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Opinions needed.


Valiant200
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First I want to say hi to everyone.I have dilemma and I would like an opinion. In my final year in Uni I have the opportunity to choose a path for the future. I like networks and especially the hardware part and more specifically structured cabling. I also like the developer part which deals with .Net and Windows forms etc. I wanted to know which is better for the loooong run. Also what should I need to know about Structured Cabling?

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Structured Cabling huh? Well I don't want to discourage you but I liked structured cabling in College too, well the 50 feet or so we ran in the computer lab but now that I work for systems infrastructure company (I am a programmer) I have to help with installations form time to time. Let's just say after pull 20,000 feet of cable through dusty rafters and floating cielings it is no longer fun. :)I would choose the development side because that is what I like although you would probably have an easier time finding a job if you went the hardware root (at least ti's like that in my area)

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please, don't put the undue pressure on yourself to think this is a life defining decision. Every job is a stepping stone to your future. I went from managing a ski and golf resort to being a senior web developer at a large non-profit in a matter of a couple of years. Here is one rule of thumb I stand behind 100%, make sure that whatever job you have when you get out of school, you DO NOT keep it for more than 5 years. This may not apply to everyone, but an overwhelming majority of people have been found to be happier in their life and career if they moved on after 5 years. After that, its all open. But don't get locked into that first job - unless it really, really is the one.Anyway, I think hardware might be the best, most rewarding job in the short term. It will allow you enough free time to dabble in the programming on the side. The networks you install will give you the background that only makes your programming that much more respectable - trust me. I know infrstructure technicians that would love to "kill" programmers cuz they constantly blame the network for their program's slow performance. If you have the background, then your applications respect that. I know this first hand as that is how I've evolved as well. My apps run fast and clean and my server performance reflect that - if you were here, you could ask our Network Services team the difference between my app servers and my co-worker's app server performance. I do not mean to sound boastful, just making the point that the background only makes you better - especially in an interview. Big difference in saying, "Yeah I am an excellent ASP programmer, 7 yrs experience" versus "Yeah I am an excellent ASP programmer, 5 yrs experience coding but 2 years networking, my apps are optimized since I am knowledge of the networks they run on."

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I agree with Skemcin comments regarding college degrees and careers. Just because you have a degree in something doesn't mean that this is what you will be doing in a career. I also think that the days of keeping the same job for 30 years, like our parents and grandparents, are long gone.I would, for the same reasons that Skemcin pointed out, choose the hardware route and then pick up software as you work. When I was working as an independent contractor for various clients, I had to bring in other people who where much more knowledged about hardware and server setup while I focused on software development. If you had a background in hardware and were also a programmer, you'd be much more desirable for employers.

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Another pro for the hardware route...if you work for a software company they will most likely frown upon or even forbid you having clients on the side as it would be taking away from their potential customers.I am in a similar sticky situation like that were my employer has firmly "asked" me not to take on side website contracts but to use the CMS we sell.

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