Looking for a Career Path



  • So I'm an intern for Niagara Technology Group, and I'm looking into a full career in IT. Not sure exactly what certifications I want to focus on, or what types of skills I want under my belt, as I don't quite know which field I want to be working in. My idea is to not deal with a lot of customers, but I'm looking for suggestions. Any ideas or opinions from past experiences would be great!



  • If you don't want to deal with a lot of customers/users, you will probably want to try to hit the engineer level in my opinion. I spend a lot of time on the front lines, as it were. I still don't entirely know which direction I am pursuing in the IT field, but I am keeping wide open to suggestions.

    Even for non-customer facing, IT is a wide field. You can be a programmer, an engineer, system admin. When I was focusing on certs, I was intending to get a cert for A+, Network+, and Security+. That is where I intended to start, and that will almost certainly help you to get a foot up.

    Hope this helps.



  • Areas like storage and platform engineering tend to get you really far away from end users. UNIX servers tend to be far away. Network stuff. Most infrastructure faces customers very little.



  • Thanks! I'll keep those options in mind. Already starting to get networking certifications and such, but I do have a question. This may seem rather naïve or unintelligible, but what exactly is UNIX? OR should that be a something I should ask on the IT thread or google?



  • UNIX is a family of operating systems. Unlike Windows which is just Windows, UNIX is a family, not a thing. Famous members of the family are Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OSX, IBM AIX, Solaris, HP-UX.

    All UNIX members share certain characteristics but they are all very unique. They share a programming interface standard called POSIX.



  • Linux is actually a sub family of its own. With members like RHEL, Suse, Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, etc.



  • @scottalanmiller I agree - the *NIX operating systems are similar in nature, but are all different flavours in a family.



  • Thank you for clearing that up. Always heard those terms thrown around, but never actually discerned what it was.



  • UNIX is more proprietary. Linux is basically Unix that a Norwegian named Linus Torvalds took and modified. Linus' Unix is where the term Linux comes from. If you really want to get some good background on Linux and the whole open-source movement, watch the movie "Revolution OS". It's a documentary. There is a TON of good info in there that will give you insight and background on where a lot of things got started. The history of the GNU GPL, Creative Commons, terms like open-source, etc. I have the file. If you want it, let me know.

    Linux is CRUCIAL to be good in the IT field.



  • Virtualization is also crucial. Go VMware if anything. They are the clear-cut kings in the field. To be honest, no one else comes close. Xen is probably the closest after them. Hyper-V is a waste of time IMHO.



  • Also, as much as I hate to say it, have at least a basic understanding of Cisco. Most enterprise uses it to at least some degree. While I don't care for them overall personally, it's important to know some. The more important thing to know is the principles behind what they use that are an industry standard for all networking equipment. Learn ports, protocols, purposes and practicality.



  • Understanding the history behind a lot of these things is good too. While practically no one (I hope) uses a token ring network model anymore, or a BNC/vampire tap, it's good to know how things got started and progressed. Understanding that will give you context and help you understand why the field moved the way it did and help you understand why it's moving the way it is as well as help you see where it will go.



  • Lots of good stuff, thank you A.J.



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    Lots of good stuff, thank you A.J.

    Not a problem. Half the battle of initially getting into IT for MOST people is they don't know where to start. If you don't have a mentor who knows the field it can be VERY difficult. I see it a lot. People try to learn 50 different things because they keep getting pulled in different directions. Knowing two or three things VERY well beats knowing fifty things kinda every time. A jack-of-all-trades will get an L1 or MAYBE an L2 job. Engineers are specialists who have "minors" in other topics. But being subpar at tons of things is just a sign of not being able to settle on a choice or shows a lack of commitment to learning/lack of dedication.



  • @ajstringham said:

    UNIX is more proprietary. Linux is basically Unix that a Norwegian named Linus Torvalds took and modified.

    UNIX is only an open standard. There is nothing proprietary whatsoever in UNIX.

    Linux is more than basically UNIX, it is UNIX. The creator of UNIX called it the reference implementation actually.

    Linus is Finnish. Finland has no relationship with Norway and isn't even Scandinavian.



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    Thank you for clearing that up. Always heard those terms thrown around, but never actually discerned what it was.

    UNIX comes from the early 1970s and took a long time to really gain ground. The idea was so good that it eventually eliminated most competition.

    Today only Windows and UNIX have any real presence in business computing.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @ajstringham said:

    UNIX is more proprietary. Linux is basically Unix that a Norwegian named Linus Torvalds took and modified.

    UNIX is only an open standard. There is nothing proprietary whatsoever in UNIX.

    Linux is more than basically UNIX, it is UNIX. The creator of UNIX called it the reference implementation actually.

    Linus is Finnish. Finland has no relationship with Norway and isn't even Scandinavian.

    Ok, I couldn't remember if it was Norwegian or Finnish. And wow, okay. I had no idea Finland was not part of Scandinavia. That's news to me...



  • @scottalanmiller I don't believe there is even a Mac Server OS, is there? And I mean Mac. Not something Linux pretending.



  • @ajstringham said:

    Understanding the history behind a lot of these things is good too. While practically no one (I hope) uses a token ring network model anymore....

    What about FCoTR



  • @ajstringham said:

    @scottalanmiller I don't believe there is even a Mac Server OS, is there? And I mean Mac. Not something Linux pretending.

    Oddly there is. But no server hardware to deploy it on. There is a Mac Mini config that they designate as a server. Uses RAID 1.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @ajstringham said:

    Understanding the history behind a lot of these things is good too. While practically no one (I hope) uses a token ring network model anymore....

    What about FCoTR

    Interesting...never heard of that before...



  • @ajstringham said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @ajstringham said:

    Understanding the history behind a lot of these things is good too. While practically no one (I hope) uses a token ring network model anymore....

    What about FCoTR

    Interesting...never heard of that before...

    Storage industry inside joke. 🙂



  • @scottalanmiller There used to be hardware for Mac OSX server - the XServe. The Fruit company quit with that in 2010.
    You can read about it here.



  • When I was at IBM in 2001 we were still in 4Mb/a token ring. It was horrible.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @ajstringham said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @ajstringham said:

    Understanding the history behind a lot of these things is good too. While practically no one (I hope) uses a token ring network model anymore....

    What about FCoTR

    Interesting...never heard of that before...

    Storage industry inside joke. 🙂

    Ok, so it's not real? Don't screw with me like this. I don't have the adequate understanding to differentiate between a joke and a fact at that level yet.



  • @Katie said:

    @scottalanmiller There used to be hardware for Mac OSX server - the XServe. The Fruit company quit with that in 2010.
    You can read about it here.

    It was always a weak offering. Dual proc but only three drive bays. The Mac Mini option is nearly as good.



  • @katie So does Apple use Windows Server to manage their computers or is it just a free-for-all at HQ?



  • Apple runs predominantly on RHEL. They use a bit of AIX too.



  • @ajstringham said:

    @katie So does Apple use Windows Server to manage their computers or is it just a free-for-all at HQ?

    I cant remember, since it's been about 7 years since I worked for them. I vaguely remember a mixed server environment. It's likely quite a bit different now.



  • @Katie said:

    @ajstringham said:

    @katie So does Apple use Windows Server to manage their computers or is it just a free-for-all at HQ?

    I cant remember, since it's been about 7 years since I worked for them. I vaguely remember a mixed server environment. It's likely quite a bit different now.

    I think that'd be pretty funny...


Log in to reply