My short bio:
25 year-old highschool dropout working in the computer industry (Senior Network Engineer). Currently make $105,000 annually and recently completed my GED.
My short bio:
25 year-old highschool dropout working in the computer industry (Senior Network Engineer). Currently make $105,000 annually and recently completed my GED.
Comments: 414 • Responses: 56 • Date: 2013-12-23 21:41:23 UTCsource
diglyd62 karma2013-12-24 06:20:08 UTC
OP you did a great job climbing your way up to a very good position within IT and networking and I would like to congratulate you on that.
One thing that I hope you gleam form this experience and pay close attention to is that technology jobs and the IT industry in general is quite cyclical and sometimes they are not that stable.
Since its the end of the year a few weeks ago there might have been some HR consultant that you have never seen or even heard off at your company looking over your position on some spreadsheet to determine whether you should go or you should stay followed by a meeting. I've been to those.
At your level you are expensive as IT is a money sink not a profit center.
So the question I would ask myself if I was in your position is "Can I sustain this earning level?" and more importantly "Can I scale and if so what will it take?". What is your goal? Another Cisco cert or learning Openstack isn't the long term answer regarless of what you think the next technology flavor of the day is. Shit like that changes regularly....first it was MCSE, then CISCO, then whatever now its Saleforce consultants and programing languages.
Getting better with some tech might sustain you at your current level or close to it as IT shifts focus but if you want to stay at where you are or go beyond in IT your option is either project/program management, department management (either middle management or an IT director or higher) or working for yourself as either a freelancer or starting your own company that specializes in whatever it is that you are passionate about. (I would recommend the self employment route).
As a senior network engineer you are pretty much topped off as far as salary is concerned and if not you soon will be and when that happens it won't be long until you are replaced by someone who is younger, hungrier, more educated then you and who looks better to the company PR/HR machine on paper even if he can only do 50% of what you can do, and who will do it for 25%-40% less.
There isn't that much more room for you to go and beyond where you are now without a college degree, and without that paper you will be passed on for promotion regardless of your experience. I have seen this happen over and over to good and hard working people who were 100 times better then the dumbasses who got promoted. Once you see this over time it might make you bitter and angry toward your employers.
A college diploma wasn't as important a few years ago but thanks to the recent downturn in the economy which made many people go back to school, a masters degree is the new bachelors and many even middle management positions or sr. level networking positions are increasingly just closed to anyone without at least a bachelors. Getting promoted to a management position from a non management position is hard within a company you work at, so the best option is to get one at another company but without a degree its equally difficult.
I have many friends in the same position as you who rose to pretty good Senior level Network Engineer, Network Admin, Architect or similar positions over the last few years and they naively believe that they will be there forever or that their skills are so awesome that they will instantly get another job that pays more and be able to sustain it for another 5-6 years. They are all in the $85-100k+ range at best. They do not realize that the world is changing and its not just the technologies but the hiring practices where there is now heavy focus on cost cutting, getting the most while paying the least, and hiring contractors instead of full time employees.
Unless they are Sr. level programmers in some stack that companies rely on like .Net or SQL/Database programmers they aren't making over $110-$130. Only other non manager people I know who make 130-200+ are Senior and Staff Engineers with for example a Masters in Electrical Engineering and 10-20 years of experience working at very bleeding edge companies like MS, Google, WD, Intel, etc. (bleeding edge as far as access to tech and resources).
Learning python and openstack can take you toward the development route but you are still seen as an expense and still as a support resource not really different from any of the other IT guys to people who do not know any better yet make all the decisions.
Anyone else that i know who makes good money in IT or long term money is some sort of an upper manager and 90% of them are pretty incompetent (at least until you get to the VP or CEO level and even then you find a sociopath/ or peter principle hard at work) but they know how to effectively use hard working people like you to get ahead.
Its a myth that the computer industry and IT turns dropouts into wealthy businessmen. The Michael Dell's of the world did not work in an IT department for years getting certifications and learning how to set up their Juniper or Cisco routers. They were salesmen or entrepreneurs or they said "fuck the establishment" and decided to do shit their own way after they tried to sell out and no one wanted their shit.
