's a creative thing - you can slap some tangled code together and make it work (kind of how I did back in Tech_ or you can write short, neat, brilliant code.
A friend of mine was like that - it was amazing........she went on to become very sought after. Naturally.

So, you any good at it, should be question number one.

And whats excites you? Code or networks?

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  Reply # 381982 19-Sep-2010 19:35
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Linuxluver:

LL's rules of thumb: 

1. Creating pays better than managing and tends to offer better scope for the Big Win.
2. Programmers have to completely re-tool (languages / platforms) every decade or so or risk becoming obselete
3. Networks are technology-based and more and more "smarts" are built into the hardware making people less and less relevant.....but mainly less numerous....unless you're physically connecting wires to stuff, which doesn't usually require too much tertiary study. 
4. Your head gets tired over time. Programming - especially in the pressure-cooker sausage factories - has real burn-out potential. If you can, get your skills up and then think hard about how you can create something the world will buy.

Bottom line though - in my experience after 30 years in IT: if you have imagination, then get into programming. If you don't.....then get into networking and later on, management: Keep stuff running and do what needs doing (as defined by the business leaders).  I have a bias to the creative side, but that's only because I went the other way because it was easier....and wish I hadn't. But at the time - you don't know what you don't know. I didn't know. I was a mainframe systems programmer.....a job now almost extinct. Careful about that. That's why I say write code. Coding won't be extinct. :-)  

Note: You can usually see - 5 years out - the development that is going to make your current job obselete. I did...and got out of the way before everyone else got the push. But you have to pay attention. 

Offering a counter-point to the above, I'm from the networking side of the fence and pseudo-management (I have a team of about 30 across several countries).

In my experience, very senior networking specialists (architects, consultants, managers) will earn more than programmers.  I also think that in networking there is a certain amount of creativity required as it is an extremely complex field that requires you to think on your feet, and design solutions that will work / be flexible / meet requirements (both business and technical).  It is a different type of creativity to programming, but there are common traits in that you often inherit messes (or create them!), need to manage those messes, and you need to think several steps ahead when developing the solution so you don't park yourself in a corner.

Equally, network technology changes fairly rapidly (witness TDM, ATM, Ethernet, IP, MPLS, evolution), so retooling yourself technologywise is also a significant component of the talented network tech.

One side effect of the networks becoming smarter and more automated is that the field has become far more specialised and consultants are in big demand, which means variety in work, customers, and locations.  I travel extensively and am rarely bored in what I do, because it changes.  Projects can range in scope from very short (1 week or less) to major: 5-10 years.

I enjoy networking because it's a challenge and rarely are two networks the same.  In my role I focus on the technology, but this also means translating "business" to "technology" and vise-versa - this is something that many technologists (and creatives) struggle with and is very valuable.

My personal bias is towards networks because I find programming boring (although I can do it) - and there is a lot of pride to see your work in use by every day people.  Sometimes I look back to projects I've worked on - often because I see someone using them without even realising it - and think, "I did that, and I changed the lives of millions of people with that project".  Obviously the same can be done with programming, but seeing the outcome of a successful 3G rollout is easier.

The burnout comments apply in both fields.  You will get tired and you will face burnout - I have been there and it's not pleasant.  I still struggle to effectively manage the stress and keep myself motivated; but it can be done.  Always set your boundaries and ensure that you take breaks or you will hate your job regardless of the career track.

PH.

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  Reply # 382537 20-Sep-2010 23:36
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If I had to start it all over again I would learn development skills.  Ideally at least be able to write your own code from scratch in java/c/c++/.Net/C# all of those languages will guarentee a job of some sort or another (not so sure about how much though).  I still regret to this day not spending a year learning C++ while I had the time.  While at Uni you have the opportunity to learn programming skills as you tend to spend a few years there learning how to program different languages.

Networking or Infrastructure as I prefer to think of it IMHO isn't something you can really learn at University.  You can learn the IP stack and the basics of routing and the ISO layers etc, you can learn how to install windows and to desktop or server support, analyize a lan trace, plug up a SAN and build VMs, setup secure wifi.  But the only way you really learn is on the job and making a few mistakes along the way and not breaking anything to critical, or if you do fix it before anyone finds out ;)

If you have the time or interest trying to get an entry level job (or unpaid) at a smaller IT services company or working at the Uni's IT department while attending Uni would offer up real world options about what really interests you.

Infrastructure you need to be more of a people person than you do as a Developer.  Since you will more often than not deal with a larger pool of people as part of your daily job.





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  Reply # 382542 21-Sep-2010 00:26
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Depends on which environment you want to work in; generally speaking, in Telecommunications industry, I find the the two usually converge, speaking from experience.

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  Reply # 382567 21-Sep-2010 07:54
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Go for accounting or law. At least they are industries protected by a professional body.

The big drawbacks with IT, any muppet can call themselves an IT architect. Not that having a degree means you will be a good programmer.

It is my feeling NZ programming salaries have dropped . I started on 35k in the early 90's. How much would an IT grad get now?

Now, the good thing about programming - there really is a lot of money to be made if you are willing to work outside NZ. There are also more opportunities overseas, roles that seemed locked out in NZ will drop into your lap overseas.

