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Networking The Almighty Buck IT

Ask Slashdot: Switching Careers From Software Engineering To Networking? 227

An anonymous reader writes: I am a software engineer with over 10 years of experience making approx 210k a year after bonus. I've seen countless of software engineering jobs off-shored or taken by H1Bs over the past 5 years. While I am pretty safe at my current job, software engineering as a profession is beginning to look bleak, and i am not even sure if I can ask for the same money if I decide to jump ship to another company (I live in an expensive area).

A friend of mine who works as a network architect with dual CCIEs have no problem finding/landing jobs with high salary. His profession doesn't seem to be affected by outsourcing or H1bs, so I am tempted to switch from my field to networking for better stability and greener pastures.

So the question is, should I do it? The reason why I am looking for the long-term stability is because I've a family of 3 to feed. I cannot afford to be jobless for more than 3 months if I do get laid-off, and software engineering doesn't seem to be the profession after years of observation to provide long-term stability.
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Ask Slashdot: Switching Careers From Software Engineering To Networking?

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  • by jandjmh ( 66714 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:48PM (#49805321) Homepage

    You need investing advice more than career advice. After 10 years of work you should have much more than a three month cushion -
    It sound like you have fallen into the trap of allowing your expenses to grow to consume all current income. That is going to be hard to reverse, and THAT is what you need some professional help with,

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:21PM (#49805483)

      maybe his wife is into shoes

    • You beat me to it, parent. I don't know how anyone only has three months of savings after a run like that.
    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      Yeah, I'm sorry, no pity here - you're making over 210K / year, and you don't have at least 2 years run rate and a hefty retirement savings account you can fall back on? Sounds like you majorly failed at money management 101 - spend less than you earn and put at least 20% away in savings. BTW, that 20% is for people at an average salary, in your case, no matter where you live, you should be dropping at least 40% into savings, and likely more.
    • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:54PM (#49805655)
      You need investing advice more than career advice.

      After making 210k/yr and living expenses, OP does not seem to have anything left to invest. Budgeting advice should be a priority.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      Perhaps he lives in somewhere like Vancouver and bought a house. $200,000 a year is hardly enough to live on, little well save money.

    • You need investing advice more than career advice. After 10 years of work you should have much more than a three month cushion -
      It sound like you have fallen into the trap of allowing your expenses to grow to consume all current income. That is going to be hard to reverse, and THAT is what you need some professional help with,

      I totally agree.

      I am more or less "retired", unless someone comes to me with exceedingly interesting work to do, I read, I paint, I draw, I write, I tinker, I vacation, I angel invest, I patent even more stuff, I spend time with smart people, I participate in interesting forums, and I learn more stuff, taking college courses if I have to, etc..

      $4M in savings is more than enough to throw off the $200K+ a year (that's at only 5%) you are currently earning, and as long as you are conscious of cash flow, this j

      • Just got asked about helping with the Fukushima cleanup. I'm in, in case anyone cares.

      • People who spend all they make are people who never had to eat Cream-O-Wheat with weevils in it, and live on Top Ramen, and Mac and Cheese, and Little Caesar's Pizza, when they were younger.

        I still eat Little Caesar's Pizza and Mac and Cheese because it's awesome. It's nice to be able to do that because I want to, not because I have to like back in college! I do agree, his issue is clearly one of financial discipline, not a "career choice".

    • I was always taught that any type of bonus should be treated like "free money" and saved immediately, not spent or counted towards your yearly income. I bet if OP would just save his bonuses and not use those as a basis for his "normal" income, he could easily achieve much more than a 3 month cushion.
  • save? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:50PM (#49805325)

    approx 210k a year after bonus.... I've a family of 3 to feed. I cannot afford to be jobless for more than 3 months if I do get laid-off

    On your salary, you should easily be able to save years of buffer, at the rate of at least a year per year even if you live in an expensive area.

    I have plenty of friends in an average priced area making around $40K/year and supporting families of 4 on that. It doesn't involve owning BMWs or big screen TVs or living in mansions and they penny pinch, but they get by okay on what they have. On over 5X that salary, even if your housing prices are several times higher, you should have no problem at all building a huge buffer for bad times if you need it - even with a more luxurious lifestyle than they are living. Years of buffer should not be a problem except when you are just starting out.

