Where am I heading?

My IT experience includes a variety of roles in all areas of IT including support, network administration and project management, in addition to 2-I-C to the IT manager.

Dear Advisor,

I'm 33 years old and have a computing background that began in 1984. In 1988 I became involved in computer-aided design/draughting and have been working in the IT industry since 1995.

I work in a relatively small team for an organisation employing approximately 1200 staff, with 900 users located in 14 offices in six main centres nationwide. The remainder of staff are located in offices in Australia, Asia and Indonesia.

Nationally there are 26 NT application servers and 18 NetWare file and print servers, with a typical desktop environment of Windows 95/98 with Office 97. My IT experience includes a variety of roles in all areas of IT including support, network administration and project management, in addition to 2-I-C to the IT manager.

Specific achievements include development of the corporate intranet and extranet, Y2K project management, software licensing, asset management, procurement ($2 million per annum), company-wide CAD management, LAN/WAN upgrades and general R&D.

I have a variety of experience and expertise with NT, NetWare, TCP/IP, infrastructure (routers, switches, hubs, LAN/WAN architecture, data communications), WinFrame, Firewall-1, remote access systems, proxy, IIS, Exchange, ArcServe, server and desktop hardware, mass storage, backup and archiving solutions, document management and web technologies, and the implementation of new systems and upgrades.

I am involved in preparing reports and reviews, along with in-house presentations, and have been more recently involved in project management/business analysis/systems architect type roles. I am not in a "hands-on" network engineer role so I have not pursued an MCSE, MCP, CNA or CNE. I aspire to move into a leadership role where I can utilise my broad range of skills and experience. Sadly, the structure of our organisation does not provide suitable IT career opportunities, so what are appropriate positions to consider in the current IT environment?

Unqualified

De Winter International replies: It seems to me that you have to make a choice. Either pursue leadership opportunities in companies like the one you are in, where IT is small and generalist skills are the norm, or move to a company with a larger IT environment. In the larger environment you will be expected to specialise, deliver in that specialist area and then develop management skills. You may have to make a step back to make forward progress.

Readers with career questions can have them answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists. Send questions via Computerworld journalist, Darren Greenwood, with "Dear Adviser" in the subject line.

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