2014 top career advice from it pros

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Top 50 career tips for IT pros, by IT pros. Learn how to get a job / ask for a raise, discover which certifications are hot, and find out which technologies to stay up to date on.


Page 1: 2014 Top Career Advice from IT pros

2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 1Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips




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Want a raise? A little respect? Some peace of mind?

You’re a pro, no doubt about it. But if there’s one

career tip your peers keep coming back to, it’s this: The

learning never stops. Just like those users who keep

losing their passwords over and over again – it’s going

to keep happening... forever.

So in the spirit of packing your brain full of as

many petabytes of data as it can take, Spiceworks

hand-picked some crowdsourced career tips straight

from the mouths of real tech experts. Whether you’re

looking to upgrade your position, get certified, “raise”

the career bar, master new skills (and maybe even

the Zen of IT maintenance), discover some resource

goldmines, or just learn the art of being social –

Spiceworks has ya covered.

These career-saving (and enhancing) tips are

brought to you by seasoned IT pros, savvy marketers...

and even a few Spiceworks employees who might

know a thing or two about tech. You can also check

out the amazing projects in their IT portfolios for more

expert insights and then create your own. Learn how

to stay relevant in a world that’s changing faster than

an SSD reboot. Ready to get busy boosting your IT

career? Read on!

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“I think that in order to get promoted in today’s environment you need to demonstrate you can do the work.”

So, ask for additional responsibility and tackle larger

projects. Once you demonstrate you can be a senior

systems administrator, for example, you can make

your own case for promotion.

At that point you have a track record of being able

to do the job and this will assuage any management

fears that you might not be cut out for that position.

Scott Roberts (jhuscott)

IT Manager, Baltimore, MD

Promotion, anyone?TIP01

Scott’s IT Portfolio

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“Focus on adding to your IT knowledge yearly. I try to focuson a different skill or area of focus quarterly to add up to one new skill each year.”

And to echo others – be nice to your users. They may create ridiculous issues, and ask crazy questions, but

without your users, you don’t have a job. They are your customers, and no matter how great of an IT pro

you are, if you’re surly all the time, your employer will find someone else who has similar IT skills, but

better people skills.

Katie Drucker (Katie)

Social Media & Community Manager, Columbia, SC

Got skillz?TIP02

Katie’s IT Portfolio

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“Learn to do sysadmin work from the command line andscripting. Many of the “new” technologies being deployedsimply don’t have powerful GUIs designed for them anymore.”

Eli Etherton (Eli @ elitehcomputerguy.com)

Eli the Computer Guy, Baltimore, MD

Tales from the script...TIP03

Eli’s IT Portfolio

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“The best advice I can provide for IT pros to advance their career in 2014? First and foremost, have a strong resume that includes a portfolio if possible.”

Expand this with an interactive portfolio online that

concisely shows off all of your different skills, and be

sure to explain, in a nutshell, what sets it apart. Be

aware that the non-tech savvy (including HR people!)

may not understand what they’re looking at, at first

glance. Be a go getter today more than ever. The econ-

omy is tough nowadays and employers are being hit

hard, so you really need to show off how you can bring

a positive ROI to your company.

If you don’t already have one, start a blog online,

and write about your solutions to different tough

problems you encounter at work. With social media

such a big part of the world nowadays, employers

are attracted to bringing on board rock stars – online

celebrities who bring with them a following, have the

ability to create buzz, and are able to summarize for

their employers where the industry is headed and how

to move forward.

Read full quote…

Dani Horowitz (Dani at DaniWeb.com)

Business Manager, Bayside, NY

Dani’s IT Portfolio

Polish up your resume.TIP04

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“The cloud is growing at an amazing speed, and more and more organizations recognize the immense benefits of cloud computing.”

Michael Pietroforte (Michael @ 4sysops.com)

Owner at 4sysops.com

Munich, Germany

Know thy cloud.TIP05

Thus, the best way IT pros can advance their career is to learn about new cloud technologies. This is the

area where the most exciting and the best paid jobs will be created in the years to come.

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“Always be nice. This industry is full of jerks. Don’t be one of them.”

If you are nicer than average there are many benefits:

Everyone will want to work with you thus you can

work as a team and divide the work among everyone

instead of doing it yourself. Managers will bend

over backwards to keep you there (in small ways and

sometimes in big ways).