    Perhaps some of the problem is money management, rather than your choice of career?

    • You should be able to afford to raise a family on half of that, even in the Bay Area... unless you keep buying new cars, bought a house you couldn't afford... and generally just represent the kind of person who the people who grew up in the area you moved into despise.

      • Re:wow, no lie (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bleckywelcky ( 518520 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @03:38PM (#49805857)

        > You should be able to afford to raise a family on half of that, even in the Bay Area... unless you keep buying new cars, bought a house you couldn't afford... and generally just represent the kind of person who the people who grew up in the area you moved into despise.

        Actually, that's not true. Half that is $105k. Rent in the SF Bay for a 2 bed / 2 bath apartment within 30 minutes of that $105k job is going to costs you minimum $2.5k a month, more likely even $3k. So that's $36k a year, after tax. Your marginal rate at $105k is likely the 28% bracket. So $50k * 72% = $36k means it costs you $50k of your pre-tax income to pay for rent. Take the other $50k, chop off another 7.65% for OASDI / Med taxes = another $8k. State income tax will run another 5% ish, so another $5k. Suddenly your $105k has been dropped down to around $40k for the basic set of rent and taxes. And that's before you've even had a chance to pay for anything else - food, utilities, car, insurance, etc. And before you've put anything into savings.

        I remember thinking back in the early 2000s that the "6 figure income" was the pinnacle of climbing out of the middle class into the start of the upper class. But the sad reality today is that with monetary inflation, demand inflation for living expenses, globalization, etc ... $100k is barely middle class anymore across many of the major metro areas in the United States. In the minor metro areas across the country, where populations in a 20 mile radius are under say 50k, you can still survive quite nicely on an $80k-ish income. But in major metro areas, especially with a family, that is not true anymore.

        • I'm not suggesting that you can live high on the hog. Although what I would suggest is not having three kids if you don't have some kind of financial security lined up. After just one unplanned child I'd be off to the snip snip.

        • Re:wow, no lie (Score:4, Insightful)

          by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @04:55PM (#49806127) Journal

          1. Way to mix the numbers up. You managed to work the numbers both ways, multiplying up to make an expense include taxes, while also dividing salary down to remove taxes, making the numbers really confusing
          2. You cut his salary in half, then at the end claim there isn't much left to save. The half you cut is "savings".
          3. 40k a year for the rest [food, utilities, car, etc] isn't crazy cheap. You don't have to scrimp every penny just to get by. Sure, you don't get to fly to EuroDisney for 3 weeks each year, but you totally can get by with that. If you want to.

    • Re:save? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:37PM (#49805555)

      A big screen TV is no longer a rich man's luxury. The best displays are about $2,000. If you pay more, either you're paying for a brand, or you are buying a jumbo screen that's 65" or higher. Which even then, it isn't going to exceed $10,000 unless either you buy snake oil shit (think the 'monster cable' of TVs) or you buy something that's so big it can't even fit into the living room of a typical mansion.

      The rich man's luxury these days depends on the kind of rich man you are. Some like coke and sex parties, some like menageries, some like exotic car collections, some like Learjets, some like live-in sushi chefs, and some like to own one of every kind of weapon in existence.

      John Mcafee for example loves coke and sex parties.

      • Is there another kind of party?
      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        A big screen TV is no longer a rich man's luxury. The best displays are about $2,000. If you pay more, either you're paying for a brand, or you are buying a jumbo screen that's 65" or higher. Which even then, it isn't going to exceed $10,000 unless either you buy snake oil shit (think the 'monster cable' of TVs) or you buy something that's so big it can't even fit into the living room of a typical mansion.

        The rich man's luxury these days depends on the kind of rich man you are. Some like coke and sex parties, some like menageries, some like exotic car collections, some like Learjets, some like live-in sushi chefs, and some like to own one of every kind of weapon in existence.

        John Mcafee for example loves coke and sex parties.

        That's the way it always has been. The rich aren't satisfied with consumer goods and never have been. Here's just a couple examples [mentalfloss.com] from the 1920s. Drugs and underaged girls aren't a recent invention.

