In baseball, a "utility player" is one who plays more than one
position. These players are usually backups, but they have a job
in the major leagues because of their value to the team; since
they can play more than one position, they have that much more
value to their employer.
Too often in IT, workers become either LAN or WAN engineers,
knowing little if anything about the other side. Many LAN
administrators I worked with knew little about routing and
switching, while many WAN engineers I knew not only didn't know
much about the LAN side of their network, but they didn't want
to know anything about the servers!
In today's IT world, it's a bad idea to specialize in only one
thing and not know how to do anything else. Not only does it
limit your future career prospects, but it limits your current
prospects as well. Employers don't want to hire someone and have
them get up to speed on the job - they want someone who can walk
right in and do the job. The more you know, the better your
chance of getting a better job - or quickly being able to get
another job if you were laid off tomorrow.
A term often heard on Wall Street is "diversification", meaning
that investors should not invest heavily or totally in only one
stock; if that stock plummets, they're in big trouble. Your
career is the most important stock you will ever own, and you're
100% in charge of it. Diversify. If you're working primarily
with servers, learn some routing and switching. If you know the
routing protocols your company uses on its WAN, learn something
about that protocol. (If you don't know the protocol, ask!)
While you're adding these skills, get certified while you're at
it! Adding a CCNA, MCSE, or other computer certification looks
great on your resume while signaling to employers that you're
constantly adding to your skills.
Adding more skills and knowledge to your IT skill set is always
a good idea. Don't limit yourself to the technologies you work
with every day. Make an investment in yourself and become a
well-rounded network engineer. This will help you keep the job
you have - and open doors in the future that might otherwise
have remained closed.
About the author:
Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, is the owner of The Bryant Advantage
, home of free CCNA and CCNP
tutorials! Pass the CCNA exam with Chris Bryant!