You’ll have a better relationship with users and they’ll

be more willing to listen to you when you have to tell

them bad news.

Being nice doesn’t mean always saying “yes.” Have

the discipline to say “no” when you have to... but

always be ready to suggest alternatives that will

help them get what they want some other way.

Thomas Limoncelli (YesThatTom)

IT Consultant (at Google)

Bloomfield, NJ

Nice guys always win.TIP06

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“My advice is: always follow “The Golden Rule.”

Treat your customers, your coworkers, your employer, your employees and everyone else you encounter as

you want to be treated yourself. This is the best long term strategy you can have.

Ivan Nekrasov (Ivan@Dell)

Spiceworks Partner

Nashville, TN

The Golden Rule.TIP07

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“We all have a vision of what makes us truly happy. Working in IT can, a lot of times, seem so reactive that it’s too easy to sit with heads down and just get lost in the job.”

Putting out fires, answering user questions, or kicking

off planning the next CTO-driven initiative causes us

to forget the vision and succumb to the daily grind.

Each of us has a sense of our professional goals and

we know when a direction doesn’t feel right. As an IT

person right now, the next 3-5 years will be interest-

ing. Cloud adoption is moving at such a fantastic pace

we all deserve a chance to take a breath and plan for

our professional career.

Do you have a sense of what your job will look like in

5 years? I believe part of any job is to partially focus on

reaching professional goals. Part of that is to ensure

technical knowledge is obtained to accomplish daily

tasks, but there should also be defined guidelines to

ensure that goals are reached.

Rod Trent (Rod Trent at Windows IT Pro)

Community Manager of Windows IT Pro, owner of myITforum.com

Middletown, Ohio

The road ahead...TIP08

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“Maybe this is less advice than it is an endorsement of IT as a career. It’s a great foundation to build your career on. The technical, business, social and interaction skills you learn can take you far.”

Here’s a little known fact about me – my second job

out of college and my first job at a start-up was as

a sysadmin. It was a “20 person company” building

“next generation software” for the CAD / CAM indus-

try. My job was to keep 20 Apollo Workstations (a

competitor to Sun in the 80s) up and running.

That company folded, but that experience got me a job

at Apollo, which brought me to NeXT, which helped me

start my first company Motive – where I met the three

other founders of Spiceworks. And the rest, as they say,

is history. And you thought Spiceworks being about

“Everything IT” was just an accident :-).

Scott Abel (Scott)

President & CEO at Spiceworks, Inc.

Austin, TX

I T for the win.TIP09

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“Listen to this small snippet from Bruce Lee and then integrate this philosophy into your IT career. We all know how fast IT can change. Being like this will help you flow with any changes, whether they are fast or slow or aggressive or unpredictable.”

Jeff Grettler (Jeff Grettler)

IT Operations Manager at Spiceworks, Inc., Austin, TX

“Be water, my friend.” -Bruce LeeTIP10

Jeff ’s IT Portfolio

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“Learn, educate yourself! To be successful in IT you need to do more than just get training.”

Certs are also valuable and I do have them. They help

you get launched and learn more about a wider range

of subjects than you normally come into contact with in

your day job. This helps build the width of your knowl-

edge. But most of all, be open minded and look outside

of your current responsibilities. Become an excellent

generalist before you specialize.

“Have a T-shaped skill” set. Go wide generally and

deep in your current specialties. Move out of your

comfort zone every now and then and tackle a

difficult problem or area.

Do not stop learning, it’s a journey. Go out into the

world, both figuratively speaking and literally.

Learn from talking to your peers, partners, vendors,

consultants who all bring their points of view to the

table. Participating in a community and outside of your

jobs responsibilities also builds your communication

skills, both in discussions and while presenting.

Read full quote…

Didier Van Hoye (workinghardinit)

Blogger (Working Hard In IT), Microsoft MVP

Gent, Belgium

Look at the big brain on [you]!TIP11

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“In your job search, know what you want. Take time to think aboutwhat is most important to you in your next opportunity.”

Too many people jump to the next job without really

analyzing what they really want and end up in a

place that is not right for them.

Ask yourself things like...what’s my passion, do I like

structure or chaos, do I like big or small companies

and why, do I like a narrow role or spinning lots of

plates, what makes me crazy about my job, why do

I like to go into work everyday?