    • As always, it depends on the area. Plenty of the big name areas these days are nearly poverty levels, even making $100k. Houses could easily be $1 mil + for something meager, with rents running $2.5k - $3.0k + a month. I know for absolutely certain that even the suburbs of the SF Bay and NYC would put a family of 3 in the ghetto at $40k. However, at $210k and "barely making it", you're looking at a much smaller area ... pretty close to downtown SF, NYC, LA, etc. Still, at $210k, buying a meager 3/2 1500 sq

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      I earn about a 1/3rd of this person, live in a country more expensive to live in than the United States, and I own a light aircraft, yet I have enough money saved that I could live over a year at my current spending rate. OK, so I don't have children, but believe me an aircraft is as expensive to own as children.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doing a job for money, does not for-fill me. I have 5 to feed, so I understand the money side.

    I have seen many in the IT world to be there only for money and NOT skill / passion for job. I work today with a group that mainly in it for money. No future planning on direction of the NETWORK or SOFTWARE. PS: I sit in both worlds.

    If you love networking and think with single point failure issues, go for it.
    If you are just doing it for money, find something else you enjoy. The money will come.

    Been in compu

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Networking is changing rapidly at the moment. Large numbers of companies outsource their WAN networks to telcos eliminating the need for people who understand routing in enterprises. A lot of the the internal networking of companies is moving to software defined networking, eg Vmware NSX, virtual load balancers, virtual firewalls etc. You still need people to manage this, but in theory it should be less people.

    Personally as someone in networking I'm not sure I'd recommended it unless you are very interest

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:52PM (#49805339)

    If you're making 210K/year but are unable to save more than 3 months of living expenses, then you are living way, way beyond your means.

    Yeah, I know that housing is expensive...so what, though -- everyone else in your area is also dealing with expensive housing, and probably most of them are making well under 210K. Given that service workers in your areas are raising a family on 50K-60K a year, you can surely afford to save far more than you currently are.

    • He's one of those people who doesn't know the value of $$$. "I can afford the payments" affects high-wage earners really bad when the music stops. Future bankruptcy is almost inevitable.
    • That's what I would say too. I make $42k/year right now (although I am single with no children), and after 1.5 years of that I have enough saved to be able to go without work for a year if it's necessary.
    • People create necessities from themselves. In my experience people in his pay bracket "must pay" for their kids to have private educations at 20-40k a pop per kid, must have luxury cars less than 3 years old etc. Money goes quick if you insist on creating expenses like that for yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:54PM (#49805353)

    First and foremost, how can you possibly have let yourself get into a situation where $210k/year has you three paychecks away from being out on the street? You need to make some adjustments to your living situation ASAP -- get your budget under control, eliminate outstanding debts, etc. You are near the very top of the industry for software engineering compensation -- it's not a matter of the market not being stable (there's very high demand), it's that you're quickly pricing yourself out of the market.

    Now onto the meat of your question -- you're not making a fair comparison. What would you think if your dual-CCIE friend saw your position and said they wanted to switch to software engineering because they have a friend with 10 years of experience in a high-level position who is making $210k/year?

    Yes, there are people that make as much as you doing network architecture. That is the absolute top-level cream-of-the-crop of the network engineering industry. It takes 10+ years of experience to get there. You will not be there on day one, and you probably wouldn't be there after 5-10 years of hard work, either, unless you get extraordinarily lucky. Your software engineering skills have nothing to do with network engineering at any level, let alone network architecture, so you will start out in entry-level roles making 50-70k/year while you gain experience. You may get to the point after 5-7 years where you're clearing 100k if you're positioned properly and very lucky with the experiences you've gained.

    Yes, network engineering is a great profession. No, you won't establish the same standard of living immediately, quickly, or even at all. Fix your personal problems and get your current life under control before you look at doing a major thing like shifting careers when you're currently at the height of your first career.

    • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @06:38PM (#49806631)

      First and foremost, how can you possibly have let yourself get into a situation where $210k/year has you three paychecks away from being out on the street? You need to make some adjustments to your living situation ASAP -- get your budget under control, eliminate outstanding debts, etc. You are near the very top of the industry for software engineering compensation -- it's not a matter of the market not being stable (there's very high demand), it's that you're quickly pricing yourself out of the market.

      Actually, no. I routinely get 2X that offers.

      And yes, he freaking needs to budget.

      The problem is that "delayed gratification" is no longer a concept these days.

  • by sydneyfong ( 410107 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:56PM (#49805361) Homepage Journal

    210k salary and you can't feed a family of 3.

    Software engineering jobs are in ever more demand today, and you're talking about bleak prospects in a job which you say isn't going to fire you any time soon.

    You talk about stability and jumping ship from a safe job in the same sentence.

    Hmm.

    Actually, what do you want? Or maybe you just hate software engineering as a job or career?

    • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

      When you put it like that, it sounds like the person might have outside pressures impacting his professional affairs.

      • When you put it like that, it sounds like the person might have outside pressures impacting his professional affairs.

        Hookers and DICE?

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:57PM (#49805373) Homepage

    Sorry, I know this is going to sound "holier than thou", but it's still true: high cost area or not, if you can't live more than 3 months without a salary - and you're pulling down 210k (US$, right?) - then your first efforts need to go into a hard look at your financial priorities. With that salary, you ought to be able to put quite a bit aside - it certainly shouldn't be hand-to-mouth anymore. Even in a high-cost area, that's all true.

    Brief aside: I assume you are in the US, where there is a lot of peer pressure to buy some awful McMansion that stresses your salary. This is a societal problem and one worth resisting. Even with 3 kids, you do not need 5000 square feet of house. Get a smaller, comfortable place to live and put you money somewhere more useful. If you're married, obviously your spouse needs to agree with this...

    As for moving to networking, it all depends on how good you actually are. If you are worth 210k/year, then you are not easily replaceable. OTOH, if you have the feeling that you landed in the gravy by accident, because you aren't actually worth that kind of salary, then maybe you do want to change...

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Even with 3 kids, you do not need 5000 square feet of house.

      That actually depends a lot on the people involved. As a single person with no kids, I'm finding ~1,800 square feet to be woefully insufficient for my needs. When I do woodworking projects, I have to either lose my master bathroom or my kitchen, and sometimes both, because I don't have a proper wood shop. My drum kit, weight bench, and grand piano take up almost the entire living room, so I don't have a proper living room. My filing cabinet, se

      • You have basically an entire music studio in your house (a drum kit, grand piano, etc), a workshop (sewing kit, wood shop, etc), an industrial printer (why?), a gym, as well as space for storage... And since your christmas tree doesn't fit (my family used to put a table in storage to make room for the tree), you are *UNCOMFORTABLE*?

        Your requirements for being comfortable are substantially different than 95% of the world.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          The industrial printer because I have a side business doing book publishing. I've found no print shops in the area that can handle one-off large-format printing for doing proofs of hardcover dust jackets, hence the only way to usefully get books out the door was to buy a giant beast.

          As for the exercise equipment, most days of the week, I work until the early evening, then have musical rehearsals that keep me up for several more hours. Having that equipment in my house is the only way I have a prayer of ge

      • I felt lucky to be able to afford 670 sq. ft. Including a second bedroom for me and my wife, and only be 50 mins from the office. This is London. Your life sounds so bloody easy and spoilt. Sympathy for you = 0.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          See that's the thing, you chose to live in London. You could have taken a job somewhere with cheaper housing, but for you, being in London was more important than having more space. It's a tradeoff. For me, having more space is more important, because many of the things I do (both for fun and to make money) require a lot of space on an ongoing basis. This is why I don't live in a city that's so big that a postage-stamp-sized piece of land costs ten thousand bucks. :-)

          Either way, you kind of missed my po

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        This will sound holier-than-thou, but insufficient for your wants, not needs. I'm sure you can with a small amount of effort think of a way of not needing a full size grand piano (I have a fantastic stage piano that sounds awesome, which I can just about lift myself and take to gigs), or a personal gym. You're living better than a king, and you're complaining about it!

