While it’s true, compared to enterprise IT departments, MSP business owners more often than not are unable to pay their IT professionals six figures, there are still opportunities for junior IT professionals to move up in pay if they avoid key career mistakes early on.
Don’t take the shortcut
When you’re a junior IT professional, it’s tempting to follow the money. Oftentimes, you’re young and at a stage in your life where you’re more than likely willing to jump at enticing opportunities, especially ones offering you bumps in pay. While there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to earn more, there’s something else you should consider first.
Gain relevant work experience while you still can. As you move up the ladder, it’s going to become more difficult for you to go backwards to the learn skills you missed when you were at a junior level in your career. Choose the more demanding MSP position over the cushy job at an enterprise early on in your career to become a better, more well-rounded candidate in the future. Pick jobs setting you up for a big payday later on.
Always be learning
Don’t ever forget this: There’s always something you can learn. Be willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone to acquire new IT skills. Prospective employers are always on the lookout for candidates seeking out continued professional development opportunities. Especially in the ever-changing IT space, this type of attitude speaks volumes to employers during the interview process. Don’t hide your eagerness to learn.
If you’re currently not enrolled in any continuing education courses, find out when they’re available and begin taking some in your spare time. Obtain as many IT certifications as you can (CompTIA has plenty). This allows you to show prospective employers you’re already honing your skill set and contributing to your professional growth and development. During your interviews with MSPs, you don’t want to come off as somebody who’s all talk and no action — so act today by getting this process going.
Choose jobs wisely
Not all jobs are created equal in the IT industry. If you want to move up the ranks in the MSP space, dedicate time to growing and evolving your skills at MSPs. As you probably know, working at an MSP is vastly different than working in an internal IT department within an enterprise. For example, engineers without any experience working with MSPs more often than not cannot juggle numerous IT environments for a wide range of clients. These candidates are used to working within the boundaries of a single IT environment, where there’s a division of labor, so they’re unlikely able to adapt to the demanding needs of the MSP model, or at least, it will be perceived that way by owners.
With the work environment being so drastically different in the MSP model, many MSPs owners shy away from hiring candidates with backgrounds at internal IT departments, so do your absolute best to steer clear of working at enterprises for too long. Some experience with internal IT departments won’t hurt you too much, but if your resume is overwhelmed with enterprise experience, interviewers are less likely to give you a shot.
Not every IT professional has the opportunity to make six figures, but if junior MSP professionals begin their careers on the right foot, opportunities to earn higher salaries down the road will arise. To put yourself on the right path for your career, don’t pick money over relevant work experience early on in your career, always be open to learning something new and dedicate time to evolving your skills within the MSP model.