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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default Does staying too long in a low entry position hurt chances for future positions?

    I have heard staying too long in a low entry position like helpdesk / desktop support can hurt chances for higher up positions in the future. How true is this?

    I have been at the same company for almost 4 years now as a desktop support technician and started studying certs late. By the time I have my Net+, Sec+ ITIL and CCNA R&S I believe I will have 5 years or a little longer at this company in the same role while then seeking a jr net admin or NOC center job and I am a little worried that this might hurt my chances.
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  3. Senior Member McxRisley's Avatar
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    #2
    Who in the world told you that staying too long in a position would hurt you? That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard today. More time in ANY position equals more IT experience which will give you a better chance at landing a better job. Experience combined with certs will take you anywhere you want to go in this industry.
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  4. Junior Member Registered Member
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    I have heard that as well. They try to say that because you've been at an entry level job for so long that it raises a red flag that either you don't know what you are doing or don't have the motivation to do bigger things. I think it's all a bunch of B.S. honestly. Not sure who told those people that. I personally am working an entry level help desk job, my first IT job I've ever held. Been here for 18 months now and will probably be here another two years while I work on obtaining a degree. The schedule I have makes it easier for me to do school stuff. I think everyone has their own reasons for wanting to stay at a position for whatever amount of time they feel like. Will just mean you have more experience is how I see it. Might be the same kind of stuff every day but the longer you do it the more of an expert you become at it.
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  5. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #4
    I think you'll be fine. It's probably not a good idea to sit on entry level helpdesk for 10 years if you have high career aspirations. People can see it as either an inability or lack of motivation to move up.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    I'm in the same boat but I've only been working in IT support for nearly 3 years.

    IT as a career is tricky because employers look for those with years of working experience.

    The most important thing is to find your passion in IT and start studying that subject, lab it and network with people who share the same interests as you.

    There's lots of meet up groups on meetup.com and I highly recommend to join some local groups (I'm currently in the process of doing this).

    It's said that there's a lot of hidden jobs out there that are gained by networking.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Okay great to hear, and I definitely don't plan on staying here for 10 years! Thanks for the input guys.
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  8. Member cbdudek's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by McxRisley View Post
    Who in the world told you that staying too long in a position would hurt you? That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard today. More time in ANY position equals more IT experience which will give you a better chance at landing a better job. Experience combined with certs and a degree will take you anywhere you want to go in this industry.
    Fixed it for you. The big 3 have always been in order of importance....

    1. Experience
    2. Education
    3. Certifications

    If you have all 3, then you can go anywhere you want. If you are lacking in one area, then it is best to shore up on that area until it isn't a weakness. The best candidates will always have all three covered.\

    As for staying in the same position for a long time, there is no problem with that. The more experience you have, the more marketable you are.
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    #8
    So, it depends on how long that "long time" is and whether or not you were working to grow your experience during that time. If someone has 25 yrs as a help desk person with no degree and no certs, it's a red flag. 5 years + clear ambition shown by obtaining certs - I would call you in for an interview for an entry level position.

    There is some gray area in between, but for me, only the most egregious cases of "been in one position too long" are concerning, and even those have to be combined with an appearance of total lack of self-improvement.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    It's a valid concern, but it's not like you'd stop trying to apply to higher positions even if that were the case right? It might make for a steeper climb, but climb it you will.

    At the very least for me I'd probably want to adopt a general career strategy that I want to do my job just long enough to have a good competency at it before moving on.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    Once you stop learning, it's time to move on. I've heard people claim to have X years of experience in a skill or industry when it's obvious they only have 1-2 years of experience, simply repeated many times.
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    #11
    Depends. After a while you get typecasted.
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  13. Senior Member Spiegel's Avatar
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    #12
    As most have stated, it depends. I personally wouldn't want to stay in a low level IT job for too long but it doesn't hurt you either. Especially if you're studying for classes or certs then it's understandable. Entry level IT jobs tend to have more flexible schedules if you're in the middle of studies which you can use during interviews that your time was not wasted.

    But I agree with EANx, once you stop learning I'd advise moving on to something different. I'm from the mindset that you must show that your growth with every passing year in some way, either by career advancements, projects, or with a new cert/degree.
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  14. Senior Member LordQarlyn's Avatar
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    #13
    It really depends on the organization and/or hiring manager, and to some extent, the national culture. Cultures that place a greater premium on individual achievements, may see staying in one position as lacking in ability and/or ambition. Contentment doesn't come in to play, as contentment is seen as lacking in ambition. I've seen quite a few job ads where they stated they wanted to see progressively increasing responsibilities.

