If you think of a company's computer network as arteries that keep business flowing, imagine what could happen if those arteries got clogged -- business would stop. In today's fast-paced world, companies can't afford downtime to address network problems. Network operations specialists keep an eye on the flow of information through the network and take action when problems are detected.
Network operations specialists use special computer applications to monitor how efficiently a network is working. They watch their equipment for trends and changes that indicate trouble and notify management or engineering team members when problems occur. Specialists also perform network maintenance, update network documentation design standards and help project teams implement new services.
When network specialists receive an alert from their monitoring equipment that a problem has been detected, they log the event and initiate the troubleshooting process. Problems they can't fix right away must be escalated to senior engineers. The specialists are also responsible for communicating network status updates, like reporting slow performance issues.
Requirements and Skills
Network operations centers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means network operations specialists might have to work non-standard shifts. They must be able to multitask and prioritize their work appropriately, responding to network problems without delay. As a first line of defense for trouble, they must have good communication skills to keep their colleagues informed of concerns to look out for, problems that have occurred and solutions that have been attempted. Good writing and organization skills will help fulfill their network documentation requirements.
Education and Compensation
If you're interested in becoming a network operation's specialist, you should have at least an associate's degree in information technology. Network operations specialists must have foundational knowledge of local and wide area networks, including wireless technologies, and understand network protocols, including TCP/IP, DNS, Ethernet, MPLS and BGP. Hiring companies might require candidates to obtain network certification, such as the certified Cisco network associate. Also be prepared to keep your training updated regularly due to the speedy evolution of technology.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.