Help wanted: Storage

So, you've been wrestling with disk drives, tape backups and other storage-related issues, what does this mean to your IT career? There are always jobs for storage specialists-including some fairly high up in the IT organization - but storage-related skills are also key to advancement along other IT career tracks.

In preparing to launch a bi-weekly Career Tip feature, the editors of SearchStorage.com prowled the job listings to discover where IT professionals with storage experience can leverage their skills. A simple search for "storage" on several of the popular careers search engines found more than 2,000 job listings per site. A handful of those jobs are for senior-level storage managers or directors, and carry salaries in the $90,000 to $115,000 range for large companies in the New York or Los Angeles metro areas. A step below that tier, storage specialists-with titles such as senior storage systems programmer or storage engineer -can find openings in the $50,000 to $90,000 range throughout much of the U.S. And, of course, the storage vendors are promising $100,000-plus salaries and bonus plans for experienced professionals who want to work in pre-sales and post-sales support roles.

"Where we are getting the most demand for storage specialists is from the Big Five firms where they are doing large outsourcing contracts with storage, although there are some of those positions in IT as well," says Cathy Peterson, director of candidate services for placement firm kforce.com in Dallas.

Those with storage experience should keep their eyes open for a growing number of postings for storage specialists needed to build and manage storage area networks.

Any of these storage jobs may require several years of experience with the broad range of system and operating system platforms used in large corporations, as well as work with disk and tape storage, and storage management, backup and systems management software. If IT professionals want to build SANs, they should plan on adding networking skills, such as work with Fibre Channel interfaces and Cisco routers.

Where storage skills are most commonly called for is in a position such as systems or network administrator, where storage is just part of a job candidate's portfolio. Another key area for storage-related skills is in the data warehousing sector, according to Peterson. She notes that, while those data warehousing jobs aren't as common as a position like network administrator, there is more competition for the latter. "We might be able to offer a candidate several opportunities for a network administrator role, but there are plenty of other people going for that same job. In an area like data warehousing, we often can help a candidate get two or three actual offers, not just opportunities."



This was first published in February 2000

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