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          I'm not complaining. I'm simply saying that you shouldn't assume that everyone's space needs are the same. Could I survive without the drum kit? Sure. The piano? Probably not for very long. For me, music is a crucial emotional outlet that I do, in fact, very much need. I'd probably sell one of my legs before I'd sell my piano. I've owned it for two decades, and it is very much a part of me.

          But the more important question is whether that space could somehow be converted to another use that would fulf

  • by GrantRobertson ( 973370 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:59PM (#49805383) Homepage Journal

    I got out of networking because it is too high stress. All you do is put out fires all day. None of the network equipment I ever used actually did everything the vendor said. All of the software you will have to support is crap, and you can't rewrite it.

    Networking is an entirely different skill set. Almost none of your current skills, other than management, will transfer. So that may be your best path. Go for a job as a CIO. You can manage big projects, help them avoid crappy software purchases, and not have to learn a thing about actual networking.

    • Don't go into networking unless you're the principal architect. I know a company that outsourced network engineering to the Philippines. They're willing to stay up late at night their time to accommodate for the normal business hour here. On the other hand, you do need some low level tech to do the manual labor of connecting cables and building racks of equipments, but they are not well paid. You need to be the brain that makes the master plan and ensures that outsourced network engineers work well with the

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        Networking goes far much more beyond dealing with cables and designing the data network. Far much more. Otherwise you are doing it wrong.
        • by pikine ( 771084 )

          I think you're intentionally conflating networking with something else (which you failed to specify exactly what is "much more"), just to show the world what a smart alec you are. But we are talking about a very specific profession, so please kindly stay on topic. The fact the OP mentioned CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) should give you a clue. Get a clue, pal!

          • by ruir ( 2709173 )
            I am a network admin, but I should think if I should answer to an idiot. I am not wasting my time.
    • A very important point about the skill set. As a network support person, I considered my self the digital equipment of a plumber. No one noticed me if I did my job well, but all hell would break loose if I screwed up!

      They is also very little creativity. Most networks are already designed, so the job is basically maintenance, with none of they day by day rewards of finishing a piece of software.

    • I'd go further and say Networking is hardly immune to H1B's either... The networking departments at all the big companies (fortune 500) in my area are 90% H1B imports rather than 'native born' Americans. On applications for new networking jobs here the last 3 years have added a line asking if I would need sponsorship to stay in the US if I worked for them and it seems to coincide with the trend of the big companies not to hire Americans. I live between Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh (those cities make a

    • by rthille ( 8526 )

      Not to mention that the software that the company I work for is writing (NFV stuff) will put networking professionals out of jobs before too long...

  • Where do you live? I live in WA State and can live very well with my family on 50K a year. Granted my car is 8 years old and I rent my home but it's all good.
  • by wyattstorch516 ( 2624273 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:18PM (#49805473)

    Seriously, the late 90s was the time to hop on the CCIE gravy train. Back then it was practically a license to print money, today it will not guarantee you any job much less a high paying one. The networking field has reached a sort of rough equilibrium where the number of people working in it is nearly the same as the number of jobs. If you have many years of experience in complex networking environments then you can still command top pay. But if you do not have that then it is not worth pursuing. There are a ton of people out there trying to break into the networking industry and a limited number of entry level jobs.

    There are no full-time networking jobs out there in small and medium sized businesses. Large companies may hire a small handful of them but that is it. The jobs are primarily with vendors, ISPs, and consulting firms. You had better have verifiable high-end experience or close personal ties to get into one of those gigs. Otherwise it will be a relatively low-paying NOC job waiting for a higher position to open up and hope that somebody will give you a chance.

    I think your biggest problem is that you have the "grass is always greener' mindset right now. You are unhappy in your job so you are looking elsewhere. A better plan would be to look into other areas of software engineering where your past experience can be helpful.

    • At my location, I think there are around maybe 8 people working as actual "network engineers" that are at our physical site. There's always someone there 24/7/365, sometimes 2-3. I work over nights, so I don't know how many people are there normally during the day now but I know the team size. I think though that we have far more than any other shop on average; we support thousands of servers, multiple networks, multiple data centers, and have the SABRE mainframes in our basement. There are also teams in
  • Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Psychopath ( 18031 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:19PM (#49805477) Homepage

    First, ignore the people who just want to shit all over you for making more money than them. They don't know anything about your situation and aren't qualified to comment. Savings and cash flow are two entirely different things, as I'm sure you know.

