Career advice: Networking as a career
Premier 100 IT Leader Zack Hicks answers three questions on networking as a career choice
Computerworld - Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader Zack Hicks Title: Vice president and CIO Company: Toyota Motor Sales
Hicks is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering three questions about networking as a career choice. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just got a degree in computer engineering and plan to go into networking, database management and later security. Does this sound feasible, or should I just pick one? If the latter, which one should I pick? First, congratulations on your degree. At Toyota, I encourage my IT associates to rotate through our different technical and nontechnical roles. My path to CIO was by no means a straight line, but I found that the perspectives gained from both technical and nontechnical roles, working with the business, ultimately set me up for success as a CIO. I would encourage you to get as varied experience as you can. That being said, if you find that you have a passion for networking, database management or security, you can find great success in your career by becoming an expert in any of those areas.
And for readers currently in school, I cannot stress enough the importance of a summer internship, which provides exposure to real-life business processes and often gives an edge when applying for a full-time job.
I have a bachelor's in business administration and an A+ certification. Right now I am a network technician, but what I really do is basic help desk support with some network stuff on rare occasions. I would like to expand my expertise and skills in networking and security for a higher-paying job. Is this a reliable route to take? What certifications would you suggest? I've been thinking of getting my Network + but I've heard a lot of people say to get a CCNA instead. Networking is a top skill. Three areas of focus for networking would be wireless, WANs and security. With so many mobile devices coming into the corporate world, in addition to the movement to cloud computing, this is a great space.
I suggest the following network classes and certificates: A CCNA certification (in routing/switching, wireless and security) would be more specific than Network + admin classes and would give you more marketable skills. After that, I suggest you look into a CCNP, if you want to upgrade your network skills further, and a CISSP to round out your security knowledge and experience. Network and security roles are continuing to become more important in my organization. With Toyota Entune, most of our cars have amazing telematics features that require advanced networking services and hardened security. It takes very experienced individuals to provide these services.
I'm wondering whether a move into network support and administration would be a good hedge against outsourcing. I don't want to guess wrong, because I'll have to pay for my own training. Generally, a company's outsourcing strategy is based on the unique needs of the organization. What I have noticed among my peers is that skills such as networking, data/business intelligence and security are, more often than not, locally sourced, but it would be difficult to predict what your experience will be. For whichever area you choose to focus on, my advice would be to spend time understanding the emerging technologies in that space and think creatively as to how they can be applied to business. The ability to demonstrate this type of innovative thinking is highly valued.
More Ask a P100 IT Leader columns
- Career advice: 3 up and coming IT roles
- Career advice: Positioning yourself for big promotions
- Career advice: Kicking your career off with no experience
- Career advice: Learn from your mistakes
- Career advice: Moving into Internet security
- Career advice: What separates leaders from managers?
- Career advice: Do IT pros need to know about business?
- Career advice: Initiating change from below
- Career advice: Where to focus? Data, data, data
- Career advice: Moving to the public sector
Read more about IT Careers in Computerworld's IT Careers Topic Center.
- 2014 IT Workplace Trends and Salary Guide Staying competitive in the IT market can be challenging. This guide provides you with insight into variety of IT workplace trends including, U.S....
- Agility & Scalability for Oracle EBS R12 and RAC on VMware vSphere 5 This white paper outlines extensive performance and scalability testing of Oracle EBS applications on a Vblock™ Systems with vSphere 5.
- Oracle and VCE: The Next Step in Integrated Computing Platforms In this ESG Lab review you will learn how a VCE system driven by Oracle, delivers the perfect blend of high performance and...
- Migrate Oracle Apps from RISC/UNIX to Virtualized x86 Ready to move Oracle to a virtualized environment? This brief explains how true converged infrastructure can help you migrate from a RISC/UNIX environment...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All IT Careers White Papers | Webcasts
Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.