Career Story: Senior Network Analyst

Senior Network Analyst

Job Title: Senior Network Analyst

Education: BA in Communications, Western Connecticut State University

Previous Experience: All of my networking experience has been on the job as I have worked for this organization for approximately 16 years

Job Tasks: Supporting the global voice and data network for a fortune 500 company is a challenging task. My department consists of a team of six analysts, one intern and one manager supporting the wide area network connections for approximately 100 remote sites, as well as hundreds of individual remote clients. With the convergence of voice and data technologies, we achieve economy of scale wherever possible utilizing voice over IP to reduce our telecom infrastructure and deploy quality of service to ensure proper data prioritization so voice and video quality does not suffer.

My individual background is atypical for a network analyst as I started my corporate career as a graphic designer and was fortunate enough to impress the IT Director with my knowledge of computer and video systems. When my design services were no longer required, I moved over to IT, skipping the typical entry level help desk job and concentrating on videoconferencing deployment, upgrades, and maintenance.

I have participated in the Company's evolution from dedicated connections to frame relay and ATM technology to our present backbone of virtual private networks utilizing tier 1 Internet Service Provider links. Standardization of networking equipment across all remote offices globally has been invaluable for the ease of implementation and ongoing management of the network.

A typical day consists of troubleshooting performance issues, rectifying outages, meeting with internal clients to satisfy their new and ongoing business requirements, assigning or working on projects, and administrating network monitoring systems. It is better to operate in a proactive than reactive manner and proper monitoring is essential to track thresholds and trends which may be leading toward future problems.

I work closely with carriers on circuit installations, disconnects, and upgrades. I am the primary point of contact for all of North America and most of South America for office moves and projects. Some examples of the projects I have spearheaded include global standardization of software on routers, switches, firewalls, and wireless access points. I've performed most of the end of life hardware upgrades. Typically I will receive the hardware locally and preconfigure the device(s) prior to shipping to a remote office. Occasionally, this is not possible due to import restrictions and the ability to talk someone through the process requires that I assume nothing and carefully walk my counterpart through the necessary steps without imposing a condecending attitude. Diplomacy is a must working for a global organization.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the variety of challenges which present themselves. It is difficult to become bored when your day is full of variety.

The worst part of the job is the occasional intensity I feel when too many problems occur concurrently. The ability to prioritize is essential.

Job Tips:
1. The best college course I took which I have applied to my career was a course in Logic. My working knowledge that I apply on a daily basis is that which I've learned from doing -- not from reading about it. Logic has offered me the ability to think of analogies other than networking which provide me the ability to accurately describe a process to my customers - the other employess of the organization I serve.

2. Certification in any area of computers and networking is beneficial, provided that it is current.

3. Flexibility can prove to be a major asset when working with a global organization. I am much better prepared to work with Hong Kong at 1 AM my time when it is scheduled than when I am surprised by it. After years of working with the same remote offices, we share a mutual respect for each other's personal time and everyone benefits from a give and take when it comes to working across different time zones.

Additional Thoughts: It has been my experience that some networking staff tend to hold dearly to their "intellectual property" and not share with others in the group as they believe this promotes their own job security. I, on the other hand, am happy to share whatever knowledge and insight I have with other staff members as I believe an informed team is much better equipped than an island of survivalists.

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