Glad to be here. I’m something of an IT generalist, dealing with everything from desktop support to networking to servers.
I currently work for an MSP in the NYS area.
Happy to help out where I can! I’m no expert, but I’ve been working with ZFS for going on two years now, mostly with Ubuntu.
P.S: Thanks Allan and Jim for the 2.5 Admins podcast, it’s great to listen to when I’m driving to client sites.
I like your profile - and I wish there were a better, more ‘professional’, way of describing us expert IT generalists!
Like you, I’m no ‘expert’ in the accepted sense of having a very deep (but narrow) knowledge of, or qualifications in, a particular area, but I (and I assume you) have a very broad base of knowledge of a lot of related areas in the computer/IT/tech world. I am also a trained accountant and trained electrician and I have a degree in Psychology, a fairly unusual combination - and I suspect you are also atypical. Embrace it.
I have found that my ‘expert generalist’ skills are often more useful to clients than a narrowly-focused (read ‘lacking in perspective/contextual awareness’) view of a problem - so we tend to be good problem-solvers, unless the problem is actually an esoterically techie one.
For what it’s worth - my experience is that unfortunately generalism doesn’t pay very well. My best-paid gig was working as a database test analyst back in the 90s and early 2000s. Key skills: understanding and breaking complex hi-end Oracle databases by carefully reading the specs and creating tests with ‘breaking’ inputs - from my Windows/Access background I quickly had to learn Unix CLI, sed and awk, and improve my SQL!.
Side note - I also discovered TextPad (a wonderful Windows text editor that even then could handle million-line text files, although even hi-spec PCs of the time struggled), which I still use, almost daily.
Lots of mediocre jobs later (including school network/home/SOHO/small business setup/support) I am now a Salesforce admin, training to be a fully-certified dev - sort-of back to my accountancy/database roots, and even better it pays quite well.
You can make pretty good money as an IT generalist, but IME you need to either run your own business, or make some heavy-duty connections. There definitely aren’t many cattle-call jobs looking for IT generalists and offering big bucks to whoever happens to apply!
Yeah, been my experience so far too. I have no interest in running my own business, so working for MSPs has been the best thing I’ve been able to find.
Beats the hell out of working in a helpdesk but man I find myself being pulled in all directions.
Sometimes I feel like I should be getting a separate paycheck for every hat I’ve been forced to wear!