I have spent many years in all levels of IT and it is shit. The best thing you can do is work for yourself. Get your certs, learn your tools, and build your network on their dime and then take all that knowledge that you accumulated and start your own thing, or freelance as an expert in your field. Promote yourself and grow your brand. Tinker with some shit on your spare time and solve a problem that everyone has. Then figure out how to sell it to them. This is key.
The amount of money you are making in Networking is great and should be commended. Compared to many other professions its amazing and more then many families make together. In IT however where you are at could be a gateway for many other opportunities. Don't think in linear terms of just going up with more certs.
Think of how you can provide greater value and automate that value so that you can provide even more value to a greater number of clients or people. That is what will set you free.
Working for your company will eventually end in your dismissal unless you fast track a degree via some online program or show them that you are on that path by telling everyone how you enrolled in shool and you are doing it for them.
I know you are proud of your accomplishment and that is good but don't forget that by cutting you from the company org chart along with someone else that might be on the chopping block for whatever reason you instantly make some manager look really good to his boss as he just saved the company over $150+k. (you and someone else's salary included). Although what you do you feel is important it does not mean that the company feels the same way too.
Upper management has no clue to what you do and only sees maybe 1/5 or 1/10 of what you are responsible for. If they can figure out a way to save 100k they will and if its your bosses ass on the line vs yours, guess who will get laid off? What you do can be easily outsourced or given to several other people in your group until a suitable replacement is found.
Companies always behave in illogical ways and what you think will happen never happens the way you imagined. Stay on your toes. Put away as much as you can while you are making great money for the raininy day that will come sooner then later.
So yeah don't stop with the GED keep going and get your BS in addition to just learning more tech or look at starting your own business as then having a degree won't matter as much since none of your clients will care. (only investors will if you are looking for funding).
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DropoutSuccess20 karma2013-12-24 06:32:36 UTC
Every line of this is gold. I hope a lot of people read this.
Like you mentioned I have pretty much two paths ahead of me. Start my own consulting firm or go into management.
I'm trying the management approach. I need help figuring out how to get there without a degree (difficult but not impossible). I will probably start working on my associates in business.
I will also probably say "fuck it" and start my own consulting firm.
CubedRoot2 karma2013-12-24 18:58:20 UTC
Even if you start your own consulting firm, the companies that hire you will want to see some sort of credentials. It will be hard to land contracts when you are competiting against other consultants with some pedigrees behind their credentials.
Good luck getting into any type of management position with having at least a Bachelors. A Bachelors in something is a requirement on most management positions, even entry level, front line supervisors. See my post above about the flood of people that are getting out of school now. They went back to school back in 2007-2008 in order to keep their unemployment checks coming from the economic downturn. Now, they are graduates holding 4 year degrees, and there is a metric shit ton of them coming into the workforce.
There are so many of them in my area, that most companies are wanting a Bachelors for entry level, help desk work. It has prompted me to go back to school to earn my MBA just to differentiate.
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 19:34:26 UTC
10 years of experience and many of the higher-end industry certifications are what I'm standing on right now. You're right about the degree though. I need to put it on my road map and quickly.
rollmop149 karma2013-12-24 03:34:05 UTC
Do colleges hate you?
DropoutSuccess11 karma2013-12-24 04:36:00 UTC
KennyLog-in32 karma2013-12-23 23:50:42 UTC
We need something more than a screenshot to prove your employment, thanks.
DropoutSuccess10 karma2013-12-23 23:54:59 UTC
I'm new to this. Do you have a suggestion?
KennyLog-in7 karma2013-12-23 23:56:17 UTC
A business card works well. You can send it anonymously to the moderators.
DropoutSuccess8 karma2013-12-24 00:04:38 UTC
Raiden_Gekkou23 karma2013-12-23 21:50:01 UTC
It always seems as though it's the computer industry that turns dropouts into wealthy businessmen. Do you know of any other professions where innovation is highly rewarded?
