I am looking for a bit of advice regarding a career change.
I have had a look through some of the other threads with similar questions although most are a few years old now so maybe the advice has changed, hence this new question.
I am UK based, 30 years old and started out as a desktop support tech 10 years ago (Wintel) and the moved to development, mainly in PHP/jQuery/XHTML/Lotus Domino/SQL. I have also gotten my hands dirty with server installs (Windows Server 2003) with Active Directory experience as well as lots of hardware installs. I've set up a couple of IIS sites as well, although this was using step by step instructions, so I don't have a huge understanding of that.
I am tired of development, mainly due to feeling that every project goes the same way - badly speced (not by me), great coding done by me and my team, passed to users, users hate/don't use. Once you've coded one project, you've coded them all as far as I'm concerned. I am more drawn towards the system infrastructure and am keen to ensure that things are running optimally, kept up to date etc, but find that my role does not allow me to do this, which is frustrating.
I am about to take a career break to look after my child for 4 or so years so see this as a great opportunity to sit down and learn a new trade (while child is asleep :)), to enable me to get into a role I would like once I go back to work.
So my questions are:
- Are sys admins still as essential as they once were, what with many services going into the cloud? I used to view them as essential for any firm which has PCs and servers, but maybe that's not so true any more.
- I would assume that the most useful skills to have for any mainstream sys admin job would be Windows Server, Exchange and Virtualisation. Would you agree?
- I have access to all MS products, which I can download for testing (Technet subscription) so can use those for learning on, or get the VMs. Do you think that, coupled with books and exams, that would be enough to get a good skillset?
- Do sys admins still do a lot of out of hours work? Obviously with a child I would prefer not to be working lots of evenings and weekends. The odd one is fine though.
I am not overly concerned about salary - I get paid a fair amount already but without job satisfaction the money isn't worth it. I would prefer to be reasonably paid but enjoy what I do and find it satisfying.
I know the above is fairly vague, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.