Programmer or Network Admin

Opinions as to which is more "difficult"?

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14 Replies - 3958 Views - Last Post: 05 December 2010 - 10:35 PM

#1 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:31 AM

I know this is an odd question, but I only consider myself a beginner in programming and network administration. I've searched for others opinions on this topic and have not found anything useful, so I am hoping to get some insight from the community.

I started off with a background in networking, and was working towards my CCNA when I became interested in programming. I enjoy both programming and networking quite a bit, but programming seemed more challenging to me and as such more interesting. In your personnal experience does programming require more talent, or knowledge than network administration?

I suppose this question spawns from my own problem of knowing that I have to choose one career path over the other, which has been difficult. I'll arrive at a decision at some point obviously, but i've always found the advice offered by the professionals here to be very helpful.

-alias

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Replies To: Programmer or Network Admin

#2 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:42 AM

Difficult is relative to what you find difficult.

A programmers job is much more relaxed. You have time to flesh out your thoughts and basically chill.

A networking IT guy is relaxed as well, until shit hits the fan! At that point all hell breaks loose. The phone rings off the hook because the email isn't working, the internet is down and oh guess what, our dev database is offline again.

If you decide to go the IT route be prepared to develop a thick skin and be IRON under pressure.

I'm currently reading a bit about Microsoft Forefront and it's quite interesting. I can't say I'd enjoy being IT for the rest of my life though.
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#3 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:47 AM

Yes I can agree with that, I suppose my question is irrelevant. I think what attracts me to networking is design. I find network design fascinating, but those acts of creativity are what also attract me to programming.
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#4 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:54 AM

You could be an architect type IT specialist. Why not?
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#5 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:43 AM

That's true, i'll have to do more research. I would hate to give up programming, I enjoy it and have invested a lot of time thus far. I suppose when i'm older, and have more programming experience under my belt, I could always get more involved with networking. Anybody here have similar experiences, or been involved with both career paths?
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#6 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 07:16 AM

View Postalias120, on 02 December 2010 - 07:43 AM, said:

I would hate to give up programming, I enjoy it and have invested a lot of time thus far.


What makes you suspect you couldn't do both? I've worked in small dev shops for pretty much my entire IT career and the network admin has always also done dev work on the side. Like Sergio alluded to earlier: when the network is humming along, doing its thing...it really doesn't require much administration. You'd have time to do programming/development.

Also, in my small shop experience, network admins have two strong points in their favor: 1./ they tend to earn a little more $ 2./ while a company might decide they can do without that extra developer when times get tough, I have yet to have seen a company decide they can do without their network admin.
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#7 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:35 PM

I've considered this a lot as well, though I think I'll probably end up going Net Admin. Programming is useful to a Net Admin, such as making custom software and other things to get jobs done faster. It certainly makes BSD easier.
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#8 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 02 December 2010 - 07:39 PM

It can be a tough decision, but I believe I will enjoy programming the most as my primary study. The creative aspect is what attracts me to both careers, and I think programming will offer much more of that. I would like to obtain my CCNA sometime in the near future though.
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#9 AlbuquerqueApache  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:28 AM

I'm in the same boat. I have a degree in Network Engineering which I thought was awesome initially. Then I went to finish my bachelor's degree and discovered rather quickly that programming was the stuff I was really missing.

Most IT people won't touch programming with a ten foot pole because they are 1. scared. 2. IT management hires business people and calls them "IT" 3. Programmers (IMHO) are the true intellectual rocket scientists in the IT world.

let's see subnet a network or write a piece of software that solves a problem.

What is more challenging and rewarding....errrmmmmm

tough one

(there needs to be a mental masturbation emoticon)
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#10 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 04 December 2010 - 03:06 PM

Of course if your application requires network access to connect to a service, resource or whatever then it wont really work if someone isnt there to make sure the network is operating correctly.
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#11 Sparukus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 04 December 2010 - 03:21 PM

Currently trainning towards CCSP, programming is easy once you know how (and those scrooges above post the damm answer lol :P jk guys)

Have to say Network admin/consultancy seems better pay for the lower end spectrum (general jobs) and for contract work.

But a experienced programmer career wise vs network I would think programming wins.

Ive been playing around in visual studio now for a year, frustrating very much so! But with networking/security the love stays, your just so much more in control.
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#12 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

Yeah I started off with an interest in networking, and after I obtained by A+ and Net+ certifications I was exposed to programming. I will continue with programming, but I'll keep networking as a side interest. It's funny, part of my transition from an interest in networking to programming was writing a simple C++ program to convert an IP address to its binary octet form. I enjoyed it a lot, learning how to express the logic of decimal to binary conversion from pad and paper to the console. I find a lot of satisfaction in my completed programs, and that is a big part of why I am sticking with programming.
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#13 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 05 December 2010 - 12:11 PM

I started out in hardware and networking, got bored with it and started programming. I programmed for about 5 years altogether, 2 of which was professional. A few months back I made a 180 turn back to hardware and networking with more a security emphasis. I still find myself coding everything now and then for work, freelance gigs and whatnot but I'm really enjoying doing networking and security right now. Plus, where I live networking and security are a big thing so thats a plus.
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#14 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 05 December 2010 - 07:36 PM

Security is a great area of study. From what I've heard, security certifications and/or knowledge are becoming a must for many IT jobs. This makes sense, given the number of threats present at any given time.
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#15 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programmer or Network Admin

Posted 05 December 2010 - 10:35 PM

I cant remember if it was somewhere on DIC or another security forum but theres a DoD initiative that requires you have some sort of Security certification or experience before they'll even consider you. Security will definitely be a hot career for a good while as more people develop on online presence and more companies, financial institutions, and other industries look for ways to keep their customers connected.
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