After working with Cisco technologies for the last 15 years or so, I am thinking about changing focus to different technologies
1. Cisco is 20% design and implementation, and 80% support. After putting in the equipment, circuits, UCM servers, etc., the day then becomes calling in down circuits, fixing end user phones, replacing bad router cards at 3AM Saturday morning, etc. A monkey could call in a down circuit or slap a new card in. A low level guy can configure a new phone or VM box, yet this is 80% of any networking job. Even troubleshooting end user VPN connections is a headache.
2. No Life: the networking department of any company is the one doing the most after-hours/holiday work. As most companies have moved to a 24/7 model, the support has become a total nightmare. I have a friend who does full-time security work now, but used to do networking. He says, "there is no way I would ever go back to that."
3. Constantly changing technologies: Cisco introduces products and then abandons them, and these products often find their way onto certification exams even after they have been abadoned/discontinued. Examples include CSPM or SDM. Back in the day, ATM LAN emulation was a big focus, then it was ditched within a couple months in early 2000. Remember the Cisco content engines?
4. Overseas outsourcing: Cisco has such a dim view of its own engineers that it has outsourced all its support to India. That doesn't reflect well on those of us still working here in the US.
5. Being in networking now means doing the job of 2-3 people but getting one salary. Remember the PBX guy? That's you now. Nevertheless, we will keep you at the same salary.
6. The network is not part of the "business": we are looked at as an expense to be minimized, not as a strategic department in the business, even if that business has a heavy technology focus. CNA Insurance laid off its entire networking department (outsourced it) because it viewed the department as an unnecessary expense.
So what we have is decreasing respect and return on investement (training, work experience, etc.) and increasing responsibility and headaches.
Yeah, I wasn't real impressed at the time either - I tried to organise my work colleagues for us all to take 2 weeks leave at the same time and see if his attitude was adjusted, but I couldn't pull it off.
I've never had the (mis)fortune to work at a University (although my wife has), but I reckon it'd be pretty galling to see the teachers get several (paid) weeks off on multiple occassions per year while you had to stay and slug it out with recalcitrant routers and switches - although it'd probably be a good time to get stuff done. :-)
My most recent gig prior to now was with a TV station - where you don't *get* downtime. I had to do a complete network replacement - removing some *very* dated Extreme switched and replacing them with a nexus 7000 core and 4948 access switches - and I had to build it in parallel then cutover piecemeal as various departments went offline - sometimes with windows as short as 30 minutes. That was interesting, in the Chinese curse sense of the word!
You're right,t here are worse things to be doing - long term unemployment (which I recently experienced) is one of them - but there are lots of better options too. Why won't someone just give me a couple of million bucks - then nobody would ever hear from me again! :-) :-)
For a purpose I did some analysis of discussion ratings. I would like to
share those numbers as they may interests someone. I analyzed rating of
discussions in LAN, Switching and Routing community. Overall statistics
Total number of discussions 72029 100....