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BlueWolf's Howl

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January 18, 2003

Eye on the Horizon

Today I'm installing Solaris 9 (a type of Unix) on a SPARCstation10 that was given to me a very long time ago. After years of putting it off, I'm finally taking a good, long look at Solaris. I even bought a really good "beginners" book for Solaris 9 (aimed at Win2k and Linux admins).

Yes, this is in between studying for Microsoft and Cisco tests. I'm not jumping ship and converting to Unix... I want to learn it (and Linux) in addition to knowing Windows NT and 2000. Call me a crazy, little geek, but I think I know what's going to be the next "hot thing" in the computer job marketplace.

IT budgets are shrinking. IT jobs are not anywhere near as plentiful as they were just a mere two years ago. Prospective employers are looking to get the most out of their smaller budgets. They're trying to leverage the most out of the hardware currently existing on their networks. Many businesses already have a "mixed" environment. They don't want to buy new hardware to "work around" the limitations of their personnel. They want personnel who can work around their existing (and projected) hardware. IT budgets can no longer afford to hire a Unix sysadmin and a Microsoft sysadmin and segregate the network. If they try to do that, they can only afford a less than competitive salary for each position. By combining the position, a business can offer a more competitive salary > but that would require a higher calibre employee.

Every place I've worked always had a mixture of equipment. I've yet to see an "all Microsoft" network. There's always a Sun box here or a Linux box there. Maybe it's a DNS server or an IDS station, but it's there. And you always look like a doofus if you don't know how to work it. Users and managers don't understand that the Operating Systems are comparable to English, Russian and Japanese. It's a computer. You're a computer person. You *should* be able to make this thing work.

I want to be the one who can make that all work. And I want to get paid well for it. After all, I'm the one taking the time and effort to become "multilingual." The other alternatives are: 1) take their employee(s) and pay for them to get trained or 2) hire additional personnel. Of course, that's making the assumption that the employee *wants* to get trained on an alternate system (and we all know about what happens when you assume....) or that the budget exists to hire additional personnel. Most times, neither of those alternatives are available. Which means businesses are going to need multi-platform network engineers. And I want to be ready by the time they realize they have this need. I want to be at the forefront of the next wave of "hot skills."

The worst that could happen is that I learn something. And that's always a good thing...

Posted by BlueWolf on January 18, 2003 05:12 PM