DropoutSuccess22 karma2013-12-23 21:52:40 UTC
That's actually a really good question. The only other industry I could imagine getting "rich" with little prior skills in is sales-type positions.
I think good sales people are "born" though. So I would be open to suggestions on how to go down that path. Emotional intelligence probably has a lot to do with it.
terranitdown9 karma2013-12-23 22:03:44 UTC
How many Certs do you currently have? and which ones do you plan on getting next?
I'm another highschool dropout currently working at a help desk :)
DropoutSuccess35 karma2013-12-23 22:14:48 UTC
Let me elaborate a little more on why you need to learn OpenStack and SDN.
It is the new technology. It will dominate the marketplace in 2-4 years and the demand for people who understand it will be incredibly high while the people who know it will be relatively low. This means more jobs for fewer people and much higher asking prices for your skills.
The best thing to do is to get a small linux server or two (cheaper is better). Install OpenStack. Tear it apart. Be insanely curious how everything works. If you learn OpenStack through and through you will immediately have invested in your future and will become supremely marketable in the next 2 years. Do this well and you will make six figures in the next 3-4 years.
holmser4 karma2013-12-24 04:26:11 UTC
I would argue that you should learn AWS over OpenStack. It is the industry leader by a huge margin. It pains me to say that as I'm a huge fan of Ubuntu, Rackspace, and open source in general.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 05:04:29 UTC
AWS is also great. One should probably learn them both.
Is not AWS targeted more at the Large Service Provider market though? I am actually spending the majority of my free time on Open Contrail right now. We are a big Juniper shop.
holmser3 karma2013-12-24 07:40:35 UTC
The real power of AWS is that it allows a small companies to use enterprise grade architecture without any of the initial capital investment and only paying for what you use. It allows startups to use the same infrastructure as established companies like Netflix and Amazon. This video is a really good overview of the system even if it is a bit long.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 07:44:30 UTC
Great information. Again, I think the private and hybrid clouds will take over first until people get comfortable having all of their "marbles" in the cloud. It's one of the partially unfounded trust things that will wear away over time.
mangage4 karma2013-12-24 03:46:05 UTC
Do you need to know any languages prior to OpenStack? If so, which, and what aspects of them are most important? If not, what skills are required?
strongjz5 karma2013-12-24 04:17:29 UTC
Openstack is a set apis that provision compute, network and storage written in pythron. You don't necessarily need to know python.
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 06:13:25 UTC
This is a better reply. You don't need to know Python to use OpenStack.
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 04:34:55 UTC
You should probably have a foundation in at least one web-esque programming language (PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl). Most of the upcoming network orchestration stuff I see is being done in Python. A lot of it uses north-bound APIs and XML (or JSON).
Best bet: Buy a begineers python book and start "dabbling" and use irc.freenode.net #python
entfromhoth3 karma2013-12-24 06:00:24 UTC
if you were to recommend a book for openstack, which would you chose? im looking at amazon and there are quite a few of them to pick from...
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 06:03:32 UTC
The best information is "Free" right now. OpenStack.org
slccsoccer282 karma2013-12-24 06:44:18 UTC
I actually just took an SDN class at my uni. Interesting, but honestly I've been having trouble seeing exactly where SDN is useful.
Any insight as to what type of applications SDN is useful for?
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 06:46:30 UTC
SDN itself is often poorly explained.
Think of it like this. I have 1000 switches in my large company data center. Right now, I need someone to plug in the configuration directly into each of those 1000 switches and to manage them individually. It takes a lot of people to do this.
NOW, I have SDN. I have 1000 switches in my large company data center that I program from a single controller. I don't really care what or where the switches are because I manage them all from a single point of software.
Now I just cut 10 network engineers out of my workforce and improved my ability to expand and build new networks.
OceanSiren8 karma2013-12-23 21:46:29 UTC
How hard was it to find a job initially?
DropoutSuccess19 karma2013-12-23 21:47:33 UTC
Luckily, I was working for a company before I dropped out. I never told them I did not graduate. A lot of companies that followed assumed and never checked.
