T Nation

A IT Guy


I have been managing a help desk for the last 5 years and I am getting bored with it. I feel my tech skills have been declining with all the managing I have to do. I am thinking of taking 6 months and certifying in another direction but I am not sure what would be the most fun.

I have done the Desktops, Server, and routing and switching thing. I was thinking about going toward ethical hacking and a security cert but I am afraid it would be just more deep packet inspection Layer 3 thing with lots of paper work.

So I guess my question is, for a guy with 20 years in, what would be the new hot technology to get back into the tech side of it that would be fun and profitable?

Any suggestions?


I think security has a lot of growth potential, and seems interesting to me. Trying to figure my way into that route as a telcom guy.


The only way to get into a "hot, new technology" is either hope your current company will train you on it or else go to school and rack up mountains of debt taking courses. (For some odd reason, the instructors teaching all that can't get a job, as I've discovered). The only hot, new technology which helps me is that I can file for unemployment benefits on the web, saves trips to the office.

Oh, and the minute they find out your age, Colin, you won't have a snowball's chance of getting any position that doesn't require "Do you want fries with that?"

Speaking from personal experience, months of crushing unemployment takes all the boredom out of a steady paycheck.


Security is where it's at right now. Core routing is pretty high stakes too but you need a good amount of training to really go far. Companies like Google and Facebook are hiring some pretty nice positions but you've gotta be pretty darn good to get one. Our two best engineers applied at Google, one got thanks but no thanks the other got a job as a field engineer (rack and stack guy).


I know in "generic IT", security is hot.

I'm more of a DBA (oracle/sqlserver) and applications developer (then even further specialized into Geographic Information Systems (GIS), so I don't get too too deep into that side of things. The type of work I do with electric utilities and what's generically known as "Smart Grid" technology (automated meters, etc) are HIGHLY paranoid about security issues and how the meters communicate with the utility systems and are they secure, etc.

I don't have any real certifications, but I've been looking into Oracle certification for a bit now (just never sat down to study and take the test).

Also been teaching myself Objective C and some mobile API's. I've storyboarded a couple games that I'd like to make real.


Going to really show some age here. I started in networking as an SE when 10Mb Ethernet was still a IEEE spec and pulled lots of yellow cable. Always a network guy. Last mile, wireless, and security should still be good. I like hardware/software virtualization technologies.
Lot of freak'in nerds in here.


I prefer "Power Geek"

You should see my thick ass birth control glasses I have on now.


Cav - Did you ever do any QA work? You never did send me your resume I can pass it on to our QA director who is looking for someone to do testing on our locally developed app's. I would stay here and pay for the training on my own.

I did the routing thing with Nortel from 2001 - 2005 and Just had to take the Proctored exam for my CCIE before I got that job. Routing bores me now though once you get it setup its just monitoring. But I am really turned on about the Ethical Hacking. Getting paid to hack corporate web site and discover their vulnerabilities sounds like allot of fun. Doing Pen tests and stuff....


Security is always a good thing. 'round here, though, IP telephony is big. They are always looking for folks to fill those positions.

As I already have to deal with switches (core through access...but, at least, it is all Cisco), routers, ASAs, IPS, Ironport (web and email), A10 and CSS load-balancers, WiSMs for the WLAN, MARS, WCS (moving to NCS) and on and on...I am staying the hell away from the telephony. I already feel like a jack of all trades. It would be nice to be a master of 1.


Good lord don't I know the feeling. We do EVERYTHING around here too. It wasn't until about a year ago real engineers would go to customer prem and install NIDs. We still do work at the remote hubs but that's going away and we can focus on the networking side. We've got 2 DWDM rings, a SONET ring and all the gear from core to edge. Not sure how anyone can know it all.

Next week starts CCNA bootcamp, I'ma skared.


I am currently working on my MS in Information Security and Assurance. I feel this is the route to go. Check out WGU on line. I really enjoy the course of studies and the fact that when I am done not only will I have the masters degree but I will have 5 IT certifications with it.


Thanks James, I was kind of leaning that way myself. I think I still may have some Veteran benefits left over from my time in the service. i may have to make an appointment with my VA office and see what I need to get that rolling.


If you do decide to go through Western Governors University (WGU) tell me, so that I can refer you. That way I can get my $50.00 gift card for referring you. LOL!


Since I don't have a log I thought I would post an update in here. Today is my 48th Birthday and my gift to myself is 14.7% BF Down from 22.6% in 11 weeks. Weight dropped from 256.6 to 215. The really cool part is my strength levels are near or about the same as what I did in my comp last March. I am really excited with the results and can't wait to get to my goal % which is anything single digit body fat. Then I can go back to Power Lifting but keep the diet clean and compete at whatever weight class I weigh around 10%

Anyways I was just excited with the update and wanted to share it with you all...


Colin, that's just fucking outstandingly awesome!!!!!

Good work!!

I'm down about 10 lbs myself, strength holding. I need to find that sweet spot of recomping or losing slightly versus just dumping weight (and strength).

What's your diet looking like during the loss?


Not over 35 but I'm currently in Business Intelligence side of things as well as DBA. Business Intelligence is growing and growing and I get calls daily for contract work or perma positions (just prefer to stay in Atlanta for now). Definitely like what I do too.


Eeek!! A whippersnapper snuck in here! Security! Security!

Seriously, happy birthday, Colin. That's great news! Wow, 4 lbs a week? I probably wouldn't recognize you now.


40+lbs in 11 weeks is freakin' awesome. Particularly since you held your strength.

Very impressed.



That's some swift fat loss there buddy.

So spill the beans, how did you do it? diet? cardio? gastric band?