I would say, yes, if its a calculated risk then it shouldn't be a problem, i suppose it depends on how well you calculate that risk, i am in a very similar situation, and am about to do the same thing, sort of, in reverse really.....i'm part of a very large network, 40 000+ users, but am only really responsible for a very small portion, i'm hoping to have a network were i have more overall control, not for money, for enjoyment.....
It's a gamble either way. You just have to way the pros and cons. The bigger the environment the smaller amount of control/function you will do. With big corporations there's people who do switches, people who do routers, people who do firewalls and on and on. I've seen a big environment where a person did only print server. I personally like that model because it keeps stress down. But that might not be for you. YOu also need to weigh in the losses that come with changing environments like benefits and comfortability. You'll need to pay close attention to what you are getting in your offer letter to make sure things are ok for your comfort level. Some people don't change jobs because they get used to the environment and it's just easier to stay put due to ease of work or things like that. Benefits play a huge part. Ultimately it's up to you.
I work in a large environment - 100,000 staff. It is split geographically, so I have a small rural segment with some 5-6K staff.
In the city it's true about the vlan guy, printer guy, port guy... SYSLOG guy (ewww! lol). Yeah, not just the switch guy but a specific switching function like assigning a port to a VLAN. Guess where that guy will be if/when we implement VMPS?
Until you get to the higher/senior position where those guys report to you. But they you're a manager and don't actually log into the network fabric or make changes. I'm lucky to be part of a smaller environment where we have autonomy over our own systems.
And definitely true about change control. I have to give two weeks notice for taking a ****, then write a report on if it was successful, lessons learned and go forward steps (shake it - another two week notice and post-implementation report).
Most of us just do the minor changes and if anybody asks it was always like that
So if you want to move into a large environment, pick a specific expertise. Forget about everything except access switches, or branch routers, or Samba on this subnet...
I used to be a generalist too, now I'm pure network
I went from a large environment to a smaller environment(but still medium to large by some definitions) in order to play with new gear. Of course, I am contracting right now, but I'm getting to work on VRFs, Nexus(7k, 5k, 2k, 1kV), 802.1x/NAC, 10Gb routed to the access layer, etc - aka lots of cool stuff. Bigger isn't always better!
You have to balance your job satisfaction with job security - do you feel like you could stay there another 5 years and still be happy? If not, start looking for something else. Figure out if you want to contract - which allows you to work on a lot of different stuff over shorter periods of time, in exchange for often higher pay but less perceived "job security"(I say perceived for a reason), or do you want job security in exchange for lower pay and perhaps less fun?
Have to identify your priorities, figure out where you want to be in 5 to 10 years, and try to plan out a path to get there. You need to know where you want to be, before you can figure out a good plan to get there.
If you are happy with your workplace, distance to work, colleagues and not starving then stay where you are.
The first question is always why is there a new job. Why did the last person leave?
The job advert will always sound positive. We all work for dynamic business focused IT departments committed to quality and excellence of staff or was that what the job advert said. You have seen the comments about change control. We have change control because one day somebody decided to perform a half thought through change and it took us all day to sort out the mess.
It is your choice but do not blame anybody but yourself when in hindsight you got it wrong. Good Luck.
I think someone said it best before that it's a gamble either way. I've had the benifit of working on very small networks (less than 100 nodes) and very large networks (500,000+ nodes, my team was responsible for about 10-12k local nodes). The biggest risk factors IMO would be family situation, location, and willingness to adapt. Where I currently am in South GA, there are very few jobs, even for a CCNP, unless I want to work for Uncle Sam again (I'm personally trying to get OUT of gov't work). However, when I move up to Atlanta, there are dozens of positions available for my quals BEFORE even considering my government clearances.
So I'm not sure if you have a spouse and kids to consider, of if you get the benefit of a bachelor (bachelorette?) lifestyle which could sustain much more instability if necessary. Frankly I think you paper quals sound good so far and if you live in an area with a halfway vibrant economy, then I think it's worth taking the plunge. Personally, I would do so after you finish your CCNP since there's less competition than for CCNA jobs, but I definitely think it's doable.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, I shared responsibility for about 12k seats on one base area network (BAN), plus the primary server farms for the networks (thousands of servers). Particularly with large and government owned networks, change control and network management was a very necessary (and aggravating) burden. To contrast, the job I had before that was for a managed services company, where we had a few dozen customer networks to manage. Access was almost alarmingly easy (banks, hosptials, commerce, etc) and change control in some cases was almost non-existent. While I prefered liberty from all the red tape, it was a huge responsibility and we were constantly creating and revising our OWN network policies, which could be equally stressful. I'd definitely say you're really just picking your poison, so why not choose the one from which you personally gain the most? After all, that's what almost everyone else does. Hope that's helpful!
layer4down....You mention there are alot of government jobs out there. I work for the government and am looking around for another job. I currently have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, I have a CCNA, I have sec + and just need tshoot for my CCNP. I am not sure if I am being picky on my job search or just cant find the higher paying job. Can you guide me in the right direction?
Sorry for the delay there Paul.
Not sure I'm qualified to "guide" anyone per se, lol, but here are my thoughts: I definitely think feel that the job search game is a matter of location, qualifications, and timing. If you happen to live, for instance, in the DC/MD/VA metro area on the east coast, you really couldn't through a rock without hitting an IT job (a great deal of which are government). Your qualifications can get you started just about anywhere right now, so that is not an issue. And again depending on where you plan to work, job offers may be in constant abundance. I know that when I released my resume updated with my CCNP in the Atlanta, GA area, I got more calls and e-mails for job offers in one week than I get in like 2 years.
I don't think that you should feel like you are being picky, but you might also consider a job with potential for upward mobility. For instance, a few years ago I took a junior-level CCNA position (moved from being an A+ tech), which salary-wise was a lateral move for me at the time. However, I took that position with the intention of moving into a higher paying engineering position when it became available (which I was told was a strong possibility then). However, before I could do so, the job for which I had been gunning for 2 years before finally opened up and I'd gotten a call for an interview. So I promptly took that position instead of waiting out the first. My point is that opportunities can (and will) eventually open as long as you allow yourself to be in the process. If you don't have a spouse/kids or other obligations, then your risk tolerance may be higher and you can be a bit more ballzy. I bounced my way up the chain and on avg about a 25% or greater salary increase within about every 2 years (certs and new jobs). If you'd like you can PM me or we can keep it here for others to study as well.