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Marketing Yourself as an IT Jack-of-All-Trades? 169

ultimatemonty asks: "As an IT professional looking for a new job, I'm trying to figure out how to market myself as a 'jack-of-all-trades' IT worker. I'm currently employed at a medium sized university as a video conferencing specialist. I'm good (competent) at many IT related tasks (Linux server management, programming, Windows/Linux desktop support, video conferencing support, etc...), but specialize or excel in none of them, sort of like the lone IT manager in a small shop. What kinds of jobs would the you look for with this kind of work experience, and how would you market yourself (design your resume, cover letter, and so forth) to prospective employers so they get the full-breadth of your capabilities, without over-stating your abilities?"

Pros/Cons of Working at Big R&D Consulting Firm? 41

pagalvin asks: "I'm being recruited for an 'R&D Architect' position at a Big 4 consulting firm in the U.S. Does the community care to share its experience working as 'overhead' in a large organization that is most famous for its consultants working 60 hour weeks and billing 'til the fat lady sings? In such places, do non-billable R&D types get any respect? Is there a a long-term career path that sticks with the technology track?"

Is Cash No Longer Legal Tender? 719

An anonymous reader asks: "I attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. Last semester my housing arrangements went smoothly. I put down my application fee, and my deposit just fine, got a room for the semester and life went on. This semester, because there was supposedly a large number of students who did not check into their rooms last semester, we were required to make a $100 prepayment, in addition to the application fee and deposit. No problem, I think, I see the university is trying to make a quick buck off people who don't follow through with their plans. Now I do NOT have a checking account, a credit card, or anything. I don't trust the banks, or the credit card companies, so I am one of the few people who do EVERYTHING in cash. However, they refused to take the cash. Is it legal for a state-owned university, let alone any business to not take legal tender?"

High Paying Jobs in Math and Science? 383

An anonymous reader asks: "Where are the high paying jobs for those who are good in math and science? I've heard about math and science shortages for almost two decades now, and I was wondering what high salary/high demand jobs have resulted from these shortages. Most science majors I know actually make less than teachers (in Texas teachers make $38-40K to start for nine months of work). In terms of money, what career would you pursue coming out of college right now with a math or science degree?"

Dell or HP for Small Business? 154

fruitbane asks: "I work for a medium-sized non-profit, approximately 50 full-time users and 100 desktop PCs. We're redoing all our technology plans and budgeting; that means it's time to pick vendors/brands and stick to them, something we haven't reliably done in the past. Sites like Consumer Reports review various PCs and manufacturers for home users. Are there any comprehensive reviews or advice sources for those trying to determine the best vendor/manufacturer for small business desktops and laptops?"

Handling Interviews After Being a Fall Guy? 140

bheer asks: "Salon's Since You Asked column is carrying an interesting question right now — what do you say in interviews after getting fired as a fall guy at your last job? Cary Tennis, who writes the column, admits he may not be the best person for this sort of question. So I thought I'd ask others what they thought about this. Software developers are sometimes able to get away blaming the business requirements/analysis process, but anyone with any experience in this business probably has had nightmares about being the fall guy and may even have a strategy or two up their sleeve. How would deal with being in such a crummy position?"

How Far Should a Job Screening Go? 675

SlashSquatch asks: "My sister is getting screened for a programming position with a financial firm. I was alarmed to hear she'll be getting fingerprinted at the Sheriff's Office as part of the screening process. Instantly I conjure up scenes of frame-ups and corporate scandals. I want to know, should this raise a flag? Would you submit to fingerprinting, blood tests and who knows what else (financial, genetic code, and so forth) for a programming position?"

What Business Software Runs Your Office? 60

bardkerbie asks: "I work as a webmaster and sysadmin for a small computer services shop (4 employees including the owner). We're to a point in the growth of our business where we need a system for tracking work orders as they come in and out of the shop, specifically inventory used and time spent. We use Quickbooks Pro 2006 for our accounting and payroll software. I've played around with a number of issue-tracking and CRM suites, including Bugzilla, Eventum, SugarCRM and vTiger, but all seem like they lack one critical piece to handle the workload we have. What do you use for tracking the work you do? Is it something you wrote yourself? Is there an open-source project that works well, or is there a Quickbooks plug-in we can purchase?"