Just answering a few of these questions for yourself

can help set you in the right direction when you are

searching for a new role or when you get another

recruiter phone call. You’ll know what sounds right

for you and what doesn’t.

Jennifer Cantu (Jen C)

Director of Talent & Culture at Spiceworks, Inc.

Austin, TX

So what’cha want? TIP12

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“1. Don’t get a ‘I know everything better’ complex. 2. Improve your social skills -> this will make a lot of things easier in your life.”

3. The “I” in IT is more important than the “T”. And the

best place to get “I” is from people.

4. There are two types of IT companies: business-centric

and technology-centric. If you like to geek out, avoid

business-centric companies, and the other way around.

5. Grow a sense of humour to survive the stressful situ-

ations that you will encounter when something might

not go as planned.

6. Be open and flexible, i.e., learn to implement

what you may not know rather than being boxed

into learning and implementing what you know. This

will stand you in good stead and give you a broad

background as you grow in your career.

7. While you are in college do a search for the job you

will be seeking when you graduate, and do a gap as-

sessment amongst the experience, projects, technology,

and certifications you will need to land the job.

8. Be focused on what cluster you want to specialize in.

IT is far too big to be a generalist.

Read full quote…

Maxime Trottier (Devolutions)

Spiceworks Partner

Lavaltrie, Quebec, Canada

Quick Top 10.TIP13

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“Build an expansive network of contacts first and foremost. Chances are you have many of the skills you need if you’re looking to advance your career, you may just need a resume booster or two with a few certifications.”

If you have the right contacts and the resume

to back it up, you should be able to obtain the

position you’re looking for with a reasonable

amount of effort.

Learn the following and get certified:

Virtualization (Hyper-V, ESXi – VCP5, Oracle VM–

Certified Implementation Specialist, etc).

Networking, Network Security (CCNA, CCNA Security,

JNCIA-Junos for the Juniper folks, JNCIS-SEC, etc).

Windows or Linux Servers (Linux+, RHCSA for Red

Hat folks, RHCE, MCSA for Microsoft folks, MCSE, etc)

As much as I don’t like working on servers outside

of work, it helps to set up a hardware lab at home

to build out new environments to test out and learn

new products.

Ralph E. McNabb III (rmcnabb)

Microsoft Engineer, Southfield, MI

Ralph’s IT Portfolio

Know your bottom line.TIP14

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“You cannot know everything. If you do then you are worth more than your company can afford. Use your resources such as the Spiceworks Community, Google, Experts Exchange, etc.”

Be resourceful.TIP15

Karl Ross (Karl8674)

Systems Engineer

Bradford, PA

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“So you want a raise huh? Do you think you deserve it? Can the company afford it? Last year I answered “yes” to all three, asked for a 15% raise, and low and behold got over an 18% raise.”

“How did you do this?” you ask… Well, quite simple if

you prepare and present. Start with your job descrip-

tion - what do you do, what are your responsibilities,

and what are you expected to do (i.e: On Call, week-

ends, etc…). Next, do a self evaluation and be honest.

Do you show up on time, do you get your tasks done

correctly and on time, do you ‘go the extra mile’ or do

you just do what is required? You need to be really

honest with yourself on this one.

If you fudge, your whole presentation will fail. Include

in this where you succeded and where you have failed,

and what you intend to do to prevent the failure(s)

in the future.

Now go and talk with the money folks. This would be the

controller, or bookkeeper, possibly the CIO, or maybe


You are looking for information on how the company is

doing...financially. Did they give bonuses? Was it a profit-

able year? What are the projections for next year?

Read full quote…

Paul Chiodo (pchiodo)

IT Manager, Cuba, MO

“Raise” the bar...TIP16

Paul’s IT Portfolio

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“Get a new job!” or “Hold up your boss for more money!”

Many people don’t progress because they don’t look

for new opportunities or ask for more money. Better

titles and better pay means you can command even

better titles and even better pay. If you are not content

with where you are now, talk to your boss about what

it will take to improve your situation.

If not, start looking for a new opportunity that will ei-

ther provide you with a better situation or is a sideways

move to prepare you for a better situation. If you are

willing to work hard and do a great job, why not work

hard to have a great job?

Erik Nordman (Erik)

Director of IT, Hollis, NH

Greener pastures...TIP17

Erik’s IT Portfolio

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“Mistakes shape you into the worker/person you becomeand are. Some of my best opportunities and successful projects/implementations have resulted after I failed terribly.”