EDIT: Replaced "graduate" with graduate
OceanSiren4 karma2013-12-23 21:51:09 UTC
You're one smart cookie. Congrats on your success :)
DropoutSuccess7 karma2013-12-23 21:53:18 UTC
Thank you! Hopefully it continues and I don't get "automated"!
rm-minus-r6 karma2013-12-24 06:54:43 UTC
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 06:58:16 UTC
Great post. Agreed on all counts.
Im_into_weird_stuff6 karma2013-12-23 21:48:42 UTC
how did you get become a senior network engineer?
DropoutSuccess11 karma2013-12-23 21:51:06 UTC
Study, study, study. I have about 50 books in my collection currently. Mostly from Cisco Press. I am currently a "Cisco Certified Network Professional" (CCNP) but I have aspirations to get my "Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert" (CCIE) certificate as well.
iSmite3 karma2013-12-23 23:21:18 UTC
Are you working in canada?
DropoutSuccess6 karma2013-12-23 23:21:30 UTC
iSmite3 karma2013-12-23 23:28:14 UTC
I interned in that field for a year but didn't like it much. I am studying engineering at a college. I switched to oil and gas then. My hourly salary is equivalent to 80k per year and I am not even into my final year yet.
The very reason that I switched was because of money. :/
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-23 23:38:41 UTC
Oil and gas is great. Many friends in the industry.
Not sure how much longer the "boom" is going to last there though. Any thoughts on that? Maybe another 4-8 years?
iSmite5 karma2013-12-23 23:42:18 UTC
I am getting the fuck out after five years of full time work.
DropoutSuccess6 karma2013-12-23 23:56:08 UTC
I think that is a wise decision. My friends get beat-up and work shit hours.
ZeroRacer2 karma2013-12-24 00:09:23 UTC
My father works there dude. How do you like the job?
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 00:12:58 UTC
The IT department is a bit "crazy" with a clear lack of leadership and a bit of an overspending problem. Otherwise, the people are awesome. The work is unique and cutting-edge and there are a lot of talented people around.
Overall, I like it a lot so far.
Qtip1386 karma2013-12-24 15:12:34 UTC
I'm 30 making 120 K a year driving truck for the railroad. Completed grade 10. When the trains are stopped things get expensive. So everything is always in a hurry. The hours I work are way out to lunch. 70+ a week. If there is a derailment my shift goes from hours on the clock to days. I make 31 an hour anything after 44 hours in a week or 10 hours in a day is time and a half. Holidays and Sundays are double time. My apologies for my grammar but like I said before I only have my grade 10.
My short bio:
25 year-old highschool dropout working in the computer industry (Senior Network Engineer). Currently make $105,000 annually and recently completed my GED.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 18:30:35 UTC
harborhound5 karma2013-12-24 01:56:48 UTC
Good on you man. I hate the stereotype that you have to go to college to get good money. My wife and I are both 25, high school grads but no college degrees. I make 65k a year as a warehouse manager and she is making around 100-110 after bonuses as a restaurant general manager. So many people look down on working at restaurants but if you kick ass you can make bank. I always say it doesn't matter if your a rocket scientist or a janitor just be the best dam janitor out there.
DropoutSuccess5 karma2013-12-24 02:36:39 UTC
I love this story. Congrats to all of us!
lazybum955 karma2013-12-23 21:45:44 UTC
How did you do it?
DropoutSuccess15 karma2013-12-23 21:48:32 UTC
A LOT of job hopping. It's true that you are valued at what you made at your last job.
It is critical to articulate your skills from the position of helping the company.
A lot of it was probably luck too. That I had interest in a booming industry.
entfromhoth5 karma2013-12-24 05:45:36 UTC
as an unemployed 26 year old student living at my parents house because i didnt make smart choices in my early 20's, i just want to say...i hate you. i'm insanely jealous of you. enjoy it.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 05:49:11 UTC
Thank you. I wish there was more focus on the potential of young talent in the work force. Often, the old guys hold the keys and see younger talent as a threat.
