Throughout my career I have enjoyed learning many different technologies such as Active Directory, Exchange, PowerShell and Linux. I would not say I am an “expert” in any of these areas but I do have a good amount of experience using them. I enjoy working with and learning new things. Depending on the size of the IT team you work on, you may be an Exchange guy, a Windows guy or just a systems guy. Hell, you may be the entire IT. Size in an organization usually dictates what your role is and how far a reach you have in terms of technology. I have always had a problem with this. I have had many recruiters contact me to be a lead for things like Sharepoint or Active Directory. I have never been interested in those positions. Having to perform day-to-day duties that focus on one particular technology is boring as hell to me. Which is why I have enjoyed working at smaller organizations that allow me to work in many different facets of IT.
Now this isn’t to say there is no benefit in understanding and using Active Directory in depth. If you spend five years dealing mostly in AD every day, you will likely become a real expert in it. Organizations like experts that they can depend on. You will have market value for sure and make good money. Although, what happens when Active Directory starts to fade away and is not used in the enterprise anymore? (Hint, hint) You need to learn something else and become an expert in it fast if you want to find a job that pays a similar wage. That is no small feat if you think about it. It is safe to say there really is no one technology that will not become outdated, and AD is no exception.
More and more organizations want people who can do a lot of different things. Go search for jobs in DevOps. They don’t want a Linux or Windows expert. They want people who is at least are proficient in both, because they have applications that use both. If you are a Windows IT pro, you NEED to learn Linux if you want to do DevOps. Not like next year or in five years. Now. You simply will not get jobs in DevOps if you do not have experience in Linux. The vast majority of tools for DevOps are Linux-based.
I suppose the message I am sending is, do not tie yourself to one technology and think it will sustain your IT career. It won’t. Keep learning new things. Stay current in terms of what technology is being used and where it is going. Try to work in organizations that will allow you to learn in different areas. Try increasing the breadth of your knowledge so that you do not become pigeonholed.