Download - 2014 Top Career Advice from IT pros
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 1Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
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2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 2Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
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!
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 3Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Scott’s IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 4Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Katie’s IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 5Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 6Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 7Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
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.
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 8Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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)
Nice guys always win.TIP06
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 9Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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)
The Golden Rule.TIP07
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 10Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
The road ahead...TIP08
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 11Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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.
I T for the win.TIP09
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 12Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 13Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Look at the big brain on [you]!TIP11
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 14Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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.
So what’cha want? TIP12
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 15Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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)
Lavaltrie, Quebec, Canada
Quick Top 10.TIP13
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 16Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Ralph E. McNabb III (rmcnabb)
Microsoft Engineer, Southfield, MI
Ralph’s IT Portfolio
Know your bottom line.TIP14
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 17Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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.”
Karl Ross (Karl8674)
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 18Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
the owner. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO ASK FOR A RAISE.
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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 19Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Erik’s IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 20Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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))
Happy little accidents.TIP18
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 21Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Chris’ IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 22Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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)
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.”
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 23Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Document your day.TIP21
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 24Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 25Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 26Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 27Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 28Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Read full quote…
Josh Hymer (Gadget)
Network/Systems Administrator, Bruceville-Eddy, TX
Josh’s IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 29Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 30Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 31Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 32Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 33Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 34Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
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!
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 35Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 36Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 37Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
”I think the best advice I could give to any newcomers is be friendly.”
Justin Drakes (JDrakes)
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!
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 38Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 39Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 40Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
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.
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 41Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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…
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 42Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 43Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 44Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 45Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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)
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.
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 46Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 47Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 48Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
John’s IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 49Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 50Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
Amanda’s IT Portfolio
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 51Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
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
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!
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 52Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
“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
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 53Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
ABOUT THE TIPS
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!
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS
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?
2014 Top Career Advice from IT Pros 54Create your Spiceworks IT portfolio #SpicyCareerTips
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.
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