[RndTbl] User to Super-user to career change

Troy Denton trdenton at gmail.com
Wed Oct 20 13:21:38 CDT 2021

As for finding what's available, try reaching out to a recruiter e.g.
https://www.aplin.com to help with your search.  They get paid by the
It's worth keeping an eye on https://remotists.com/,
https://www.flexjobs.com/, etc for remote jobs.  If you can find a position
in a data center or similar where you can leverage your trade skills, you
can probably do better on the salary front.

As for adding business value to your skills - DevOps is a good buzzword to
have on the resume. You might consider learning AWS or a similar cloud
provider, it's a very employable skill.


On Wed, Oct 20, 2021 at 12:33 PM Adam Thompson <athompso at athompso.net>

> [not using your numbering scheme]
> 1. Unless you move to a different city, (Silicon Valley, Boston, Toronto,
> *maybe* Vancouver) you will - VERY generally speaking - never even come
> close to reaching what you could theoretically make as a self-employed red
> seal electrician.  (If you're a non-union employee right now, then it's a
> lot closer.)
> There are specific niches where you can make more, but good luck finding
> them and getting into them.  Alternately, there are some very high-pressure
> networking jobs that make really good money here, I wouldn't touch them
> with a 10' pole.
> Switching careers mid-life is HARD, and very financially painful for up to
> 5 years on average (AFAIK).  I don't know any way around that.  What I've
> read suggests you take a up-to-10-year hit to get back to where you were,
> unless you get lucky.
> If you have your LPIC-1 and some sort of certification as a programmer,
> that gets you a junior programmer job.  It *might* get you a junior
> sysadmin job, but there's not that much Linux sysadmin work in Winnipeg -
> and definitely not at the junior level.  All the jobs I've heard of in the
> last 5yrs are mostly-Windows with some Linux and some networking.
> The place I left 2yrs ago was paying junior sysadmins somewhere between
> $40k and $50k, intermediate ~$50-55k, and senior ~$60k.  Granted, the owner
> was a !@#$% scrooge, but from what I can tell, that's about normal for
> small shops in Winnipeg.  (Ther are a lot of them.)  I don't know what they
> paid the programmers, but I do know that everyone who left that firm, left
> to get a substantial raise from much-larger employers.  I've heard BOLD
> pays well, but no actual numbers.
> 2. Programming and sysadmin are classically an either/or choice, but...
> I'm a network engineer who still does a ton of sysadmin stuff, who used to
> be a programmer for the first half of his career.  That used to be a fairly
> common career path.
> Nowadays, though, programming + sysadmin = DevOps, which has been the
> buzzword-du-jour for most of the last decade.  The focus is still on
> programming, essentially it's programming while being expected to know how
> to do your own deployments and manage the servers your code runs on.
> (There's no single definition of DevOps.  Google for yourself, it's a mess.)
> Everyone and their dog claims to be doing DevOps now, and ... almost
> no-one really is.  IMHO.  Kind like everyone's "Agile" now, and it's mostly
> just B.S., a new word to slap onto existing processes to make the VPs feel
> better.
> But DevOps would potentially give you a slight advantage if you go the
> programming route.  And being DevOps, IMHO, lets you delay choosing one
> path or the other as long as you want.
> 3. Restating what I said in #1, differently:  DO NOT go into tech, at
> least in Manitoba, to make money.  Go into it because you love technology,
> and programming/sysadmin/networking makes your brain happy.  Aim for the
> largest employers you can (typically insurance companies) if salary is
> important.  Those big employers will kill your soul and your brain and your
> skills, but they'll pay you reasonably while they do it :-).
> YMMV, that's just my experience.
> Just a thought: what about more slowly pivoting from electrical to network
> cabling, then to network switching/routing/firewalling?  I don't really
> know if that's feasible here or not.
> -Adam
> On 2021-10-20 10:41, Chris Schick wrote:
> Good day,
> I'm interested in making a drastic career change and want to get a better
> feel for where I fit. I'm a Red Seal electrician and an instructor at RRC
> but have always wanted to work in tech. The tricky part is that I'm 42,
> married with 2 kids, 2 cats and a mortgage. And the cats eat a LOT. I
> either need to get in at an intermediate position or at least have the
> opportunity to rise to that point fairly quickly.
> I've been studying Linux Sys Admin courses in my evenings and am close to
> getting my LPIC-1 certification. I also have a strong programming
> background. At this point I could go either way, towards software
> development or system administration. The friends I have spoken to suggest
> that it is either-or, that programming and sysadmin do not go together in
> most regular jobs.
> I'm putting together a portfolio of projects I've worked on at home,
> raspberry pi stuff, messing with my network, and also my GitHub profile.
> My two questions are:
>    1. What's available to me and what is a reasonable expectation for a
>    first job?
>    2. What else can I do to add business value to my skills?
> Thanks in advance, I feel awkward  asking this here but after slow-burning
> this idea for 3 years I need to make a change before I spend another 25 in
> the wrong job.
> CS
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