    I've been in networking for about 20 years. I don't have a CCIE, but I've passed the written three times and sat for the lab once (I took a sales path instead). I have intimate knowledge of CCIE compensation. Starting level for a CCIE is around $135K, depending on where you live and what exactly you're doing. I believe there are salary surveys published every few years on this topic.

    You will absolutely need extensive experience to become a network architect, though. The certifications would not be enough. Obtaining a CCIE is strenuous and would most likely require those years of experience anyway. You can do it, but it will take time and you will take a pay cut while you build your portfolio. Be aware, though, that networking is not immune to the outsourcing issues you're seeing in software.

    As career changes go, networking is not a bad choice, but it won't be an immediate lateral move in terms of comp.

    • First, ignore the people who just want to shit all over you for making more money than them. They don't know anything about your situation and aren't qualified to comment. Savings and cash flow are two entirely different things, as I'm sure you know.

      Switch wives, really.

    • They don't know anything about your situation and aren't qualified to comment.

      I thought the point of "Ask Slashdot" was to explain your situation and invite people to comment?

      • It is. I don't see many comments addressing his question, just a bunch of posts about how he can't manage his finances without really having much context. There's even a comment about how he needs a new wife, for fuck's sake. We don't even know he's a he, right?

        Perhaps he has his savings tied up in a 401k, IRA, and college funds for his kids. Perhaps he's purchased investment properties. Perhaps he's trying to accelerate his retirement. There are a number of valid reasons why he could have three months cash

        • I'm sure the wife comment was made in jest. However, my wife - whom I love dearly and would not trade for anything - is not great at managing money, for a variety of reasons. She therefore manages to commit us to spending most of my paycheck, which, being in a very low-cost area, is probably comparable to the OP's. I have tried in vain to explain to her that a salary that's twice as much as most of our employed friends' (leaving aside the fact that many of them are unemployed) should go a lot further th
  • Remember these words:
    "It looks okay on my end." *pause* "Try it again."
    When you have mastered this, you will be ready for network administration.
  • by SecurityTheatre ( 2427858 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:28PM (#49805511)

    A couple of things come to mind beyond your current financial situation.

    1) Dual CCIE is the absolute pinnacle of the field. Out of 50 million people in the world who do IT work, the 600-ish people in the world who have this combination of certifications are the top of their field. It generally takes 8-10 years of experience and dedicated study to get to this level. Did you think you would just walk in and get a CCIE in 3 months? The lab itself costs several thousand $$ and requires you to fly to California, where you do an 8-hour long practical exam. It's the top cert among Cisco's 15-18 different certs. Most people get at least 4 others before a CCIE.

    2) A quick google on this topic turns up this quote, which is very apt: "Given equal intellectual capabilities and work ethic, 20 years of hands-on costs a lot more to an employer than 3 years of hands-on with 2 CCIEs, in most cases. Also, in most cases, a better investment." Ask your friend what his real world experience and the number of times he's deployed large scale complex WANs and various other technologies and remember that having that experience with dozens of networks is what makes him valuable. The cert is just the proof.

    3) If you switch fields, you will start at $50-60k. That's what they pay network engineers with no experience. After 10 years and 6 or 8 certifications leading up to a CCIE, the median salary is $165k. Making $210 is very lucrative. I would find ways to save money now, rather than try to switch careers.

    4) Your dream that somehow computer networking is immune to H1B is asinine. They will be outsourced and replaced at the same rate, with the same drivers and the same goals and outcomes.

    • Your numbers on the multiple CCIE holders are off quite a bit.The count is over 3500 and growing. Not to take away from your other points but I think it shows that the field is much more heavily saturated then some people think.

      http://d2pvz33nyw2w7z.cloudfro... [cloudfront.net]

    • THIS. Lots of THIS.

      Folks like to toss around the idea that Cisco Certifications are just dead simple and after reading a book or two, you can waltz in take the test and bazinga! Thou art certified.

