Ask the Expert
Thank you for a great newsletter. In 1993 I completed my Novell CNE and became a Novell authorized reseller. I started a business servicing Novell networks and installing them for lawyers. I successfully implemented a $110,000 network for a client. In so doing I overwhelmed myself with work and found myself short of some experience, so I put the business on hold and went to work for a large company on a project team implementing a client server network of 7,000 computers (on NT 4.0).
I have drifted from a fairly technical IT background to a project management background, yet I am currently no longer certified in either. I have racked my brains wondering which way to go — technical (networking and security) or PMP.
I hold and electrical engineering degree and am currently 50 years old. I am concerned that a PMP designation would not be valuable without a technical certification. I feel I am getting too old to do the technician type work. Could I use my background and technical prowess and become a consultant in this market? What career path would you suggest? Is it worth getting an MCSE and security background at this late date? The experience factor concerns me. I feel it’s too late. Your comments would be greatly appreciated.
– Ted L., Muskeegee, MN
In your various musings and the information you provide in your posting, I see you leaning away from working as a technical contributor and more as a project manager or consultant. My gut feel is that given your background and your interests, you would find the PMP to be sufficient to keep yourself busy for the next 3-4 years. You’re also right to be concerned, however, about keeping your technical knowledge at a level where you can manage technical contributors effectively. To that end, it might also be worthwhile to obtain and maintain an MCSA rather than going for the full-blown MCSE. This requires taking 4 exams to obtain, and a single exam to upgrade and might be just the solution to your dilemma.
Likewise, if you’re interested in security, you might consider going after the Security+ and then the CISSP, assuming you can meet the latter credential’s stringent “3 years of relevant OTJ experience, plus a college degree” requirement. Security is a VERY hot field right now and full of opportunity for the foreseeable future.
Good luck, whatever you decide.