Salary Question, with past experience. Good Read. (May apply to others)

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May 17th, 2007
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I have 3.5 years of Network Administration experience in the defense industry. I am self taught, with no certifications yet. I have CCNA book wendel odom, INTRO/ICND, Sybex Book, bought the Boson router, and didnt download a cracked copy.

I have been exposed to Exchange 2003, Websense, Pix Firewalls, VPN Concentrators, Veritas, 9 server environment with a wan consisting of 6 offices.

I am 1-2 years away from a 4 yr degree in business, and I assume 3-4 months from attempting to take my CCNA cert.

In two years I will have 5.5-6 yrs of exp, and maybe even a CCNP by then, or higher , Ihave no way to gauge certification progress after CCNA.

Once this two years pass, and I am where I stated, what are salaries for that type of experience in your areas. Would like input from others around America, and possibly the world.

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scottmac Sat, 05/19/2007 - 05:28
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Even for a given area, I think you'll find a pretty broad range of salaries for a given occupational level.

Some of the variables are things like whether you are hired as an employee, or as a contractor through an agency, the nature of the business (and the scope of the business), and the hours associated with the job (day/ evening / night, on-call, Day + some nights & weekends for maintenance ...).

Many large organizations are hiring by way of a contractor job ... they hire you as a contractor, then bring you on as an employee later (sometimes 6 months to two years). As a contractor, you may or may not get the same pay and benefits as an employee.

Banks & financial institutions (fund managers, for example) tend to pay higher, but, due to the critical nature of the job, may also expect you to be on-call/available 24X7 in case of problems.

VARs & consultant organizations might be a little lower in pay (or not), but you tend to gain exposure to a broader variety of equipment, applications, and infrastructure ... usually excellent experience, and generally you will gain better-than-average troubleshooting skills (because you tend to see more problems than your average corporate networking person).

I suppose the bottom line is that you have to look beyond the paycheck (important to be paid, fer sher), but you also have to examine the environment that the paycheck will impose. At that point you decide if the money is worth what you have to do to earn it. Everyone is different ... a traveling job might be great for a young, unmarried person ... but be unacceptable for an older married person; it's up to the individual to make that kind of decision.

All that being said, I'd ballpark something like 35-50K around Chicago.

Good Luck


dgoodridge Mon, 05/21/2007 - 02:19
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Good post Scott.

Just for info in the UK (London & South East) without a CCNA I'd guess at a ball park of ?22-28k ($44-56k) but once you've got your qualifications and more industry experience IMHO this might raise to ?26-33k ($52-66k).

ryanwesteagle Mon, 05/21/2007 - 05:42
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That sort of frightens me in a way.

Cost of living in UK/London, and/or Chicago is probably ridiculously high.

a Salary of 50k in both those locations could warrant poverty almost? heh

I live in the south in North Alabama, and the cost of living is pretty low, and I make Just under $34,300

Just trying to get a feel for around america, possibly the world.

Would like to hear more input from others here from various states.

I should have a CCNA within 4 months, and the Business degree in about 1.4 years.


Wilson Samuel Mon, 05/21/2007 - 10:11
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Come to Boston, MA here everything is pretty decent, if you are open for a relocation.

Here average sals are kinda 50K plus.



Wilson Samuel

dgoodridge Tue, 05/22/2007 - 00:44
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I wouldn't worry too much. There are so many factors that influence the salary range, such as:

- Type of employer (Financials pay top whack but smaller businesses don't)

- Type of experience. Experience speaks loads, if you've got a fully racked CV (resume) then you can demand more.

- Personality - If you talk the talk and people have confidence in your ability thats a plus.

If you're good at what you do, got lots of experience and don't mind taking on responsibility then that salary can be as high as ?40-45k (?80-90K).

Strangely enough I looked into moving from London to Chicago (I love Chicago) and actually found the wages for the types of jobs I was after to be higher in Chicago. What actually put me off was the different way of working.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but in the states the emphasis seemed to be on putting the hours in and working yourself silly (long hours) to impress the boss in the hope to progress and get the good pay rise. In the UK there is a lot of flexible working like working from home or compressed hours (longer days but having a day off each week). Businesses in the UK tend to be more results driven rather than how many hours you've put in during the week. I'm working on a family so that's suits me fine. It'd be interesting to know peoples take on this....


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