Kacia Steiner (Kacia (QuickCert))

Marketing Manager

Portland, OR

Happy little accidents.TIP18

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“IT is moving away from break/fix. IT nowadays is about system deployment, adoption and utilization.”

How many systems do you have in your environment

that users are only scratching the surface of? The next

great way to grow your IT career, is find that system in

your organization and master it.

Then figure out new ways the system can help the

users and the business make money. That is where

the value in IT is going forward.

Chris Davis (Chris7262)

Systems Implementation Specialist, St. Louis, MO

Master IT.TIP19

Chris’ IT Portfolio

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“I’ve stayed miles ahead of the pack by the way I treat my internal customers and clients. Long gone are the days of the antisocial, pocket-protected, server-room recluse, stereotypical ‘nerd.’ ”

Lee Burns (Atillion)

IT Manager

Bend, OR

Learn some humil ity. TIP20

Any monkey can learn technical skills. You need to bring your soft skills to the table these days as well. IT

needs humble, hard-working members who fully understand that “If everyone knows what I know, then they

wouldn’t be paying me to do what they pay me to do.”

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“Keep a record of all that you’ve worked on as you cross it off your project list.”

That way you have something to show your boss at

review time. And if he/she isn’t impressed then you

can use the list to update your resume.

Read these two books that have done the most for

my IT career: The Practice of System and Network Ad-

ministration, and Getting Things Done.

Nicholas Tolstoshev (Nic)

Former Spiceworks Community Manager

Austin, TX

Document your day.TIP21

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“Never be afraid of emerging technologies. Don’t be the department of ‘NO,’ but rather, ‘how can this technology be used to make my (or other people’s) work easier?’

Always network with other people in your industry.

Doing this will keep you abreast of different solutions

and opinions of how technology is used. Yours is not

the only environment – different environments require

different solutions, but sometimes there’s ideas out

there that can help you enhance your environment.

When working with someone, always follow up with

them, even if nothing is going on. Never leave your

customer in the dark.

Rob Dunn (robdunn)

Network/Systems Administrator, Rockford, IL

Be unafraid. Be very unafraid.TIP22

Rob’s IT Portfolio

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“Label and document everything. Keep it simple.Spiceworks is your friend. Learn new skills, and keep learning!Remember ‘customer service’... talk to users on the phone with a smile, (yea hard sometimes). You are serving them! Streamline workflow, look for ways to improve processes. Back up everything! Be a team player.”

Alexia Andrew (Gadget Gal)

Help Desk Tech

Plainview, TX

Simply put...TIP23

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“If you really want to go farther, learn to manage people better.”

Nearly 100 years ago a fellow by the name of Dale

Carnegie mentioned that around 15% of your success

at work is technical, the other 85% is getting along with

others. Supervision and management, the real skills

of getting results via others is the MOST valuable skill

you can learn in 2014, not just for yourself but for you

department and for your organization.

Help others achieve results they had no idea they could,

so they can grow, get along at work, set realistic but

stretch goals and surpass them.

These are things great managers do everyday. They

make a huge difference in organizational performance.

So stop taking certification, techie, hardware, software

courses and learn how to coach, mentor and lead.

Randy Ansems (RAnsems)

IT Director, Halifax, Canada

Manage your peeps.TIP24

Randy’s IT Portfolio

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“Document, label, and document some more. Then make Projects on Spiceworks. And for god sake, keep up with your certifications!”

But one of the best IT tips for 2014: LEARN SOFT SKILLS.

Nobody likes to receive an email in capital letters. Heck,

it may even infuriate you. Your users (because that’s why

we’re ALL here, for the users) don’t like or need to be

treated like an idiot because they didn’t know to turn it

off and on. Be nice! We’re all human. I’m paraphrasing

Tom Limoncelli here when I say this, but you should see

it as such a compliment that someone comes to you,

when they know absolutely nothing about something.

They don’t go to a library, to the Internet, to a guru, or

to a fortune teller. They come to you, because you’re

their best resource. You ARE the library, the Internet,

and a guru to them.

Sometimes even a fortune teller (“I see a forgotten

password in your future...”). So take it as a compliment,

slow down, maybe teach them a thing or two. They

may even surprise you and (successfully) try to fix it

themselves one day.

