Looking to move into new skills area
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    Default Looking to move into new skills area

    Hi all

    I am currently a support Engineer for a large UK firm. However, because I do such a range of different roles, I have never really specialised in anything. Our company does things like Desktop rollouts, switch installs and basic config, desktop support to a certain level. I would say I am level 1/2 desktop support at the moment only because I'm never on it long enough to specialise as the next project is always something different, but I've been using Windows for at least 15 years myself so I know my way around. I need to choose something to specialise in, even maybe on the network side of things, although if the pay was decent I would stick with Desktop support or the next step up (I'd be happy with 150 or more a day contracting (London). I'm 41 now so aware that I may have "woken up" too late, but on the plus side my CV would look good as we have fulfilled some high level projects (Olympics desktop support, BBC London rollout) and I've team led some small teams along the way, and 10 years experience with the company.
    I guess I'd like to know whats a good skill to jump to which I could use my limited experience to backup in interviews. If anything grabs me I'd do a crash course in it and use my CV as proof of experience (though I know theres no subsitute for real experience). Be keen to hear any ideas

    Thanks

    Marc

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    You will be competing with people with real skills in the chosen area so what chances do you think you will have? Companies hire contractors for experience, permies for potential. And offering low rates merely ups the agency margin for them with no effort.

    You don't progress by contracting. If you were coding, then we would probably suggest working some open source programmes for learning, but that doesn't really work for the tin and wires stuff. You should be looking at a permie role and use that to gain the experience across several areas. Otherwise stay contracting, keep trying different but related roles and take you chances.
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    What Mal says. Deciding on a skill is one thing. Actually gaining any demonstrable skill in it to be able to pass yourself off as an experienced contractor is going to be nigh on impossible with such a fundamental shift.

    Maybe look around your local area for the type of roles that offer you some skills would be your focus and then plump for the best offer rather tie yourself to trying to get a role that will offer you a single skill of your choosing. It sounds like it's going to be a pretty fundamental shift so you'll be starting off at the bottom, even in permie world.
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    Sorry, should have made clear, I'm permanent at the moment, just many varying roles due to different projects, I'm looking to upskill and get into better permanent role or contracting

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    Cloud is a hot subject, so anything to do with moving infrastructure, desktops or applications to the cloud is worth having as a specialisation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rentose303 View Post
    Sorry, should have made clear, I'm permanent at the moment, just many varying roles due to different projects, I'm looking to upskill and get into better permanent role or contracting
    Have you spoken with your manager about this? Surely 1on1s are for this, discussing and planing your development, setting goals etc. Your best bet for growing is as a permie within your organisation. If your manager is getting in the way - swap employers with someone who is interested in developing their talent.

    Contracting is not for upskilling or direction change. It's to increase earnings when your technical progression in an area plateaued and the only way forward is management, but you want to stay in tech. Or for flexibility, or both.

    Don't understand the people doing low end contracts for 1-2nd level support for 150ish/day. This is sacrificing your long term chances for advancements and higher earnings for short term higher earnings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rentose303 View Post
    Hi all

    I am currently a support Engineer for a large UK firm.
    1) Pick an area you want to specialise in based on a) What you like/are good at/want to move into; b) What roles are available in your area; c) what the pay is like (use itjobswatch).
    2) Get good at it, lots of free ebooks online, practice on a home lab that you build yourself
    3) Tweak your CV to highlight this knowledge at your current job, this could be in the form of a test project you did off your own bat.
    4) Apply for contracts.
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