      In their defense, once upon a time this was true. However, today's certifications are much tougher to obtain and you really need to know what you're doing before you attempt the test. ( Tests are about $300 a pop by the way )

      I'm currently working on CCNP R&S and there is a TON of information you have to be

  • I'm gonna say what everybody else already said with the added bonus of a harsh reality check.

    Regardless of the expensive area you've chosen to live in, there is no excuse for you to not be able to survive 3 months without income. Love her or hate her, Suze Orman would be tearing you to shreds if you asked her this question, so i'm going to do so by proxy.

    There are people out there that have to feed a family of 3 on $25,000 a year. They have to spend every dime they make on a place to live and food - and for

    • by mjm1231 ( 751545 )

      Meanwhile, a rough estimate of your income after taxes means you're probably taking $100-$125,000 a year home.

      I'd guess 125k is absolute worst case tax situation, based on this.

      There are people out there that have to feed a family of 3 on $25,000 a year.

      Yeah, this. You're quoting an income that puts you in the top 8% of Americans. If you're finding it hard to get by, I'm curious to know what your imagination thinks average wage earners do to survive.

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      cocaine? spoken like a truly poor guy. I tell you, once you earn past a comfortable sum of money it is to blew it away when you do not stop a moment to think how much you are spending, and how much being left in the bank. More so when you have a partner in the same kind of mentality. Between two SINGLE persons, it is quite easy to blew 5k-10k at least without even a blink. I once got into that mentality into the honeymoon phase with an ex, but fortunately got into my senses a few months down the lane, and t
  • If you earn 210K, but cannot afford to be unemployed for more then 3 months, than the problem is on your side because you are spending too much money. I would even say that it is unlikely that you will get this salary again if you switch jobs, as your current salary is way above even most high-qualification jobs.

  • From Experience (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:47PM (#49805617)

    I am a software guy who switched into networking 15 years ago and became one of the top-tier network architects. I changed back into software about 6 years ago because of where the industry is headed (and my skill set fit it perfectly). Being a network engineer (even CCIE) does not have a long future as a career (unless you just want to run cabling). Everything but running cables is being automated over the next decade. If your friend is not aware of this, there is a real awakening coming very soon for him.

    Sure, there will continue to be a handful of high end network architects, but most of what network engineers do will be replaced by software written by Software Engineers. If you want to break into networking, do it as a software expert (at your salary band, that sounds like what you are). Configuring networks is really not much different than writing very simple software -- just a bunch of objects (routers, switches) with attributes that define flow.

    Learn how networks function, and find a job writing software to replace the network people -- coming from someone doing this: your current salary band is easily achievable in networking if you are doing it as a software guy. As a pure network guy, you need to be at the very top to reach that level, and it isn't going to last long.

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:48PM (#49805621)

    Just to warn you, networking is ultra-boring. Do you think software engineering is bad? Networking is worse. You don't really make everything - you spend most of your time trying to get configurations to work, working around bugs in firmware, or figuring out how some numbskull screwed up the various configs.

    It is, basically, plumbing.

    That's not to say it isn't important, but if you're actually good at software engineering you'll probably find networking ultra-tedious. Do you really want to learn the ins and outs of the OSI stack? All the weird things about hooking Cisco gear to other gear? Troubleshooting connectivity issues due to someone plugging a switch into itself?

    Just writing about it makes me want to lobotomize myself.

  • by vinn ( 4370 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:56PM (#49805665) Homepage Journal
    Want some insulation? Start a side business. A friend and I both started separate businesses about 18 months ago. Him, because he wanted to. Me, because I had to. His business, really a side business, is beekeeping. Mine is IT consulting, but I have a very specific focus based on a specific thing here. We're both doing really well and last weekend we compared notes. We've both kind of knew this, but this is the conclusion we came to: His day job isn't the most thrilling and has ups and downs through the year, but he loves his side business. Me, I have a stable new business, but I might consider getting full time employment somewhere just to make my commute easier, however I love the business so much I'd have to keep parts of the work as a side business. Most people in other parts of the world seem to work like this. End result - side business is f*cking awesome and most people just seem too lazy to do it.
    • by cowdung ( 702933 )

      Side businesses are risky.. there are safer ways to invest that use up less of your precious time.