Justin Dale (JustinCredible)

IT Coordinator, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Soft skills for hard results.TIP25

Justin’s IT Portfolio

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“Share! When we were in Kindergarten we were taught to share; we should continue this practice. It will benefit you greatly. Hoarding knowledge just makes the world more difficult.”

1. Be friendly, even to your enemies. You may just win

them over. Data is important, and critical. Treat it like your

life. It may just save yours (from an irate boss).

2. Don’t be afraid to try something, but make a backup

first (preferably in two or more different locations)!

3. Immerse yourself in tech. Every possible moment, try

something different (MS Windows RT?). You will probably

be working on it sooner or later. More than likely the boss’

10 year-old will have one.

4. Set up a server at home with a hypervisor on it. Play

around with all the servers you have room to store.

5. Take time for a break, and get outta that chair.

6. Make a list of preventative maintenance tasks to do /

check on. It may just save your Super Smoked Applewood

BACON someday.

Read full quote…

Josh Hymer (Gadget)

Network/Systems Administrator, Bruceville-Eddy, TX

Kindergarten lessons...TIP26

Josh’s IT Portfolio

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“For me these days, if something is worth doing, it is worth documenting.”

Documentation – this one cannot be over emphasized. I can

recall countless times going into an environment where there

was no documentation and spending ungodly amounts of

time trying to figure something out. For me these days, if

something is worth doing, it is worth documenting.

Never stop learning – EVER. It can be as simple as reading a

technical book, installing Linux, install Active Directory at

home or just learning any technology you are not familiar with.

My home test environment was a key learning tool for me

as it allowed me to install, make changes, implement new

technology, etc. without affecting real users. My wife and kids

“may disagree now – group policies locking down computers,

firewall preventing access to certain sites, etc.”

Set realistic goals – short term and long term. Short term –

take an IT certification every 6 months to stay current. Long

term – set a progressive career path like - Help Desk > Desk-

top Support > Network Administrator > Network Engineer >

Network Manager > Director of IT > VP of IT > CIO.

Read full quote…

Bruce Gilbert (InkMaster)

Chief Technology Officer, Ft. Worth,Tx

Bruce’s IT Portfolio

Document your day (the sequel).TIP27

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“Mingle. Networking is the best way to advance or change your career.”

Even in this web centric tablet wifi world of ours it’s personal relationships that make the real difference. Go

to professional gatherings, trade shows, even lunch with coworkers and friends, and make new or strengthen

friendships. A human will be much more likely to refer you to a job than a server.

Michael Fasman (michael fasman)

Digital Media Producer

San Francisco, CA

“Hello, my name is...”TIP28

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“Improve your people skills! Even though most of our focus is on implementing and maintaining technology systems, we all still need to “interface” with users (people).”

Tim Loga (Tim Loga)

IT Director, Mount Prospect, IL

Some micro-tips.TIP29

Go virtual -- even small networks are going with virtual

servers. If you do not know VMware or Hyper-V you

soon will not be able to work on any LAN!

Get to know PowerShell v3 - for better or worse, more

and more Windows server management is done with

cmdlets and scripting.

Tim’s IT Portfolio

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“Best advice, which has helped me in every profession I’ve worked in: Answer the phone and return calls quickly.”

Ring! Ring! Ring!TIP30

Once people know that you do this, they become helpers and clients. They know if you don’t answer the phone

you are either not there and you will call back at your first opportunity or you are neck deep in someone else’s

problem and you will get neck deep in their problem as soon as you can. With a reputation for that, no one is

going to believe anyone who says you have been ignoring them.

Dan Hatt (danhatt)

Network/Systems Administrator, Los Angeles, CA

Dan’s IT Portfolio

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“Always Be Learning! - Seems straightforward but never reston your laurels, especially in IT.”

A.B.L: Always Be Learning.TIP31

Don’t forget to treat your co-workers like your customers.

When it comes to technology, they don’t always know

what you know, or what you think they should know.

(And it’s good they don’t, that’s called job security!)

Always Be Patient! - It’s often the hardest thing to have

and the quickest thing to run out. Work at it and don’t

let that happen.

Tim Brandt (DrakeCroft)

IT Manager, St. Paul, MN

Tim’s IT Portfolio

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“Learn how to be a premier communicator – it will come in handy. People in IT have a reputation for not being the best at communicating to non-technical people.”