We're both still ridiculously young. I could be unemployed next week. Look for something you love doing and follow it with a blind unrelenting passion - the rest will work itself out.
SmashinBeavers4 karma2013-12-23 22:41:14 UTC
I am on a similar path and it is very surprising how much a company will simply assume because of relevant experience. I am finally going to College now but the GED was the first step, good luck to you and your path kind sir.
DropoutSuccess5 karma2013-12-23 22:49:46 UTC
Good luck to you as well!
Make sure you keep a constant eye on job boards and what/who they are hiring and what skills they have. This will help keep you "in line" with the market.
HitlersPubes4 karma2013-12-23 21:53:49 UTC
Any advice for someone that didn't go to college and is looking for a job?
DropoutSuccess10 karma2013-12-23 21:57:05 UTC
Helpdesk positions are plenty and very easy to get into (some minor computer skills required). They are often really shitty positions that require you to "close out tickets" and take calls from computer illiterates. These jobs are the best stepping stones into small consulting firms. I find many jobs on craigslist in the systems/network page. Look for helpdesk and in a year or two you can probably make 36-42K.
DropoutSuccess5 karma2013-12-23 22:00:21 UTC
As an example:
2 years of experience = $41K.
vigilante2122 karma2013-12-24 01:27:07 UTC
The smarter the end user thinks they are the dumber they actually are.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 01:37:52 UTC
PapiQuAke4 karma2013-12-23 23:40:57 UTC
I plan to pursue computer sciences when I graduate, is it worth going to university for this experience or I will just learn by myself and do an odd job for the meantime?
DropoutSuccess15 karma2013-12-23 23:48:39 UTC
My real recommendation to you is this:
Pursue a degree that translates to oil/gas immediately but has long term growth potential. Like a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
And PLEASE for the love of <deity> look at Craigslist, TheLadders, CareerBuilder, etc. and see what types of people companies are asking for and how much they are paying them. Most "advisors" at colleges are incompetent to the real workforce (do not trust them).
PapiQuAke3 karma2013-12-24 00:03:01 UTC
Any recommendations? My plan when I was a boy was engineering like my dad, but considering I'm having a hard time in physics (although I'm good in pre calc) I choose something else that I'm interested in, which is computers. I can't think of anything else to do with my life after high school (graduating next year)
DropoutSuccess6 karma2013-12-24 00:07:52 UTC
This is a potentially good process to follow:
1) What makes you happy?
2) What are you good at?
3) What can you make money doing?
This list is a good starting point. If you like "snowboarding" and you are good at it then go out to craigslist.org, careerbuilder, theladders, etc. and start typing in "snowboarding" and looking for jobs. Read the requirements. Align your next X years to meet those requirements.
Use salary.com to find out how much that person makes. Adjust your expectations.
Don't go into any large amount of debt to go to college. If you're coming out of college with more than $20K of debt; skip it. My 2 cents.
PapiQuAke2 karma2013-12-24 00:10:59 UTC
I can only think of computers, I can assemble computers. Teacher recommends computer sciences because I like using computers and don't mind learning more about the networking, software and stuff.
My parents will be supporting me, just worried I won't succeed...
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 00:15:57 UTC
The number-one key to success is enjoying what you do. If you truly love working with computers than you will be fine. Stay curious and ask a ton of questions. Tear things apart.
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-23 23:46:35 UTC
If you plan to be a programmer and your institution teaches relevant course ware (Python, Ruby on Rails, C/C++, Java) then you will be fine pursuing a degree.
However, if you are looking for a career in more of the "fast moving" technologies like server administration, networking, etc. then a college degree is a total waste of money.
Please note that programmers don't make as much going in and the "high-end" jobs often require many, many, many years of experience. It's also pretty shitty and unrewarding work in my opinion (although I personally wouldn't mind doing it for a while).
big_guns7 karma2013-12-24 03:07:12 UTC
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 04:36:48 UTC
That's a great point. Development is the backbone of what is actually "moving" in these industries. However, there are too many dead end developer jobs out there to count.
socket_wrench4 karma2013-12-24 02:44:02 UTC
What made you decide to pursue your GED?
