So. I am not happy with my job. I'm happier than I've ever been with a job, with my current job, but as far as "working in IT" I am not happy with the job.
I spin a screw driver all day. Specifically an ifixit screwdriver. I can break down and rebuild a Dell Chromebook 11 G1 in about 15 minutes (that includes the time it takes me to get replacement parts from the parts desk). While it is an amazing job (to me) because it's the first job I've ever had where I don't interact with customers in any way shape or form, other than "behaving because a customer is taking a tour of the facility". The job isn't technical enough, and it doesn't pay enough (as if any job ever does right?).
So, I'm looking at how to further my education and move up in the IT world. I currently hold an Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems for Network Security degree, from ECPI. I would tell you that I feel like that degree means that "I know enough to intelligently say that I don't know a fucking thing". I know more than the average user, but compared to most of you I am probably still an average user. Although I am trying to heed the advice of Eli The Computer Guy, specifically "IT is such an enormous field, no one can ever know everything about it. You have to pick where you want to work, and the associated skills for that niche"
I was recently talking to a person who works in our "special projects" division. I have no idea what they do, other than being told they do "everything". I know they all have a few certifications under their belts, and are for lack of a better term, "power nerds". I described to this person, where I wanted to be in the IT world. Which is
"Working in a room full of servers, keeping them running, not interacting with customers directly, making a good amount of money"
He suggested mainframe work, and told me to look into the IBM z/OS systems specifically. I did a cursory google search on the subject, and found an article saying that mainframe personnel are going to be in high demand, as people are going to start retiring soon and most of the IT crowd are ignoring this niche, meaning anyone who does go into it, is going to probably get paid very well.
During my cursory search, I read that I should learn programming languages like Cobol and Assembler, but I'm also seeing that IBM has set up a number of rather expensive courses themselves, that don't appear to come with a degree or a certification, so I'm not sure how "worthwhile" they are.
Basically, I'm asking for a general opinion. I want something that pays well, and has decent "job security". I also want a clear plan of action of how to get into said job position/niche. I'm unsure as to whether or not I should take classes in Cobol and Assembler first, or take the IBM z/OS environment classes first. I've had classes in Linux, Windows Server 2012, C (including precursory classes in pseudo code and what not), Cisco terminal stuff (terminals for network hardware) etc. I know about enough to work on at a tier 1 help desk level (the first level of people you get when you call tech support, basic information, but still more than the average user)
Any and all advice and opinions welcome. I would greatly appreciate @wendell's thoughts on the mainframe niche of the enterprise world, however I realize he is a busy man. I did think maybe it would be cool of him to do a video on the Tek Enterprise channel, along the lines of "how to get into the enterprise world" etc.
Seriously, any and all advice, opinions, shared experiences welcome.
Edit: This is the article I read http://www.infoworld.com/article/2618174/it-training/it-s-most-wanted--mainframe-programmers.html if anyone is interested. It is old mind you.