Hi all, I've been on the Mac for almost 30 years, and in IT supporting Mac at the enterprise level for 20. I've seen the Mac go from islands on their own, to AD integration, and now massive adoption of Jamf. I can't tell you how many jobs I've lost out on because I didn't have either the certs or actual work experience (in Jamf). Last year I came close to paying the $4500 pass fee, but in the end didn't because every job listing wants real world experience. This has been a huge catch-22 for me. Even if I pay for the cert training, how is everyone getting the experience employers are asking for? How is it every Mac tech seems to have Jamf experience? My only guess is they worked somewhere that went Jamf so got the training and experience along with the new deployment, or took the plunge, paid for certs and found a position where that was good enough. I love doing Mac tech support and administration but about to leave the field as I can't compete. Any advice or examples of what everyone else has done would be greatly appreciated.
I don’t have an answer, nor can I directly relate as I was on the team that chose for us and learned from the ground up as to described.
That being said, Jamf is an easily learnable product. I’m guessing you’ve already done the free Jamf 100 course. If not I’d recommend that. Absent of that I can only offer encouragement. If you have 20 years of Mac IT experience, you should have the “building blocks” of a successful deployment. You can build packages, build scripts (both bash and AppleScript), you can wield control of directory services, you can write configuration profiles.
I’m assuming all that of course. Jamf essentially just helps you with each of those processes and adds MDM support and inventory/patching management. It does more than that but that covers most of it.
If I were a hiring manager (which I’m not), Jamf is the trainable part. A brain to understand Apple is not as easy to train without the experience on the ground. If you want to get a taste of Jamf’s product, consider attending JNUC or one of its regional roadshows. Also if you are an independent study sort, here is a link to their entire admin guide:
I do wish you well And feel free to post on this message board. Above all else this message board is dedicated to Mac IT
I can only speak of my own experience, but like you, I had a number of years under my belt managing Macs in small to mid sized environments. I took a new job around 7 years ago now where I was brought in to help a company modernize and streamline their Mac management processes. They had around 200 Macs and were anticipating more on the way. They had no imaging tools, no management tools other than, I think, a copy of ARD floating around somewhere. I was able to start testing some tools, including DeployStudio initially, then (at the time) Casper imaging or Imaging Suite as it was known. From there I got a trial going of full Casper Suite and was able to convince the organization higher ups to purchase it. This gave me the initial experience needed to really learn the product and begin looking at better positions that already used it later on.
So I guess what I'm saying is, if you're really having a hard time finding work in places that already have Jamf Pro, try seeing if a place that does not have it, but could really use it, has job openings. You can start there and see if you can get a place to look at the product or at least let you spin up a trial version from Jamf for testing. That's what I did on that job, and I was able to give a full blown demonstration of why it was the right choice. It sealed the deal, I got the full product in and learned all I could about it, on the job.
Also, I 110% agree with this comment from @blackholemac :
A brain to understand Apple is not as easy to train without the experience on the ground.
Yes, THIS! I could not have said that better. Having actual knowledge of Apple's products, how they work and how to manage them in an enterprise is something that just can't be picked up in a simple course. OTOH, you can learn Jamf Pro from some training courses. Hell, some people only get a JumpStart and hit the ground running after, because in the end, it's just understanding how the product deploys all the stuff you're already intimately familiar with. You already have that foundation, which is critical. You should be able to learn "on the job", so it's unfortunate that some hiring managers don't see it this way. Of course, getting someone in who already knows it is more appealing, but it shouldn't be their only consideration, so I'm sorry you're running into that scenario.
Good luck on the job search.
I'll be that guy here. HR and Hiring Managers have NO idea what our jobs are, nor our available resources...
I'd ask that you not go on the defensive about your (self described "lack" of) experience but take an offensive tactic on your regular exercising your access to available resources (where did you post this question?). JAMF isn't new, but it isn't exactly a standard, and there are competing (but honestly mostly complimentary -- yet absolutely necessary) OSS resources. And even with a solid JSS in place, if you rely only on that you're missing AMAZING community resources and AWESOME complimentary tools. Plus a community the likes of which you may never again encounter elsewhere.
If they are stuck on one part, they are stuck where they are (they'll always be behind the ball), and maybe, that isn't the place you want to be stuck. Hey, you asked. And you asked us. shrug
P.S. macadmins slack: JAMFnation alone has almost 4K users. Just sayin' when I interview, the value of your resources is counted heavily. When you can't solve a problem, WHERE do YOU go to get help? I can make a hiring decision on that question alone.
I was fortunate enough to get hired by a company that had no one who was truly Mac-experienced. I came here with zero Jamf experience but I did read the admin guide for version 8 once. My 20+ years of true Apple experience with their software, hardware, servers (AEFW, ASIP, WGM, etc), the culture, and the company itself as a Mac Genius basically told my employers that if it's mac related, I should be able to get a grasp on it even if I've never seen it before. They hired me and dropped me in front of a Casper system that was setup by Windows people. it took me a while to identify what they did right and what they did wrong, but it was easy enough because I had those 20+ years under my belt. If you go for a job that asks for Jamf experience, elaborate on the experience that you do have and explain that it can all be applied to the position. Knowing concepts is sometimes more important than knowing which button to click.
I wasn't going to add to this again as I feel others can do a better job, but I was glad to hear what @AVmcclint and @mm2270 had to say on the subject. They have about 5 years in this industry on me. I don't know if you have watched Pixar films (I have extensively as I have two rugrats at home.) I'm going to reference the movie Ratatouille.