Specialise in big business application software That can be rewarding, especially if you can work in the development center for a while.

I've always looked on the network people as the people who fix the stuff for those who do the real work. Fix my printer, fix my internet wah wah wah. I'd never get into network stuff myself. You might find yourself becoming the photocopier paper person.














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  Reply # 382596 21-Sep-2010 10:14
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Programming and networking are not mutually exclusive as career tracks (especially in regards to 'creativity'), and depending on where your career eventually takes you, both disciplines and areas of knowledge could be extremely useful to you.

I've met plenty of programmers without much creativity, and plenty of network engineers and architects with loads of it. What you might want to pursue in the short term should probably be driven by what you will be more passionate about and the type of work activity that will give you a real buzz each day you go to work. In the longer term, you may well decide to take a 'management' track or pursue a completely different speciality area...but that's for the future!

Learning to program or develop is imminently achievable for most people (though not everyone has the aptitude or desire for it) and is probably a little more accessible when starting out compared to the more specialised network field.

The IT industry is becoming more 'professional' with the advent of qualifications like the ITCP (http://www.itcp.co.nz/) but it is true there are plenty of people passing themselves off as 'architects' and whatnot. Caveat emptor still applies.


In terms of my own situation: I'm an 'Enterprise Architect' of sorts, having studied computer science and commerce many moons ago, and was mainly interested in software engineering and operating systems. I joined a big name global consulting firm but stayed specialised in technology with my early assignments all focused on programming and development (that I loved, mostly) but quickly gained exposure to testing, systems analysis, and system operations & management including stuff like databases, middleware and a little networking. Roles then progressed into leadership and management functions.

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  Reply # 382603 21-Sep-2010 10:26
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wreck90: Go for accounting or law. At least they are industries protected by a professional body.

The big drawbacks with IT, any muppet can call themselves an IT architect. Not that having a degree means you will be a good programmer.



Conversely this can work in your favour if you want to travel and work - I have worked in Ireland, London, Ausi and NZ in IT (software background and now in Business Intelligence) and the great thing about IT work is there are no localised qualifications that need to be taken into account, like there is in medicine, legal, trades (sparkies etc) - you can get a job with the skills you have (ignoring visas etc but even then countries have special categories for skilled IT workers).

Having a degree or other qualification in IT means you understand the basics of the technology but there is always the business side to learn and budgets to get in the way and users to please.

Best piece of advice I have ever read in regards to IT and qualifications/education is to aim for both a high level IT qualification (Masters etc) AND an MBA - not that that's what I have (yet), but it shows understanding of both sides of a business.

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  Reply # 382608 21-Sep-2010 10:56
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Travelguy: Hi

I am considering further study, both networking and programming appeal to me .To help me decide which course to study I would be interested to hear from people

- What is your job title 
- What sort of daily tasks do you do in your role
- What study did you do to get there?
-What is the sort of pay for your role

Thanks in advance for your answers

 


im a programmer, but focusing now on web development/designer/devigner (asp.net, freelancing in PHP).

my daily tasks involve coding, designing websites, researching new technologies, testing.  i do quite a bit with databases.

i did a BSc at University of auckland

i started on $40k in 2006 straight out of uni, but i know friends who started on $36k.

Personally i would go do the programming route, just because i think it would be easier to pick up some extra cash when needed by doing freelance work.  and its great being able to need a piece of software that doesnt exist and just creating it. 

programming is going more and more web/cloud so learn AJAX, jQuery and ASP.net will get you far.  at teched this year basically the biggest thing was the cloud and everyone was pushing it. also if you have design skills that will come in handy, people like having one person doing two jobs :)

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  Reply # 389401 8-Oct-2010 03:32
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wreck90:
It is my feeling NZ programming salaries have dropped . I started on 35k in the early 90's. How much would an IT grad get now?
A few years ago I got mid 50k plus generous benefits straight out Uni, but I think the typical amount for a run of a mill grad is still about 35k? maybe high 30s. But it varies a lot, an old flatmate of mine who is really good can now get about 100k and he is only a few years out of uni. But I think he started in his first job in mid 30s ish? He has a changed a few jobs since then, plus pay rises of course.




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  Reply # 389787 9-Oct-2010 01:36
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I also started on 50k as a C#/.NET/ASP.NET developer in 2003, was pretty much straight out of uni.

I had reasonable enough grades, previous general work experienece and had done a significant real work practical work experience project/paper for my last year which probably helped.

That was 7 years ago, so onwards and upwards from there. 

There are a number of recruitment agencies that do pretty sensible salary guides every year for what to expect in what role with what experience in what area/city.  HaysIT one is decent from memory.

Some more thoughts on programming vs networking:

There are many opportunities as either a general or a specialist in IT, the huge range of IT things that need doing now that non geeks can't get their head around is large.

Given in NZ most general businesses are fairly small and there is quite a lot of demand for IT generalists who know programming/scripting/hardware/networking to a solid enough level that they can get whatever needs to be done sorted themselves and otherwise organize and properly spec/supervise getting work done by a specialist contractor as/if needed.

Obviously the specialist work is being done by business that needs specialists, so there are roles there too.

Basically there is huge demand for all sorts of IT roles, it really comes down to what you enjoy doing.









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