Corrine R. Greenhalgh (Corrine572)

Enterprise Support Tech

Hadley, MA

Use your words.TIP32

You will go far if you can speak to tech and non-tech people with ease. It is not always easy to do, however it is

worth trying and worth the practice. Take advice from people who have been in the industry for a long time as

they always have good tidbits to share!

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“The best thing you can do in IT is keep up on upcoming technologyand emerging threats. If you are not willing to keep up on newertechnology then you will get left behind quick.”

William McGuire (wmcguire)

IT Security Analyst, Trenton, OH

The times, they are a-changin’...TIP33

Another is to be easily adaptable to change. If you are

not willing to change at a moment’s notice then you

are in the wrong field. As a security professional I have

been put into multiple scenarios where I have had to

change tactics at the drop of a hat.

If you cannot change and adapt then you will get

extremely stressed out and hate life. The last thing

I would say is don’t let people tell you that you

can’t do anything.

I have been told by a lot of people that because I am

younger than a typical IT security guy that I can’t pos-

sibly know how to react to a threat or give adequate

recommendations for risk mitigation. Don’t buy into

other’s opinions of you. You are there to do a job and

they do not evaluate your performance – your super-

visors do. The results of your hard work will show and

will not go unappreciated.

William’s IT Portfolio

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“Learn VMware or Hyper-V. Learn how to say ‘No’ to users without sounding like you don’t care about what they want (like, ‘Can’t we switch from Windows to OS X?’, or ‘We should all get iPads!’).”

Brian Scheele (Brian Scheele)

Manager, Information Technology, Lancaster, PA

Wear the ware.TIP34

If you don’t report to the correct boss, check for other signs you need a new employer. The HR manager was my

boss. She had no clue or care about IT and would volunteer the IT Department to help out other departments

with non-IT tasks. Fortunately, this all changed.

Brian’s IT Portfolio

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”I think the best advice I could give to any newcomers is be friendly.”

Justin Drakes (JDrakes)

Network/Systems Administrator

Meadville, PA

You’re my BFF.TIP35

Yes I know users can frustrate us all, but they are just people and yes sometimes picky people, but in the end

they are just looking for our expertise and we need to present it to them in a way they will understand. I really

try hard to make it my niche to be the friendly IT guy, as it gives me more perks than you think!

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TIP36 “The quote my previous boss drilled into my head. ‘If you’re not

uncomfortable you’re not learning.’ Push yourself and spend time to find a good process of documenting tasks to help you stay organized. Set reminders in Outlook to follow up with vendors and co-workers on projects you are waiting on. They will be impressed with your fail-proof memory.”

Seth Cooper (Static)

IT Manager, Kansas City, Kansas

So long, comfort zone!

Seth’s IT Portfolio

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“I always keep track of all of the ways that I have saved my organization money. Whether it is by negotiating better pricing on a product or reviewing existing contracts and services.”

Dawn Wolf (Dawn7643)

IT Director, Sioux Falls, SD

Know your bottom line.TIP37

By far the most important thing you can do is “To Be of Service” to others in a professional and joyful way. Be

thankful for the awesome job that you get to do each day. I have been working in the IT field for over 14 years

and still feel grateful that I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up!

Dawn’s IT Portfolio

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TIP38 “Pick an area of IT that you love doing at home... you will end up doing

this sometimes and it makes sense to not be bothered by it.”

Shayne Kawalilak (SW-Desperado)

Network Systems Analyst, Edmonton, Canada

Shayne’s IT Projects

Love your field.

Read both of Tom Limoncelli’s books… if you don’t think you have time to read the big one then you need the

small one more than you might think. Both books are a must! Find a supervisor that you can learn leadership

skills as well at technical skills from… it will help you grow like you can’t imagine.

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“OK, so you love learning new stuff and technology is your passion.You can naturally assume that you will advance quickly in your IT career, right? Well, the answer is not quite as simple as that.”

Darren Schoen (Darren for VMWare)

Spiceworks Partner, Palo Alto, CA

Darren’s IT Portfolio

Learn to speak CEO/CFO.TIP39

You may get that Sys Admin job quickly, but in order

to really advance your career, you will eventually

need to start working and explaining your projects

to non-IT folks.

Your CEO/CFO doesn’t care how you built your infrastruc-

ture, they just care how much it cost and the benefits it

can bring to the organization. Being able to convey ideas

in terms they can understand is key to promoting IT and

your own skillset in your organization.

