Fresh out of college, my first full-time job was with a small company in New Jersey named Dialogic. In those days they were the industry's leading manufacturer of computer telphone components, including voice, fax, data, voice recognition, and call center hardware.
Since I came into the position with Unix experience but very little systems adminsitration experience, I basically learned on the job. By the time I left the company three years later I was managing both the network and Unix systems for both the engineering lab and desktops. It also exposed me to the joys of intercontenental networking, as I was responsible for the connectivity between the office in New Jersey and New Zealand -- in the days before the Internet. In those days it required either a pair of really expensive modems, or something like X.25.
I also did a bit of coding while at Dialogic, as the developer of all of the install scripts, the device configuration utilities, and as the maintainer of the user interface for the test harness.