Trucking Vs Network/System Administrator (need Some Insight)

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Derek S.'s Comment
member avatar

Any truckers who have done a fair share of IT related work before coming to trucking? I'm set to start my Networking Technology degree this August but after doing a lot of research it seems like the stress of Network/System admins is insane. I'm not so sure about getting into it as much now.

My other interest is trucking. I've been looking at getting into trucking since September of last year but haven't had the courage to take the plunge. However if I decide not to take this degree route I'll be going into trucking asap. I'm a laid-back introvert, not much family/friends at home, and am 100% ok with being alone in a truck left on my own. Over the last few jobs I've had (1 retail, 1 factory, 1 pizza delivery) it was the driving job I loved the most. The peace of being on the road by yourself was amazing. I also however have a love for technology and have been the "computer guy" since I was in middle school for my friends and family. I chose networking over programming because I have tried multiple times to teach myself how to program and did not enjoy it at all.

Would love to hear from any ex-IT guys who are now truckers and what you think about the two. Thanks!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

There are lots of IT folks posting here. I was a network hardware/cabling infrastructure guy for years. I have always liked tech. Trucking can heap a pretty good load of stress on you also. And you are pretty much on your own with that stress. Not trying to steer you one way or another. I went military career to civilian IT career and now trucking in my late 50s. Whatever you choose give it your all...

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Cold War Surplus's Comment
member avatar

I was a PMI certified IT Project Manager before I decided to drive truck. Night and day. The IT market is crowded, everyone wants you to work for entry-level wages and most work is not regular full-time employment. My last project was for a defense contractor that made armor plates for other DoD contractors. When the project was over the CIO called me into his office to compliment me on the work my staff and I had completed and outline some new work he wanted done. I told him that based on his description of the work it would take my crew between 12 and 16 weeks to complete the project. I'd have to ask a few more questions to nail down the estimate a little better but how long was he planning on extending the contract for? He wasn't. I asked how I was supposed to pay my staff and myself with no contract since this was new work, not fixing something that wasn't done right the first time. He explained that he wanted us to work for free in exchange for being considered for future paid work!

Compare that to a signing bonus, free (ish) training, as much work as I can fit into 70 hours in a week, steady raises and few hassles. There's a shortage of drivers and a qualified driver doesn't have to work as a 1099 contractor, work on a limited contract or get laid off at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile, H1-B visas allow companies like Hertz, Walt Disney , Caterpillar, etc. to import thousands of workers from China, India, Pakistan, etc. to replace US IT workers for a fraction of the pay they were paying US IT workers. If the worker has problem working 80 hr. weeks for $20k, no problem the employer holds their passport.

Derek S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your input. I'm really thinking about giving trucking a shot before committing to a long degree program that will put me more into debt then I already am. Currently going through the high road online course and I gotta say it's amazing. Both nervous and excited to get started.

dege78's Comment
member avatar

This may actually be my first post here but I wanted to reply to your topic, especially if you will be accruing any debt to pursue your degree. Personally I’ve debated the idea of driving since I was 21, I’m will soon be 40 and I’ve yet to pull the trigger on the idea. I’ve also recently graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a dual major in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity, and Digital Media and Web Technology.

I’ve been job searching since I graduated in May. The only call back I received was for a pharmacy technician position, I served in the US Navy for 8 years as a Corpsman/Pharmacy Technician. I have never heard back on any position within the IT fields I studied for. I attribute this partially to not having any certifications. With work, school, family, etc I never seemed to be able to fit these into my schedule. If you do pursue an IT degree be sure you obtain the necessary certifications while in school. You will likely need several various certifications, depending on your concentration. Each certification will likely cost several hundred dollars each in additional to your tuition, books, etc. I feel many of the articles I read claiming IT to be in demand are misleading at best. If I had incurred any debt obtaining my degree I’d certainly be more upset about the situation. My degree was funded by Tuition Assistance while I was active duty, and by the GI Bill after separating.

My interests in trucking are varied. Like you I am an introvert, scored 98% introvert on the Myers-Briggs test we took during a psychology class. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people, just that I prefer, and recharge on my own as opposed to being around people, which I find exhausting. I was always a bit of a car buff. I always liked working on cars in general. As such, I have always been fascinated with semi trucks. I’m am generally excited about the prospect of piloting one. I also tend to find driving on the open road quite calming. I could also see myself simply securing a P.O. Box for residency purposes and living a nomadic life out of the truck.