Read full quote…

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“My advice is make sure this is your passion. You have to love IT to stay in it. As soon as you start hating it you’ll start hating the users who make you do it and that’s a path you don’t want to go down.”

Martin Pugh (Martin9700)

IT pro, Milford, MA

Follow your passion.TIP40

Martin’s IT Portfolio

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“Keep learning... whether studying to finish a degree, acquire a certificate, or self-taught... do not get stuck in one type of technology or one way of doing things.”

Christine Wilson (cwils14)

Systems Administrator, Warrenton, VA

Know IT!TIP41

Also, be a “yes man” (or woman). My predecessor said “no” a lot. I will always give things a try. Sure, you

may not get something to work but the reward of getting all the other things to work that you may

have initially thought would not is an amazing feeling. Both of my tips keep you from feeling bored

and stuck in your current position.

Christine’s IT Portfolio

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“1. Always make only one change at a time when troubleshooting. 2. Documentation, documentation, documentation, and documentation.”

Real Verrier (Cigar-Boy)

Network/Systems Administrator, Edmonton, Canada

Quick Top 5.TIP42

3. Never be afraid to ask for help, check newsgroup’s, peers (Spiceworks!), a two-second question may save

you hours of work.

4. No is not an answer -- don’t be afraid to try. If it fails or can’t work, at least you tried and learned something.

5. If all else fails… S.W.A.G. Strategic Wild Ass Guessing . It’s bailed me out more than once.

Real’s IT Portfolio

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“My 2 cents after 36 years of IT/Tech/Programming:Make sure you are able to let everyone know what you did to fix and to avoid issues. The silent ones get ignored.”

Greg Joiner (Zaphod)

Network/Systems Administrator

Bushnell, FL

Let ‘em know you did IT.TIP43

Don’t be too brash and full of yourself, but by our very

nature techies are quiet, get out there and crow when

you do good!

Make sure when you make system changes that you

do them properly, and communicate with everyone

in ‘dumbspeak’ (few and simple words) that your end

users can understand.

Getting burned once with a great idea that is either

flawed or simply not understood can set you back in

your career, so make changes carefully and wisely.

Get lots of input first, then feedback later to make sure

any changes you made were understood and imple-

mented and USED properly. Give them a hammer and

they will use it like a screwdriver if they don’t under-

stand what the tool does and how to use it properly.

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“Set some goals and create a plan to achieve them. Be realistic about them.”

Valerie Huffman (DarthVal)

Technology Manager, Hickory, NC


1. Is there a specific technology that you need/want

to learn? Have your goal establish a firm definition for

achievement. “Get certified in XX by XX/XX/XX date” or

“Have XX technology implemented by XX/XX/XX date.”

2. What incremental steps will you need to take to

make that happen? Do you need to take classes? Do

you need to find them first? List out all of those steps

and apply target dates for them.

Valerie’s IT Portfolio

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“Never stop learning. There are a lot of free resources and some that are fairly inexpensive to be able to expand your knowledge of what interests you or what you want to accomplish. There is always going to be something new to learn.”

Steven Lipp (SLipp82)

Helpdesk Administrator, Cranberry Township, PA

Be a know-it-all.TIP45

Steven’s IT Portfolio

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“Follow your passion, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t give up on your dreams. As long as you keep pushingforward to grow, you will always look back and be grateful for where you are.”

John Schuepbach (Shuey)

IT Manager, Baltimore, MD

Dream Big.TIP46

John’s IT Portfolio

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“Join some of your local meetups and groups that are in the interests that you hold. I’m part of the Information Systems Security Association,Infragard, my local VMUG (VMware users group), and more but you getthe idea. Grow your network of people because you will never knowwhen you might need their help.”

Michael Cimino (MCimino)

Network/Systems Administrator, Delaware, OH

Fancy meeting you here...TIP47

Michael’s IT Portfolio

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“Work on people skills. All too often we are excellent with machines but have a serious failure to connect with the humans that use those machines we service. Poor social skills can block any advancement, no matter how excellent your technical skills are.”

Amanda Hagen (Hageam)

Recent Computer Science graduate, Norwich, CT

IT proTIP48

Amanda’s IT Portfolio

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The quote my previous boss drilled into my head. “If you’re not uncomfortable you’re not learning.”

