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Next Move: career advice for IT professionals

Tracey Abbott

No degree, dead-end IT job, where do I go?

I am an IT administrator responsible for 300 Windows XP clients and 20 Windows 2003 servers. I deal with all sever related problems, user support, and some development. At home, I use Linux and code in C and Python. I have been in my job for three years and have no prospects for promotion. I want to move on but I do not have a degree. What do you suggest?

Look for a systems admin or security role

Having a degree is not a prerequisite to secure a new role. Most companies say candidates must be "of graduate calibre". You have shown tenacity and dedication to working in the IT world, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the response you get should you start to look for another position.

As always, before you put your toe in the water, I recommend that you speak to your boss. You say there is nothing that the company could do in terms of offering you a promotion, but is there something that you could improve with the systems? Perhaps you could present this as a project for you to work on. Is there something in the source code that you could use your C skills to streamline or improve?

If not, look at systems administration or network security roles. Both are technical and would utilise your existing skills.

The systems administrator is responsible for the efficient use of the company's network. They ensure that all of the components, hardware, software and networks fit together and work properly. With network security roles, you would get involved in planning, co-ordinating and implementing data security. Both require further training but would increase your earnings and your interest levels.

 

Read more next moves >> 

IT security: the expert view >>

Risk and reward as a data defender >> 


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