    Do what you are passionate about, what you feel comfortable doing. You have a solid basic background, if you are ready to move on, then do so.
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  15. Senior Member
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    #14
    10 years of IT experience vs the same year 10x over are very different things. We've all seen people come here who have worked L1 helpdesk jobs in the same company for 10 years complaining they can't take a huge career step upwards claiming "But I have the 10 years experience they require." A little long on certain roles is fine, and easily explainable if people ask about it, too many years in a very low level position does start to stick out as a red flag that you never wanted to learn anything harder.
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  16. California Kid JoJoCal19's Avatar
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    #15
    The part that really hurts is if you stayed in an entry level or low level role, and did nothing to further your knowledge and skillset and stagnated. I've heard that potential hiring managers can look at that unfavorably, essentially thinking "why didn't you learn anything new all that time". It shows no ambition. At least if you can show you pursued certs, knowledge, etc, that helps.
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  17. Senior Member LordQarlyn's Avatar
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    #16
    And that stands true for any role or level.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoJoCal19 View Post
    The part that really hurts is if you stayed in an entry level or low level role, and did nothing to further your knowledge and skillset and stagnated. I've heard that potential hiring managers can look at that unfavorably, essentially thinking "why didn't you learn anything new all that time". It shows no ambition. At least if you can show you pursued certs, knowledge, etc, that helps.
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  18. I wouldn't listen to me AwesomeGarrett's Avatar
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    #17
    You know what is worst than being labeled as having "no ambition" or "not wanting to learn"? Getting comfortable in the low level roles.

    It's very easy to come in to work, perform your simple tasks, goof off during downtime, go to lunch with your familiar coworkers, and laugh at silly jokes. Before you know it, 3-4 years have passed and your still earning the same low salary and wondering why the new guy which started last year is now a junior IT engineer.

    When I got my first CCIE paycheck, I looked up all those people who I worked with when I was level 1 support. They were still there, doing their simple repetitive tasks, wasting time on Reddit during the workday, and making the same silly jokes.

    For the sake of your future, don't do this. There is too much opportunity out here to really make an impact and be very well rewarded while doing it.
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by AwesomeGarrett View Post
    When I got my first CCIE paycheck, I looked up all those people who I worked with when I was level 1 support. They were still there, doing their simple repetitive tasks, wasting time on Reddit during the workday, and making the same silly jokes.
    wow that is eerie, reminds me of people slacking off in high school

    I've been working helpdesk for about 14 months

    Think it's time to update my resume and pack my bags
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  20. Member nathandrake's Avatar
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by AwesomeGarrett View Post
    You know what is worst than being labeled as having "no ambition" or "not wanting to learn"? Getting comfortable in the low level roles.

    It's very easy to come in to work, perform your simple tasks, goof off during downtime, go to lunch with your familiar coworkers, and laugh at silly jokes. Before you know it, 3-4 years have passed and your still earning the same low salary and wondering why the new guy which started last year is now a junior IT engineer.

    When I got my first CCIE paycheck, I looked up all those people who I worked with when I was level 1 support. They were still there, doing their simple repetitive tasks, wasting time on Reddit during the workday, and making the same silly jokes.

    For the sake of your future, don't do this. There is too much opportunity out here to really make an impact and be very well rewarded while doing it.


    I completely agree with this. I've been working in IT for about 15 years. The first 9-10 years I spent doing desktop support. While I was getting bored with not being challenged, I liked not having much responsibility and having a lot of downtime to goof off. I'm taking my career more serious now and not doing too bad, but it makes me wonder where I'd be if I only stayed in desktop support for 1-2 years before trying to move up.
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by AwesomeGarrett View Post
    You know what is worst than being labeled as having "no ambition" or "not wanting to learn"? Getting comfortable in the low level roles.

    It's very easy to come in to work, perform your simple tasks, goof off during downtime, go to lunch with your familiar coworkers, and laugh at silly jokes. Before you know it, 3-4 years have passed and your still earning the same low salary and wondering why the new guy which started last year is now a junior IT engineer.

    When I got my first CCIE paycheck, I looked up all those people who I worked with when I was level 1 support. They were still there, doing their simple repetitive tasks, wasting time on Reddit during the workday, and making the same silly jokes.

    For the sake of your future, don't do this. There is too much opportunity out here to really make an impact and be very well rewarded while doing it.
    This sounds like binary thinking. How about middle of the road? Not settling for entry level but not going for the gold medal either, such as you with the CCIE?

    I personally like the lunch with co workers and surfing the web from time to time.
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