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Career Advice Needed Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, November 19, 2012 3:49 PM
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I have an interesting dilemma, and could use some advice.

I have spent the last two years as a Network Administrator for a small company (I have an associates degree in Computer Programming and Networking). My position had zero room for advancement and poor benefits; In my spare time I have been studying hard for the SQL Server Cert and I have experience writing queries, so I decided to forward my resume to our local university and had a promising interview for an entry-level SQL Programmer position (creating basic reports for management). My employer found out about the interview though and immediately let me go. Thankfully, my wife also works and we have some savings, so I'm not hurting for money at the moment. I've decided to use this as a motivator to make some positive decisions that will hopefully lead me to a more rewarding career.

Today I was offered a position at the University, but not the job I wanted. This position would be for a "Digitalization Technologist" which basically converts old manuscripts into digital files. It's IT-ish, but also has no room for advancement and doesn't do anything for my resume. It's also $7000 a year less then I was making before. It would be a foot in the door at the university, and would be money in my pocket right now, but I'm afraid it would not look good on my resume to take a lower position and less pay. I'm also still carrying hope for the SQL job; two weeks ago I was told that I was still be considered for that position. There will also probably be more jobs to apply for after the holidays.

The main reason I want to work at the University is because they offer one free class a semester. Ultimately, I want to transfer my credits there and finish a four year degree in Management Information Systems. At one class a semester, it will take me 6-7 years to graduate. Another option, would be to try to scrape by for a couple of years with just my wife's salary, get a student loan, and go back to school full-time. If I did that, I could graduate in two years. I feel like that degree would go a long way towards getting the position and pay I eventually want.

So should I take the job I'm not excited about? Hold out for a SQL job? Or go back to school full-time for an MIS Degree?
Post #1386624
Posted Monday, November 19, 2012 4:35 PM


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If you can secure the SQL role that'd be great.
I'd skip the digitalisation technologist Job WTF?! to be honest.

Good luck!


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Post #1386635
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012 2:41 PM
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I wouldn't advise getting your MIS unless your trying to go into management. I would say wait around for a SQL position and do odd jobs in the mean time. I personally didn't care about working odd jobs, I just wanted a job while I searched. I drove a van for a pre-school while I looked for a job. Didn't pay well but it allowed me time to do interviews and what not and still was money coming in. I wouldn't take that other job because it's definitely a step back. Apply for other jobs as well and don't wait for the other job to open up. I applied for over 500 positions when I got out of school. GL
Post #1387168
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012 7:20 AM
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Firing you because they found out you went to an interview sounds borderline illegal to me, but I'll guess you have checked into that. (I live in the UK - maybe in the US thats OK).

If you are asking me I would hold out for a job at least vaguely in the right field SQL/Network admin or maybe some of both at a small company. Even with an MIS degree, you will be hunting around for entry level IT jobs again. If you can get one without it, who needs it?

I would concentrate on leveraging your existing, proven skills in network admin to find a job using some netwrok admin and some SQL. Getting a db developer job on study alone may be harderr

Post #1387426
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012 8:21 AM


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Hold out for the SQL job, instead of the docs job. At the same time, I recommend looking around for other entry-level SQL jobs.

Career-wise, database work can go a LONG ways up the pay scale, including some very highly paid BI consulting work at the top of the scale (usually after 10 or more years of work in that field). It's a good one for advancement, specialization, increasing pay over time, etc. And US Dept of Labor expects demand to increase substantially over the next 25 years, while DBA unemployment is already below 3% nationally.

So, good pay, good prospects, good advancement, etc. Don't skip out on that if you're interested in it at all.

I would skip the MIS degree. That's for managers. B in Comp Sci should be all you need to get in the door at the places that want that kind of thing.

If you need part-time work while you job hunt, get whatever you can. Don't worry about gaps in resume with lower pay, etc. Current economy, nobody cares about that, and they will understand.


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Post #1387447
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012 8:52 AM
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Thanks for the input. I had a chance to sit down with a friend of mine who works at the university, and on his advice I have decided to accept the position I was offered. Apparently, the university shows extreme favoritism to university employees, and always offers new positions in-house first. He told me that by getting my foot in the door now, I can easily move around inside the company when a job I want becomes available. Hopefully, it wont be long before I can transfer over to a position working with SQL.

I've also decided to forgo the MIS degree and instead take one programming class after the other, since software development is what I eventually want to be doing. Becoming a good programmer, combined with lots of experience with databases, should put me where I want to go.
Post #1387464
Posted Monday, November 26, 2012 6:15 AM


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Getting the inside skinny is a good idea. May it work out well for you.

- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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