Which one is better for me?
Whether you’re just starting your career, or a seasoned vet; there will be times when you need to consider which path to take. Some will say, IT is IT. There are some small but important differences between what you can expect from an In-House IT job and IT Service provider (also called Managed Service Provider or MSP). Which one is better? It depends on what you’re looking for in your career.
Are you at the start of your career?
In my opinion, if you’re at the start of your career it is generally better to work in an IT Service provider. When you start off, you’re not sure where your talents lie or which branch of IT suits you best. That is the main reason I believe an IT Service provider is your best bet. You have more chance of being exposed to different aspects of IT working for an MSP than you will In-House. I’ve found In-House tends to silo people into teams. Once in a team, you’re not really allowed to touch the parts of tech that belong to other teams. You’ll learn what you’re doing well but you’re not going to have the chance to do much else. In an MSP, you have a wider range of technologies (because every client has their own systems) and you’re more likely to be allowed to help with things that aren’t part of your job description. When things get busy and it’s all hand on deck, if you’re capable of helping with simple networking task (even though you’re on the helpdesk), your help will be appreciated. In-house, you’d probably be told off.
Are you already experienced?
With experience comes the ability to focus more on the kind of environment you want to work in. You should already have had good experience and have a good idea of what you are good at and what you enjoy. The next question is do you want to work in a place that is likely to let you stay in your comfort zone, or do you want to be challenged? In-house has a higher probability of comfort zone work. You’re more likely to be working on Business-As-Usual (BAU) on systems you’re very familiar with. Project work will come, but it’s unlikely to be that often and may not involve your team. MSPs have more regular projects and you’re constantly having to deal with new systems and software. You’ll have to learn how to come to grips with random proprietary software and learn how to use third party support (if you’re lucky enough to get it). I know many people who won’t work for MSPs because they don’t want the pressure. I’ve worked with both and the most enjoyable job I ever had was In-House. The downside was after a while I didn’t really progress. I was doing the same things every day and it became easy. There was the odd emergency, usually caused by the same problems that kept cropping up, and the fixes were known. Staying long-term would have left me with a very particular set of skills, limiting my options. I left and returned to an MSP because I wanted to grow.
When the factors are totalled, it will boil down to you. There are In-House positions that are high pressure, and there are MSPs that are lax. I’m only talking in terms of probability. Be aware of the differences. Try working in both environments and see how it feels to you personally. Neither is better, it just depends on your aims. Whichever one you chose, give your best. You’ll get more out of the experience if you do.
Would you like to deal with an IT Recruiter who has lived the difference and can share the benefits of the experience? If so, get in touch via email or call 0207 566 1199 to speak to someone at Sapient Recruitment Ltd.