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Switching Career into App Development RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I am 34 yrs old IT networking professional with 10 yrs of experience. The IT networking industry is changed a lot in terms of salaries, stability, and job security. Salaries reach lower rates these days than in the past decade. Before (in 2000), MCSE was the golden axe in the IT industry and the CCIE was the most hard-to-get cert. These two certs were the highest paying salaries due to low number of the certified individuals. Because now this number is increased , salaries and job security aren't guaranteed. Even though the CCIE is still hard to get, many CCIErs complain about low paying jobs.

    Straight to the point....

    I am thinking of changing my career into application development. I find programming is still holding itself together. Not everyone is a programmer though because of its hard studying, number of hours infront of the screen, and debugging time. Also, i find programming is a creative career. For example, i can create my own application and sell it or i can work as a freelance. I can't imagine how the IT networking freelance job looks like. Do i sell my routing or switching design? Do i sell my Active Directory or Exchange design?  .. Most employers hire engineers to do this job in full time without needing you. But in programming, you can spend months or years (it depends) to develop something that you can sell it by yourself. In other words, job security is achieved even if you are not a full time engineer. As well, employers are in constant need for developers more than for IT networking pros.

    I would like you to share with me your ideas and advices. I am in extremely need for advices from experts.

    Friday, September 6, 2013 10:26 PM

Answers

  • Hello David!

    Let me tell you what I see from my vantage point.  The vast majority of IT jobs pay the same.  If you are a senior level guy on servers, applications, network, virtualization, telephony, or something else - you will have a very similar compensation (assuming same location, experience, certifications, expertise).  For application development, same thing.  Same pay as network and systems jobs.  Obviously, for the sake of this discussion, I've greatly simplified things.  If your only goal is to make more money, here are what I think your best options are.

    1. Go into sales or a sales engineering role (with the goal of moving into dedicated sales at some point).  The potential to make more money is there and if you are in the right location and with the right company, you can make a lot more money.  Of course, there is a bit more risk - you may make less for a year or two, you may not hold jobs as long, and you may not find the work very interesting.
    2. Specialize in an area that is cutting edge, new, niche, etc.  Right now, that's cloud.  This is true whether you are a systems guy, a network guy, or a developer.  But there are always niche segments where the talent pool is low and wages go up.  Some areas of security are like that.  This generally means more time experimenting, studying, keeping up to date on skills though.
    3. Go into management.  For some, there isn't an interest.  And, in general, you will make less money when you start out in management.  It could take a few years to make that back.

    So really, you have to decide if money is the only thing at play here.  Are you bored?  Are you looking for more excitement?  Do you want to work less hour or more hours than you do today? 

    I think that a development career change would be good because it will be new for a long time.  You may get renewed, have motivation, etc.  I'd recommend starting off on the side with self-study and hobby projects.  See if you really like it once you dive in a bit more.

    As far as consulting / side work.  There is side work for every area of IT.  It is everywhere.  Many people I know are turning down projects because they are booked solid (and that is just on the side).  You don't really sell "Exchange designs".  You help a customer move from a legacy version of Exchange to a new one.  You don't sell an AD design but you might help a customer overhaul their Group Policy.  Customers are always looking for help on big projects - migrations to Office 365, virtualization projects, data center relocations, business continuity/disaster recovery. 

    Maybe all you need is 20% more money at your current job and a few side projects for extra cash and some "fun".  I'd recommend grabbing some new certifications, jumping into the cloud a bit, and then seeing what your market value is.

    Brian

    Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:34 PM

All replies

  • Anybody?!!
    Saturday, September 7, 2013 5:53 PM
  • Hello David!

    Let me tell you what I see from my vantage point.  The vast majority of IT jobs pay the same.  If you are a senior level guy on servers, applications, network, virtualization, telephony, or something else - you will have a very similar compensation (assuming same location, experience, certifications, expertise).  For application development, same thing.  Same pay as network and systems jobs.  Obviously, for the sake of this discussion, I've greatly simplified things.  If your only goal is to make more money, here are what I think your best options are.

    1. Go into sales or a sales engineering role (with the goal of moving into dedicated sales at some point).  The potential to make more money is there and if you are in the right location and with the right company, you can make a lot more money.  Of course, there is a bit more risk - you may make less for a year or two, you may not hold jobs as long, and you may not find the work very interesting.
    2. Specialize in an area that is cutting edge, new, niche, etc.  Right now, that's cloud.  This is true whether you are a systems guy, a network guy, or a developer.  But there are always niche segments where the talent pool is low and wages go up.  Some areas of security are like that.  This generally means more time experimenting, studying, keeping up to date on skills though.
    3. Go into management.  For some, there isn't an interest.  And, in general, you will make less money when you start out in management.  It could take a few years to make that back.

    So really, you have to decide if money is the only thing at play here.  Are you bored?  Are you looking for more excitement?  Do you want to work less hour or more hours than you do today? 

    I think that a development career change would be good because it will be new for a long time.  You may get renewed, have motivation, etc.  I'd recommend starting off on the side with self-study and hobby projects.  See if you really like it once you dive in a bit more.

    As far as consulting / side work.  There is side work for every area of IT.  It is everywhere.  Many people I know are turning down projects because they are booked solid (and that is just on the side).  You don't really sell "Exchange designs".  You help a customer move from a legacy version of Exchange to a new one.  You don't sell an AD design but you might help a customer overhaul their Group Policy.  Customers are always looking for help on big projects - migrations to Office 365, virtualization projects, data center relocations, business continuity/disaster recovery. 

    Maybe all you need is 20% more money at your current job and a few side projects for extra cash and some "fun".  I'd recommend grabbing some new certifications, jumping into the cloud a bit, and then seeing what your market value is.

    Brian

    Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:34 PM