Seeking Next Gen Online Order Entry Software? 42

kwandar asks: "Our company is a small/medium sized software developer that markets its products around the world. The order/sales system is an outdated DOS-based system, with limited capabilities. We would like to replace this with one that provides new features like: CRM; customer support services; bug reporting; bug tracking; order entry; accounting reporting; and hooks into some form of licensing software. Ideally it would be web based so that all ordering can be done over one system, whether by a customer, our foreign distributors, or ourselves. Have any of my fellow readers been through this and hunted down software, that worked in a software sales environment. Can anyone recommend an all-in-one solution, or several solutions (open source preferred) which can be integrated with minimal effort?"

Where to Go After a Lifetime in IT? 902

Pikoro asks: "I have been working in the IT field for the past 20 years or so, and after getting hired by the largest financial company in the world, I thought I might have finally found a place to retire from. However, after working here for almost a year, I find myself, not exactly burnt out, but longing for a complete career field change. It's not that doing IT related tasks aren't fun anymore, but they have become more 'work' than 'play' over the last few years. Since all of my experience has been IT related, I'm not sure where I could go from here. What would you consider doing for a living, after being in a single field for so long?"

Creating a Full-Time Sysadmin Position at a School? 67

Old_Mountain_Man asks: "I have been working at a K-8 school for the last two school years, as a volunteer through an Americorps program called the Montana Technology Corps. In theory, I am here to teach teachers and students how to use technology, but because of the need and my ability to do so, I have become an unofficial Systems Administrator. We also have a contracted Systems Admin that comes in once a week, and works 30 hours or so a month. After this year, the Tech Corps position will no longer be available to the school, so something needs to be done to keep the IT systems of the school functioning. I am going to propose to the school board that they create an official, full time systems administrator position, and to hire me for that job. Are there others out there that got their jobs similarly? How do you convince a board that they need to start budgeting for this? They have obviously taken the plunge to getting this technology in the school, so how do I convince them that they need somebody here to maintain it?"

Worrying About Employment Contracts? 98

An anonymous reader wonders: "I was preparing to accept a software developer job at a California company and was put off by the contract which claimed ownership of any ideas I create (on my own time or at the company) during my stay at the company and required me to inform them of any ideas (related to the company or not) during my employment and for a year afterwards. I've found references to a couple of instances where this became a legal problem for the developer. Is this something to worry about?"

Creating A Virtual Office? 71

Fubar asks: "My small company of 10 employees is considering letting our lease run out on our office space and is thinking about having everyone work from home (or wherever they want). I have been tasked with putting a plan together to provide voice and data connectivity to each employee. What sort of solutions have you implemented?"

Work Unhappy or Move On? 85

dunnowhat2type asks: "I grew up around a big city (suburbs of NY) and went to college in a relatively different area (upstate NY). After graduating last May, I took a job in the area where I went to college. I started in July, and was given a relocation package contingent on me staying for a year. Since August, I haven't been happy with the area I have been living in and have actively been pursuing employment back in the city. What am I better off doing: Is it better to be miserable with money, work experience, and health insurance; or going home and being happy, but unemployed?"

What Is Fair Technical Support From a Manufacturer? 50

VincenzoRomano asks: "One year ago, I decided to buy some 'enterprise grade' firewalls, in order to replace the old ones used by a former ISP. Before buying, I did a bit of a survey. I browsed the product 'data sheets' from the manufacturer web sites, and in some cases, asked for more details by email. I finally choose a top product, that had been on the market for a year and a half, from a very well known and reputable company. The product showed a number of issues as soon as it was unpacked and put to work, that you would not expect from something 'enterprise grade', like not being able to keep a VPN up and running for more than a few minutes, or doing bad IP routing on our LAN. I've spent the last year to make the equipment working, accordingly to both their data sheets and the features expected from an 'enterprise grade' product. Important issues are still open while the technical support is actually relying on my own stuff and setup, and on my personal availability in order to do troubleshooting, firmware beta testing and other experiments. I've finally decided that the product was far from being ready to market or even usable for beta testers, and have requested some kind of compensation for all the job I had to do. What's your opinion about such a behavior in a company? Is it fair?"

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