Dear What am I Worth,
I am a 43-year-old network technical manager for a large company moving into an ASP market position. I am responsible for designing and quoting on WAN connectivity using a range of options including analogue dial-up, ISDN, frame relay and dedicated circuits. We restrict ourselves to using Cisco kit (routers and switches). I am also involved with configuring these and have experience with Cisco 1600, 2500, 3600, 4500 and 7500 series routers as well as experience with switches and layer 3 switching (although this is new in our network).
I manage and support a WAN that has nodes in Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney, Melbourne and Phoenix. We use Clear, Telecom and Telstra services, and have connections into Telstra New Zealand and Netlink. Five people report to me and another manager works alongside me dealing with administrative matters, such as determining billing models and managing our revenue streams. I am also involved in negotiating service level agreements with our various suppliers.
I reached my position by starting out as a customer support engineer, and taking on additional responsibility and workload as I proved my abilities.
I have a degree in computer science (and also in civil engineering – which helps me understand our clients businesses better than just having a purely theoretical degree, I believe). I have been working with Cisco IOS for the last five years though don't yet hold any certification. I am planning to do the CNA and hopefully CNE soon. I also do a lot of NT networking support and have experience with Radius security, ISOCOR mail and MS DNS with a tiny bit of exposure to Checkpoint firewall management.
Before my current job I did hardware support for IBM minicomputers (S34 and S36), and feel comfortable in a mini/mainframe environment, although most of my work now is with NT system connectivity. I have also had four years polytech teaching experience in business computing, specialising in hardware, networks and datacommunications.
IT @ Manpower replies: Sounds to me like the world's your oyster. Is that a mixed metaphor? You're both a manager and a technical specialist and that's good, so long as you don't allow one to get in the way of the other. For example, do you need to do Cisco certifications? Will the dollar investment produce a dollar return? Overall, however, networking professionals are in serious short supply, so I hope you're earning more than $85,000. If you work for a large multinational I would expect you to be nearer $95,000.