• IT's Your Career

    My name is Anthony, I served 7 years in the United States Air Force as an Information Security Analyst. Getting out of the military was a hard task, it is not something that you can just do. There are lists upon lists of things you must do in order to prepare yourself for the "Civilian world". You have been conditioned, you do not understand how the outside world works you are essentially back to square one.

    You are good with computers, you know your stuff. You understand packet flow, traffic analysis, cryptography, etc, etc... You are known to your co-workers as the "Computer Guy". You just left a life where everything was provided to you, you must now work on your own. It is a scary world out there, and above all else, you are confused.

    Close your eyes, picture yourself in the center of one of the world’s largest cities. In this city, the businesses don’t have signs, there are no advertisements, the street signs are non-existent, the houses don’t have addresses, and most importantly, the people speak a different language than you. Looking at the above example we get a not-so-graceful understanding of what it’s like to be introduced to an environment that is both unorganized and unfamiliar. RSS FEED-cablemess-jpg Now take that same picture and apply some labels to the previously unlabeled. Add some captions to your businesses, some street signs, a route of familiarity. You now understand the language in which these people speak. Are you as lost as you were before?

    Companies throughout the world, more so in the past 5 years, have turned to Contractual IT companies. Why? The cost of outsourcing IT is cheaper than it is to hire directly. Company X charges 75$ an hour for an individual to come on-site and perform tasks. These tasks are ranged anywhere from trivial, "Hey IT guy, my mouse is broken", to challenging, "Hey IT guy, my RDO connection is no longer functioning". The contracting company takes on all the benefit, compensation, disability, and tax responsibility. $75 doesn’t sound so bad now does it? The average Network Administrator salary is ranged between $45,000 and $65,000. Looking at the later we can calculate, based on hourly rate; that employee costs the company $31.5/hr. Notice that this does not include the company’s expenses such as: benefits, disability, payroll tax, travel costs, and the like. The downside you may ask. Contractual IT companies have the largest turnover rate, so large that it can be comparable to big chain retail.

    Continuity can be defined as: uninterrupted duration or continuation especially without essential change. What does this mean in regards to the above paragraph? With such a high turnover rate how can any company begin to justify an organized IT backbone? The answer is obvious.

    Imagine yourself as the contractor thrown into an IT position. Your first day consists of information gathering, network mapping, and basic user troubleshooting. As a few months go by you start to get a better understanding of the network that surrounds you, the organization you work for.

    RSS FEED-psidotmap-jpg You start to become the go to guy for everything technical. The organization becomes happy with the work you are doing, the improvements the users see across the network. They like the changes you have made. There is one issue though, you are a contractor. You do not work for the company you are improving. The company starts throwing positive responses to your boss and next thing you know, the contract is up, and the company went with the lower bidder. You as the IT guy know this has happened, you know you are going to be relocated. The company brings in a competitor, bad news for them though; the competitor was a lot cheaper for a reason. Their IT staff is sloppy, they don’t care about documentation, they don’t care about problem resolution, and most importantly, they don’t care about the Company. The network starts to fail. All the hard work you have done becomes lost. Lost in a world where continuity cannot exist.

    Today’s Companies have learned this, at least the smart ones. Information Technology is the wave of the future, and without a dedicated IT staff, a company in today’s world, will fail.

    You just started a new job, you are the Network Engineer for a mid-sized company, congratulations, you are no longer a contractor. Your first day consists of information gathering, network mapping, and basic user troubleshooting. As a few months go by you start to get a better understanding of the network that surrounds you, the organization you work for. You start to become the go to guy for everything technical. The organization becomes happy with the work you are doing, the improvements the users see across the network. They like the changes you have made. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    You've been working for this organization for a year now, and you’re in the position to start making some changes. You realize that the way this organization does business is a little dated. There are archives that span across more square footage than you can imagine. You decide to throw a dedicated archive system in place. You move onto a paperless system consisting of scanning all originals and storing them on a file server. You come up with a retention plan, an archive retrieval plan, and most importantly, you develop continuity. Documenting all that you have done you are ensuring success not only to the company but to those who will follow in your footsteps.

