Prospects in the area of storage

A ZDNet Asia reader, eyeing a career in storage administration, asks how to prepare for a switch to the field.

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Q. I have been working as a Veritas Netbackup administrator for the past year. Previously, I worked for two years in Lotus Domino administration. Now I plan to change my career to the storage field. Is it a good idea?

Do I need to do a course for this?

Please let me know the basics that I need to cover to move to storage?

What are the most commonly used storage products--EMC, Brocade, Hitachi? How important is a storage certification?

What are the prospects for storage administrators? Is it necessary to have Unix skills, as I am not an expert at Unix?

Career advice from Tay Kok Choon, country manager of JobStreet Singapore:

To sustain a career in the IT industry, it is important to stay up-to-date, remain flexible and expose oneself to a variation of job roles. Having been a system administrator for the past three years will provide one with a good foundation to focus on something more specialized.

Storage management is one area that can be considered. You can either choose to be involved in providing a range of services and turnkey solutions that cover the end-to-end application platforms from legacy domains to Web-based applications or provide managed services that focuses on delivery and service levels.

A candidate is expected to pursue proper training, both in theory and in practice to ensure that skills are up-to-date and relevant. Some relevant experience will be helpful but experience of storage management support, with extensive exposure to management of both disk and tape storage in large environments will be an asset.

Involvement and leading with storage-related projects in new facilities would be another advantage.

The market is looking for individuals with a broad knowledge of storage software and hardware and who are accustomed to supporting a 24-by-7 high-value operation.

Being able to cope with the rapid rate of technical change and ensuring reliability via adherence to change control disciplines is a necessity.

With the above background, here are the answers to your questions:

1. Do I need to do a course for this? General IT training is expected and organizations will provide equipment and environment-specific courses.

2. Basics that I need to cover to move to storage? In general, an interest in IT and in specific, an interest in an area that is critical and fast growing.

3. Importance of commonly used storage products certification? They are all relevant; it really depends on the environment and the equipment adopted by the organization.

4. Prospects for storage administrators? Excellent, it is an important pillar in the IT environment and provides an excellent foundation for IT career advancement.

5. Necessary to have Unix skills?Also good to have a general working knowledge of operating systems but in-depth OS skills is not necessary.