How did your teachers/other students in the program react to your life situation?
DropoutSuccess5 karma2013-12-24 04:49:38 UTC
I did not take a program or sit in any GED classes. I probably wouldn't have handled that very well. Highschool was a bit traumatic for me (and millions of other kids I can imagine).
At any rate I bought "McGraw-HIll's GED : The Most Complete and Reliable Study Program for the GED Tests" on Amazon took the tests a few days after completing each section. I did the Language Arts (Writing), Language Arts (Reading) and the Math in one sit. I just finished Science and Social Studies. I did really shitty on the science portion but wound up with an 764/800 on the "battery".
joeyjackandjim4 karma2013-12-24 02:17:14 UTC
How much of that is yours to take home after your pimp gets his cut?
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 02:38:49 UTC
If by "pimp" you mean the government tax man... I take home about 67%. At least that's what I imagine.
BlackRobFord4 karma2013-12-24 06:13:45 UTC
Any regrets not going to college for "the experience", everyone I have ever talked to has said college was the best time of their life. As a Junior in highschool I can not wait until its college time, free tuition will be good too.
Any recomendations for me? I am taking an AP computer science class at the moment, my teacher is god awful and no one knows whats going on. I do find all of it very interesting though.
DropoutSuccess5 karma2013-12-24 06:17:49 UTC
If your college is paid for there is no excuse not to go.
As far as computer stuff; worry about it later. Social skills are more important.
Pyr00tis3 karma2013-12-24 13:26:39 UTC
To be fair, in your field you don't need high school, as long as you know what your doing.
DropoutSuccess6 karma2013-12-24 18:29:40 UTC
Spaceghostfacekillah3 karma2013-12-24 03:00:58 UTC
DropoutSuccess14 karma2013-12-24 04:40:37 UTC
Message me. I can help you network.
I love helping young professionals beat the mold.
whileromeburns883 karma2013-12-24 05:59:26 UTC
Are you planning on getting a college degree at any point?
I ask because I'm in my 20s, meaning people my parents' age made up that first tech generation where guys were getting into programming without going to college or going to college and leaving without a degree. I was a teenager when the dot com bubble burst in 2000 and saw a lot of my friends' dads being among the first to get laid off and the last people to find new jobs (usually with a considerable pay cut) for no substantive reason beyond their lack of a college degree. One of them was, like you, someone with zero college who was making six figures, living in a big house and driving a Mercedes; he got laid off in 2001 and to this day hasn't been able to do anything but freelance and contract work for a fraction of his former salary. He's in his 50s and figures going back to school now would be a waste of money and he can barely pay for his kids' college at this point anyway.
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 06:11:35 UTC
Honestly, it never matters how much you make. It's all about how much you spend and what you spend it on.
I've been getting rid of a ton of crap in my life. /r/minimalism style.
For a good reference, I a few single friends that make $250K+ per year. They live in shitty apartments, drive around Range Rovers that they are upside down on and spend most of their money on $250 bottles of wine or chasing girls. "Hey, look at my Range Rover!".
I wish I would have been taught about financing my freshman year of highschool. I know tons of people that make $60K that, because they pack all of their meals and bring them to work or they drive a $6K Subaru around, get to experience much more of the world than I do. They go up skiing on the weekends, they plan vacations, they live modest but less stressful lifestyles.
Mooloopoo3 karma2013-12-24 04:43:38 UTC
How did you learn programming? If you learned it by yourself, what resources/general advice would you suggest to people who are trying to learn programming on their own.
I'm currently in college and extremely jealous of your situation. ;-;
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 05:00:20 UTC
I used to admire the programmers at my first job. They built a customer order system from scratch using PHP and MySQL. I started learning the basics there and did my first "Hello, World" program. A ton of reading later (I have about 50 O'Reilly books on various programming languages) some online PDFs and powerpoints that I found through various searches and all of the wonderful people in irc.freenode.net.