Pasha Shah (pasha shah)

Help Desk Tech

London, UK

Keep up your mad skills.TIP49

Keep on top of your current skill set – update your

qualifications and expand. If interested, look at cloud

technology. Learn some form of coding – C# is cur-

rently highly in demand and will be for some time.

For contractors, network and build good relationships

with all employers you contract for and always give

110%. Loads of courses out there to refresh yourself.

Enjoy what you do – if you don’t enjoy it, you’re in

the wrong job!

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“I’d have to say, the best tip I can give to any Windows server administrator is: Learn PowerShell.”

Matt Bergeron (Chamele0n)

IPTV Administrator, Langley, WA

Power to the shell.TIP50

Over that last year I have been learning PowerShell

the best I can (with the help of the PowerShell group

in Spiceworks, I love you guys) It is the easiest and

most effective way to manage multiple servers. (I have

104 windows servers that I manage, so PowerShell is

the ONLY way to go.)

Another tip is to just keep reading, you will learn so

much from just reading posts you find on Spiceworks,

or researching Google for a new project you would

like to complete. I can’t stress this enough.

And lastly, create yourself a home virtual server.

Something with either VMware ESXi (preferred) or

Microsoft Hyper-V. Both are really nice Hypervisors

for hosting virtual machines. VMware is a bit more

feature-rich and mature, but Hyper-V comes with

high-availability features built in. ESXi would require

a license to enable these features.

Matt’s IT Portfolio

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So how exactly did we gather such valuable career advice from IT pros (and marketers) who know? We just started a thread

in the Spiceworks Community, and it took on a life of its own! It’s crowdsourcing at it’s most powerful!

What’s the Spiceworks Community, you ask? It’s where more than 4 million IT pros come to trade tech tips, show off their

awesome IT projects and share real-world advice (as well as their love for bacon and zombies!). Plus, experts from tech vendors

are there as well -- talkin’ shop and answering IT questions. Like to be part of the IT revolution?

Join us in the Spiceworks Community!


Not to get too sappy, but everyone here at Spiceworks HQ

just wanted to extend our spiciest appreciation: THANK YOU!

To every SpiceHead (IT pro), marketer and Spiceworks em-

ployee who took the time to share the love with a little career

advice: YOU ROCK!.

Who knows? maybe your tidbit of wisdom could help

someone get a well-deserved raise... or even score a promo-

tion. You did your part, and we salute you.

Thanks for keepin’ IT spicy!

– The Spiceworks Team

Who the heck is Spiceworks?

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The contents in this publication are a result of primary research performed by Spiceworks. Unless otherwise noted, the entire contents distributed as part of this report are copyrighted by Spiceworks. As such any information made available by any means in this report may not be copied, reproduced, duplicated, published, displayed, transmitted, distributed, given, sold, traded, resold, marketed, offered for sale, modified to create derivative works or otherwise exploited for valuable consideration without prior written consent by Spiceworks. For more information, visit www.spiceworks.com.

This report contains information of fact relating to parties other than Spiceworks. Although the information have been obtained from, and are based on sources that Spiceworks believes to be reliable, Spiceworks does not guarantee the accuracy, and any such information might be incomplete or condensed. Any estimates included in this report constitute Spiceworks’ judgment as of the date of compilation, and are subject to change without notice. This report is for information purposes only. All responsibility for any interpretations or actions based on the information or commentary contained within this report lie solely with the recipient. All rights reserved. 2014.

.About SpiceworksSpiceworks is the professional network for IT more than 5 million IT professionals use to connect with one another

and over 3,000 technology brands. The company simplifies how IT professionals discover, buy and manage more

than $525 billion in technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is

backed by Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Goldman Sachs, Shasta

Ventures and Tenaya Capital. For more information visit www.spiceworks.com.

Follow Spiceworks on Twitter: twitter.com/spiceworks and connect with Spiceworks on Facebook: www.facebook.



About VMware

VMware is the leader in virtualization and cloud

infrastructure solutions that enable businesses to thrive

in the Cloud Era. Customers rely on VMware to help

them transform the way they build, deliver and consume

Information Technology resources in a manner that is

evolutionary and based on their specific needs. With 2013

revenues of $5.21 billion, VMware has more than 500,000

customers and 55,000 partners.

The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with

offices throughout the world and can be found online at


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Where IT goes to work.

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