In the movie, a rat named Remy who was just an anybody rat had a lifelong dream of being a great chef and had a natural talent for cooking. He was inspired by a master human chef named Gusteau. Gusteau wanted to convince folks that "anyone can cook." Well as you watch the movie unfold, Remy learned what Gusteau meant by the comment "anyone can cook." Sure anyone could, but you had to have the more basic talent of doing it well and serving your guests. That's why I wrote my earlier quote on my post to you.
Anyone who has a basic talent for IT can push buttons in a program or push stuff out. The true talent lies in knowing that you serve Apple users and knowing how to do stuff to help them. @robertliebsch put it well when he said:
And even with a solid JSS in place, if you rely only on that you're missing AMAZING community resources and AWESOME complimentary tools. Plus a community the likes of which you may never again encounter elsewhere.
In short, if you have a solid background and passion for working on Apple products and know where to get help when you don't know what it is you need to do, that would mean more than having a session on how to push buttons. Don't get me wrong, Jamf training is wonderful and those guys know how to teach you more than just pushing buttons. They help complete newbie Apple folks try to manage Macs after starting from ground zero. The thing is, those folks are always on a learning curve because they have to learn both at the same time.
Your challenge is to make sure your Apple skills are top notch and position yourself as someone who has a solid plan to help an organization take control of their Apple fleet. Macs/iOS devices are popping up everywhere and many organizations don't know what to do with them other than to reimburse for paid apps and to supply the wifi password to those users. When we got the first iPads in the district in 2011, the only thing I knew is that you could wipe them with iTunes. that knowledge alone made me the "expert" here and forced me to grow into the role I have now in addition to just working on our 200 Macs as a "side task."
If you want a sounding board, feel free to post here on this board. I've been know to post on here saying something to the effect of, "I'm thinking of doing <random task> to our stuff. Is this a good idea and how would you recommend I do it?" I will usually end up with 3-4 suggestions and someone wanting more info from me because they want to go into more depth. I also like that people are not afraid to say, "this is a bad idea and here's why." That helps when you get tunnel vision on a task.
I think the big rebuttal to people asking for specific experience with (for example) JAMF is that all the management platforms are built upon/around the same available tools that Apple allows them to use. Make sure you're familiar with those. IMHO If you're familiar with one, you're basically familiar with all. Apple MDM is, essentially, the same MDM across the board. Sure, people's front ends may look different, but their back end is leveraging same available options. I was also very lucky to turn my love of Apple in to a job as a Genius, and then the job as a Genius into a support position at a large .org (Fortune 50 company) which was just getting their Mac base off the ground. I came in, jamf came in 6 months later. I learned (and am still learning daily)
JSS JAMF Pro as trial by fire and now feel like I'm decent at it. I, too, wish I had some certifications to go behind my name. I know it sounds like torture, but maybe see if you can get a part time job as a Genius at your nearest Apple store. Having Apple on my resume got more attention than I ever would have anticipated, and it's almost always something people want to talk about. That's the key, I think, is getting their attention.
@Macdaddyohbob If you have that much experience in Mac than this shouldn't be that hard. You have way more years of experience than I do, I've been working in IT for maybe 16-17 years. I do not have any Jamf certs which I really do want to get started on that but I got my Jamf experience from a company I was working with and they had predominantly Windows machines, they needed something to manage Mac's and Jamf is the only true tool if you ask me. After convincing the Director of IT of getting this, I implemented it with direction from the SCCM Engineer at that job. He wanted to mirror every GPO "Policy" that he had on his Windows environment to Mac. I already had a very extensive background in UNIX/Linux and this wasn't so hard for me. I had seen Casper when it used to be called Casper a long time ago just briefly. And now I was diving into figuring it all out on my own. With a lot of help from Jamf Nation I was able to do just about anything I needed to do.
Thing is, I got lucky, You have WAY more experience than I do on Macs, if you understand how the systems work for Macs than learning JAMF wont be much of a pain for you. Like @easyedc said :
I think the big rebuttal to people asking for specific experience with (for example) JAMF is that all the management platforms are built upon/around the same available tools that Apple allows them to use. Make sure you're familiar with those. IMHO If you're familiar with one, you're basically familiar with all. Apple MDM is, essentially, the same MDM across the board. Sure, people's front ends may look different, but their back end is leveraging same available options.
It's all the same, you can do it my friend, don't lose faith, you just gotta find the right opportunity.
OMG thank you everyone. In this day and age you expect when you put yourself out there to get backlash and the haters. It again reminds me how special this place is. Every response has been uplifting and given me hope. Next year will be one of those milestone birthdays and I'm going through a lot personally and professionally. As I write this I'm waiting to hear if I'll interview for a great Mac job (that doesn't mention JAMF) in town and will probably be a pivot in my life. I will take every word to heart and keep moving forward. Thank you!
As an MSP - and new to Jamf - my take is probably a bit different. I would say don't get so caught up in the tools. Tools evolve. Tools come and go. It's not that they're unimportant, but the tools are simply tools. More important (IMO) is to understand the processes that those tools implement and enforce for you. Because when it comes down to it, there are lots of ways to do most anything and lots of tools to help you do it. But if you don't have a sense of what's possible and what you're trying to accomplish, then no tool will help you. I've found that after a base of experience, most any problem can be resolved if you're willing to throw enough giveadamns at it. The tools just help you get there faster/better. But the processes drive the tools, not the other way around. Focus on the problems that need solving and the tools will sort themselves out.
While I may only be there for an hour, I'm planning to be at the event on Thursday. Feel free to chat me up.
As @TheBeastie says, a bit of contract work through a consulting or pickup support type business is a pretty good way to get exposure to a whole raft of technologies real fast. I did this more out of expediency than design when I first returned from my OE as it's a great way to keep money coming in while looking for the job you want.