    Proper planning and implementation is the most important thing you can do when developing a continuous work-flow. You must look at the organization as a whole. You must find a common ground between the different departments, the positions.

    You have brought back centralized management. Your organization becomes successful. The organizations work-flow has become more streamlined than ever. Your understudy is ready to take on the responsibility. You should be proud, knowing that you prepared the organization for something that Contractual companies couldn’t do. You have prepared the organization for the future, for success. RSS FEED-cleannetworkwiringkqdr-jpg

    You have outgrown your position, congratulations; you landed a more demanding job, a better salary. The process starts over. Your first day consists of information gathering, network mapping…

    You have now been in the IT field for over 10 years, and the most important thing you've learned is; without continuity, proper documentation, and extensive planning an organization will fail. While I'm not saying that IT departments world wide can fill this void and accomplish this task on their own, it is, without a doubt, your responsibility to understand and assist the organization throughout a successful future.

    Remember, YOU are the backbone of your organizations not the equipment you service.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: IT's Your Career started by Warprosper View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. gatita_andy's Avatar
      gatita_andy -
      O_O
      wow war, indeed you are ....
      very nice
    1. Hitch's Avatar
      Hitch -
      When I was an IT contract consultant (last in 2000), the company billed us out at $200 to $250 per hour. They did not pay us $75 an hour, however, they did cover us if there was down-time.

      The company made more per hour than 3X what we were worth to them.

      I own my business now and still think the company (and many like them) I used to work for are screwing many of their employees. But to that I say: If you are "the MAN", or one of the ones who really gets off his sorry ass and gets the job done, then you will leave a company and either join a better partnership, or start your own.

      Welcome to civilian life. You now have to watch out for people who take credit for other people's work.

      Thank you for serving our country for 7 years. thank you for a well-written, logical post.

      Hitch
    1. Potemkine's Avatar
      Potemkine -
      War, I love this article man. As a future IT person, the lessons you have taught here are absolutely invaluable to me. Thank you so, SO much for sharing your pearls of wisdom with us. I, for one, am grateful. But also for your service.
    1. Jonas Quin's Avatar
      Jonas Quin -
      Great post man, Im headed on a similar path it seems, IM in AFROTC now, hoping to go cyber core. But the time will come when i need to follow your footsteps, and jump out in the civilian world.

      THanks for an informative read.

      Jonas
    1. Warflagon's Avatar
      Warflagon -
      Very interesting assessment of the current worker and management dynamics.



      Edit - dynamics better suited for the syntax.
    1. Drax1970's Avatar
      Drax1970 -
      I'm guessing those photos are a before and after... if so a big WOW is due, very impressive.
    1. Savage's Avatar
      Savage -
      Great write up, also I like the pun for IT


      Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
    1. Warprosper's Avatar
      Warprosper -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drax1970 View Post
      I'm guessing those photos are a before and after... if so a big WOW is due, very impressive.
      The photos are more so a graphic display of the mind before and after organization.

      Thanks for the comments everyone
    1. Steggy_1's Avatar
      Steggy_1 -
      Well stated war. Don't know much about the IT business...got a department for that..but I do know a little bit about economics. The problem you have expounded upon goes way back to the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Corporate profit margins will always screw over the dedicated employee...there are a thousand more drones in the wings. What is more scary is that Karl Marx also picked up on the exploitation of the worker (mainly factory due to the time period) in the Communist Manifesto. Not a fan of either system...more a mixed economy man myself. Well written man.
    1. Drax1970's Avatar
      Drax1970 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Warprosper View Post
      The photos are more so a graphic display of the mind before and after organization.

      Thanks for the comments everyone


      Heh... wish someone could rewire my brain... 80% I don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore.