So how do you go from Service Desk Analyst to Solutions Architect? You’re thinking about a career in IT or have gotten started and want to get off the service desk. While starting on the service desk is a great way to get into the industry nobody wants to stay there forever. As you advance in your career and move up the ranks you’ll encounter more interesting work, earn more money and have better job security. But how do you get there?

 

The positions along the IT career ladder

To start with let’s look at the broad names of the positions from entry level to more senior roles. Service desk, desktop support, system administrator, system engineer, solutions architect. There’s some variance in these roles for example a some companies service desk and desktop support are one role. If you get into security you might be a security engineer. If you work for a consulting firm instead of solutions architect you might be a consultant.

 

Learning new products

The first thing you have to get comfortable with is learning new products. To increase your skill level from a junior role to a more senior one you’ll need to get some practice. Setup a lab at home and start learning. A lab in Azure or AWS is ideal but there’s nothing wrong with getting an old server and playing around with Hyper-V or VMWare. Do everything you can think of – setup servers, configure networks, buy a test domain and migrate Exchange to Microsoft 365. The more hands on experience you can get the more likely you are going to be to get a promotion or find a more senior job role at another company. If you cannot decide where to start go and look at a job ad for a position that is more senior than the one you are currently working in. Make a note of the skills and experience they want and go from there.

 

Certifications

The second thing you’ll want to do is get some certifications. Certifications prove to your employer that you know the various products on your resume. They also provide benefits to partner companies as they . Minimum numbers of qualified people to maintain partner status. The 3 most valuable Microsoft certifications for partners at the moment are Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate, Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert and Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert.

 

Communications skills

The third thing to invest are your communication skills. Take whatever you learn in your lab and try and explain it to someone who isn’t in IT. Have them ask questions and provide criticism and do your best to explain why things need to be done a certain way. This might feel awkward at first it puts you in the position that an engineer or architect would find themselves in. Those in senior IT roles have to make decisions about how to go about something, what trade offs are appropriate as well as what risks to tackle. They also have to defend their work because something went wrong or turned out to be more difficult than it first appeared.
 
If you learn products in your spare time, maintain your certifications and invest in your communication skills your career will fly along and you’ll find yourself going from Service Desk Analyst to Solutions Architect faster than you ever imagined.