The biggest boost to my programming skills however was coming up with my own "pet projects" and forcing myself to complete them front to back. I built a volunteer tracking system for a local humance society, etc.
sweetMorsels3 karma2013-12-24 04:52:55 UTC
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 05:08:29 UTC
This requires HS friends. Most of my friends now are 33+ and are well into their careers (and drink too much).
I don't get along well with people my age. I'm not sure why but I'd probably have to start paying you if we talked about it.
youareahomo2 karma2013-12-24 01:57:15 UTC
I have a question. How many hours do you average a week at work?
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 02:36:13 UTC
30 - 70 hours a week. I get to work from home a lot when things are slow.
I also cover an on-call rotation that can be brutal when things get really busy.
sabana_2 karma2013-12-24 02:51:50 UTC
First of all, well done! It's really cool to see someone succeed without college. I'm a freshman in CS. I'm just curious as to how you've job hopped so much... what do you say if your next employer asks why you're interested in moving job? It seems like your motivation is money and working your way up financially and aggressively moving up the job-title ladder- are they all OK with that? I'd have presumed such job hopping would call into question your company loyalty etc? Thanks. :)
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 04:45:33 UTC
Everyone asks about my job history. I generally say "I'm looking for a place to settle down but that all of my past companies would welcome me back with open arms". A majority of interviews at my level are very technical (so I'm a bit lucky there is a lot of other stuff to focus on).
I also don't get very nervous in interview anymore. Confidence, enthusiasm, energy. I'm sure they all play at least a minor part.
DontRapeMeJoe2 karma2013-12-24 05:28:59 UTC
Can you do asymptotic analysis?
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 05:39:13 UTC
I did not even know that was a thing. Great read of Wikipedia.
I should learn this stuff. Can you do it? What do you use it for?
Can you extrapolate this type of information into excel for presentations to higher ups?
Dakftw2 karma2013-12-24 06:06:17 UTC
HOW? Haha. That's awesome congrats man! Any advise for someone trying to make something of themselves?
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 06:21:43 UTC
Be the most passionate person in the world about one thing. Anything. Master it.
Mega-points if it involves surfing.
getontheground2 karma2013-12-24 06:58:52 UTC
Could you please explain how you got there and proved yourself along the way to where you are now? Did you learn your computer knowledge since you were young?
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 07:04:09 UTC
I spent a lot of time in front a computer when I was young. I got an early start and was comfortable with computers. I understood graphical interfaces, options, properties and all of the basics when I was in elementary school. These basic skills were eventually just another stepping-stone to build on.
Lazorcat62 karma2013-12-24 03:38:42 UTC
What would you say to someone wanting to drop out of high school?
DropoutSuccess12 karma2013-12-24 04:35:50 UTC
What is your plan to make money?
minos162 karma2013-12-24 22:02:32 UTC
Speaking of AWS and Open stack; I need some advice!
I moved into I.T. as a jr. Sysadmin/web developer about a year ago. First job required me to learn tons of different stuff. The company used AWS so I'm pretty good with using it on a lower level for enterprises(web hosting, RDS, etc) but nothing large scale but I'm pretty familiar with 70-80% of it's features.
My new position is light on the I.T. side(weird mix of deployment, field networking installation, and I.T.) on a 1 year contract.
Should I study Amazon in-depth and master it even though I don't have tons of I.T. exp? Most of the jobs looking for AWS guys expect at least a few years under your belt. Would side projects be enough to snag a decent job since my new role has 0 web hosting and so far has little scripting?
If I go down that route, I assume I should up my Unix admin skills and scripting. My current role using them very lightly so I figure I'd have to up them on the side at home.....will employers through it out if it's exp not done in a enterprise environment.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 22:40:04 UTC
It sounds like you're looking for a good career direction. It really depends on what you want to do and what the market is doing.
The best advice I can give is to look at CareerBuilder, TheLadders, Cragslist, etc. and start plugging in the title of your "dream job". Look at what they are requiring and focus on those skills.
gaming992 karma2013-12-24 15:59:46 UTC
how the hell can you get into senior network engineer position right away from beginning? Did you pass CCIE cert or what? please answer this. Thanks.