Although I am not a driver, i think it’s important to understand that it’s not just a job but a complete lifestyle change. It may be important to consider things that are important to you to determine if it will fit into the lifestyle. As a former command fitness leader, a healthy lifestyle is important to me. It’s not that this can’t be done on the road, but it’s certainly a bit of a challenge. I think it’s important to consider these types of things when considering what path you would like to pursue.

I apologize for the lengthy post. In part I’m working through my own deliberations in regards to possibly making the move into trucking myself.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I seriously suggest to take several long drives before committing to truck driving. If you don’t love to drive, and have an ability to maintain focus for hours at a time while on a lonely stretch of highway, this is probably not the best career path.

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

@dege78 & @Derek S.

Been lurking around TT for about a month now and have learn A LOT. I really do mean A LOT!!! So much so that I was able to make an informed decision to take on a career change and do something I've wanted to do for 25 years. With that in mind, I'm leaving for Missoula MT some time on July 27th to begin my trucking career at JPT. When things start rolling a little more I entend on starting a training diary. This will be an exciting learning experience and a great challenge.

I've been keeping an eye on this thread and it's time for me to chime in to give me $0.02 on something I can help with. I've been in and around IT for over 20 years (was a mechanic and welder before that). Out of that 20+ years in IT, 5 was spent as a UNIX/Windows SysAdmin. That was 5 of the most stressful years of my life! Every job has stress. Each has a different type of stress and some have more, some less but they all have stress. Whether it be a difficult manager/co-worker/customer or being on pins and needles after doing a critical system up date on 20 servers. For me dealing with the stress of pins and needles was to much. Dealing with people can be managed, just don't dwell on any one encounter.

Now for some more sage advice. If you do decide to take on a career in IT, get those certs! At a minimum get at least one A+ certification. It'll get your foot in the door at most entry level IT jobs. Then you can use that to fund getting the M$ & Linux certs.

Last but not least. Thank you Bertt for taking the time to maintain this awesome community! And to all the others, thank you for each and every post you make!

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Army 's Comment
member avatar

Knowital

Congrats on JP. I grew up in Missoula and plan on driving for them when my opportunity comes along. There does not appear to be a recent diary for JP, so I would encourage you to let us follow you.

Again congrats Chris

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

Knowital

Congrats on JP. I grew up in Missoula and plan on driving for them when my opportunity comes along. There does not appear to be a recent diary for JP, so I would encourage you to let us follow you.

Again congrats Chris

Thanks Chris and I will. Guess this could be considered the first installment. smile.gif "Should" get some dates and times early this week. Process for me will have taken a little over a month since putting in my application to the time I arrive Missoula. But that's on me cause I had things to take care of before had.

The info from my recruiter and here on TT, JP's training is very similar to Prime's. Although, I'm sure there are many differences. Class size being one of them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Derek S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for chiming in.

@dege78 and @KnowItAll what you said about getting a degree and having trouble finding work is what I'm afraid of. I already have 1 degree that resulted in that exact same thing so I figured I 'd go into a degree that's "in demand" but who knows how much truth they're saying. The program coordinator said we use Cisco's textbooks in the class but we had to go take the certification tests on our own. The two and a half year plan (because I already have a 4 year it eliminated all the gen ed courses) it would take to graduate is estimated to cost about 20-25k, and that's without the textbook cost. I already owe about 40k with interest included. I'd be up to 60k at the minimum with a degree in Computer Networking and the certifications if I choose to get them. We have our own lab with switches/routers that students can use at any time, an internship is required to graduate, and we're required to take a general "career readiness" course that focuses on resumes and getting comfortable with interviews. As well as networking classes we take an intro class on Java, Python and web design (HTML5, CSS, Javascript, etc.) which he said was a new change to the program to make us more well rounded as IT professionals. The programming scares me a little bit because I've done programming on my own and absolutely hated it, thought it was a chore. Maybe learning it in a classroom setting will change that but not so sure. Here's the coursework if you're interested: https://imgur.com/a/YAH4Dqg .

@G-Town As far as driving goes I commute an hour each way to this University for my first degree, sometimes twice in one day for morning and evening classes. Driving has always been very relaxing for me and I always looked forward to it at the end of the day. I'd put on a podcast and just cruise, I loved it. Driving for upwards of 8-11 hours a day will definitely take some determination but I see it as doable and not at all something I'm afraid of.

My last question on IT would be how common is the "ticket system" in a Network/System admin position? The idea of having to prioritize dozens of things that need attention and bouncing around kinda turns me off. I'm the type of person to focus and finish something before moving on to the next thing.

@KnowItAll Congrats on JPT! I've heard nothing but great things from them. I wish you luck and keep us posted on how it goes for you.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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