  • Brewster's Millions is not an instruction manual.
  • I think the only way you can make that kind of money is networking is dodging bullets - either literal or figurative.

    Either you are going to have a high-stress job where you will be on-call 24/7 and people will be yelling at you all day, or you need to go to Irag, Afghanistan, etc. etc. etc.

    Just find a job outside of the Bay Area. You will take a pay cut, but you will come out ahead.

    I hope you haven't been counting on those stock options that, in the vast majority of cases, will ultimately be worth --- noth

  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @03:04PM (#49805713)

    because we gotta show everyone how big our dicks are.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @03:35PM (#49805843) Homepage

    I'd rather know more about switching careers from software engineering to billionaire playboy super-spy. C'mon, think big!

  • You should think about instead of going all the way to CCIE, go for a lower level Cisco. We support hundreds of physical servers, two data centers, and (I think) 8 SABRE mainframes; yet we have maybe 8-10 network engineers who are FTE employees. Better yet might be to branch out into an MS cert, and a VMWare cert or three. My location does a tremendous amount of virtual servers, like 20-50 blades on a rack with 10-15 VMs each. I haven't seen any of the virtual networking yet, but that really isn't withi
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      You lost me at the joke of an MS cert. Really. What I can add is that at the moment, people with dev skills+networking+Linux are very hot in the market.
  • You want to switch a software engineering job paying you 210K / year?

    ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY????

  • Man you seriously need to control your fixed income expenses. It is very easy to get lost in the day to day grind, and toast it all in eating out and bars every single day, cigs, coffees, small vices. Sport cars and all of that. You have to start controlling your OWN expenses. Since your are married, both of you need to control it. I propose a small experience. Get a smartphone app, or a sheet of paper, a xls, whatever suits you, and jot down the expenses of the next 30 days. Then analyze it with your wife
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Budget by the year and not for the immediate. That several coffee a day habit could translate very well between 1000k-5000k thousand a year depending where you live and where you drink it. Save some vices only for the weekend. Be careful with eating out, it could well translate between 20k to 100k per year easily. And when I told to jot down the expenses it to carry a smart app or paper with you and jot down everything to the single penny.
      • That several coffee a day habit could translate very well between 1000k-5000k thousand a year depending where you live and where you drink it.

        I know trendy coffee places are expensive, but no matter where you are $1 billion a year is a serious habit!

        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          ;) yep, I noticed the error after I wrote, but nonetheless counted on people noticing it was 1k.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      About letting go drinking buddies, this goes without saying. I enjoyed a lot the companion of someone that was more calmer and more socially apt than me. A lot. But the man and their circle of very amicable friends, they downed a bottle per night, per guy of whiskey, plus the grub that went down to "settle" it, every single day of the week. I had to let it go. Being an expat in a foreign, hot country was not easy, and I was no stranger to have a drink at the end of the night. He made a hell a lot of differ
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      What is also the quality of your suits? I was no stranger to good suits (around 1.5k-2k with inflation in place), nowadays I get by with more modest clothing. Do not get into herd/peer pressure mentality of buying 4x4 for field activities, boats or planes. It is a trap, and the maintenance is very steep. If you absolutely insist on that, buy models and join a club that do some races or activities one time per month.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Forget me for intruding again. Many people, and yourself are missing the obvious. You obviously and if you are lucky do not need a disaster for things to go wrong. Your kids wont stay that age forever. Let them grow, and you will start going into debt. And I am ignoring here inflation.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      I bet you hire people to clean your house, nannies, dunno what more. Habits wont change overnight and will probably stress out the marriage. Hire a housekeeper, fire the rest. You will save money.
  • Dear Slashdot,

    I have a sweet high-paying job that might not last forever. Rather than risk losing it at some unknown time in the future and having to take a pay cut with a new job, should I just switch careers now and guarantee that I take a huge pay cut right away? PS., I'm barely scraping by now. I couldn't possibly support my family on less than the almost quarter million a year that I'm making now.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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