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 18:31:21 UTC
No CCIE. I worked my way up to Senior Network Engineer from Helpdesk over the last 8 years. I started working at 16.
jerseyLifted2 karma2013-12-24 05:24:11 UTC
Thanks for the AMA!
I'm currently an engineering student looking to get into the telecom/networking industry. I have an internship this summer already at a telecom company, but honestly what you said about OpenStacks and SDN sound really interesting.
I feel like that could be something I try to learn and work with on my own, while getting my degree, and be successful in industry once I graduate.
How relevant do you think OpenStack or SDN would be in the telecom industry specifically and do you see the emergence of these technologies as companies integrate into the cloud?
How long did it take you to get all your certifications? Taking the CCNA and CCNP continuously must've been a hard task.
Thank you again for the AMA, it definitely made my winter break alot more interesting. Hopefully we could stay in touch if I ever have any more questions.
DropoutSuccess6 karma2013-12-24 05:32:51 UTC
OpenStack and SDN will be very big in the next couple of years. Most of it will probably start as "private clouds" or "How do we move data in and out of our DataCenter to Amazon?". Your experience with Amazon's VPC offerings and SDN in general will set you above and beyond your peers.
If you can learn Python and get some "network automation" under your belt you will be golden.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 05:34:22 UTC
The CCNA is quite difficult. So much knowledge cramed in so little space. Too many foreign concepts. I found it harder than the more concentrated CCNP tests.
It tooks me about 6 months of studying and about 3 failed CCNA tests to pass. I passed the CCNP tests after about 6 months to 1 year of hands-on experience much easier.
MOFNY2 karma2013-12-24 07:20:24 UTC
I'm looking forward to learning Python. Currently I'm obsessed with JS and jQuery. I love to program, and my skills continue to increase. My information security professor has many certs and he said his most important was the CCNP. Would you recommend any web developer certifications? I have read dozens of reviews about the MCSD. They are mostly mixed but not overly positive. I just graduated from community college with an IT degree. I feel under-prepared to join the work force. All I know is that I love to learn new languages. What entry level job should I go after? I'm not that concerned with money because I budget well. I have gone through the thread and I saw the posting for the help desk job. How does one get a job that requires experience but one doesn't have experience? I am not opposed to studying either. Any good resources for learning Python? Sorry for the all the questions, but thinking about the future keeps me up at night.
I would say I'm not the most ambitious person. Five years ago I lost over 70 pounds and turned my life around. Since then I've been hitting the various adult milestones. Now I'm 28 and I feel next year could be the year I get my foot in the door for a future career. I did a summer internship with the county IT department. We did a lot of SQL and VB.net, and even some HTML/CSS. It was an incredible mentor-ship. Everytime I could display my skills and add to a project I would get a surge of life-affirming happiness. I know if I found the most bare-bones, entry level position somewhere I would excel. "Just give me a chance" is my thought process.
DropoutSuccess3 karma2013-12-24 07:30:36 UTC
irc.freenode.net #python is probably the best place to ask questions. You will also be able to absorb what a lot of other programmers run into daily.
Don't worry about the webDev certs just yet. If you're looking for a career as a programmer you should get into a startup or a small company that develops people internally. There are lots of jobs out there and lots of places popping up like this: http://galvanize.it/#curriculum
BenAtkinsChafer2 karma2013-12-24 01:27:11 UTC
How did you move up to such a well paid position in such a short amount of time?
DropoutSuccess4 karma2013-12-24 01:37:46 UTC
Job hopping mostly. $10K increments in the last 5 years for each job I moved to. Every job looks back on your last "pay rate" and assume you need to make that + a little extra.
ThinkMaliciously1 karma2013-12-24 04:30:04 UTC
Same story here. Dropped out in my sophomore year and now make 127k without even my GED. IT is a crazy beast.
DropoutSuccess2 karma2013-12-24 05:00:58 UTC
A crazy awesome wonderful beast.
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