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TOPIC: What makes a good Network Engineer ?

What makes a good Network Engineer ? 10 years 9 months ago #13315

  • Starfire
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I have an I.T. background approaching 15 years ranging from helpdesk, PC Support, networking but mostly MS/Novell server support. With the current salaries for these roles dropping fast lately (i've seen as low as £6 / 10 euros per hour) , I am studying CCNA as a first step to moving into network support. (also after all these years, it's one of the few remaining interesting parts of i.t support).

That said, I am wondering what qualities existing Network Support Firewall.cx readers think makes up a good/great network engineer?

I'm sure it cannot all be about any particular qualification so what knowledge, experience, personal abilities seperate the wheat from the chaff?
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Re: What makes a good Network Engineer ? 10 years 9 months ago #13319

  • d_jabsd
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First and foremost- Passion. You have to love it to do well at it. If you don't love it, don't bother. The dotcom era is over and the pay scale is no longer high enough to 'learn it so you can make big cash.'

- A drive to continuously learn new and old technologies and the ability to look outside the box to find better ways of doing things and then actually do it. Knowledge is nothing if you can't apply it.

- A good understanding of network protocols and how services and systems interact with each other and the user. As a simple example: An engineer at my last job thought the directory index page generated by Apache was ftp- just because it listed directories. His lack of understanding filtered down to even the most basic tasks. Needless to say, he was horrible at his job so I was the one who designed his solutions and fixed his problems.

- CCNA is a good start, but won't really help you unless you continue and get the CCNP|CCSP|CCDP. With 15 years of experience, you probably already know most of what is required for CCNA. It is very general and focuses on protocols and basic network technologies. Very little is hands on. The CCNP cert requires access to devices if you want to do well and gets much deaper into routing, switching, etc.

- Intuition and good troubleshooting skills. You have to be able to quickly asses the situation and solve the problem or work around it.

At the end of the day, you really have to live it... its not just a job... its what you do -your employer may change, but the mentality won't.
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Re: What makes a good Network Engineer ? 10 years 9 months ago #13349

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Thanks again for the response d_jabsd,

I am going to pin that on my board for whenever my studies get tricky as a little inspirational booster.
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Re: What makes a good Network Engineer ? 10 years 9 months ago #13409

  • TheBishop
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d_jabsd has given an excellent response to this. The little I can add is as follows:
Attention to detail - A good NE will want to know what connects to where, how, what the config is, what the IP addresses are, where the keys to open the cabinet door are etc. etc. Whenever I've started into a new environment I've made my first task an audit and produced basically my own documentation. This seems totally obsessive to others but when the whole enterprise first goes down and you instantly have all those facts to hand - because you took the time and trouble to ask the questions that others didn't see the importance of - they'll change their views of you.
Allied to this is keeping good records - whenever anything changes you'll be updating your info.
Third and last is pragmatism and a thick skin - I can't count the number of times the wailing cry has risen "Its a Network Problem..." when actually it has been a poorly configured OS or some lousy bit of inefficient SQL. Problem is that it's taken me hours of investigation to prove it. After you've experienced this a few times, you'll develop monitoring tools so you can quickly PROVE that it's not a network problem and can get on with your life while others get their house in order
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Re: What makes a good Network Engineer ? 10 years 9 months ago #13414

  • jwj
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Ha, good point on databases. Any time I hear someone complaining about their home cooked Access db with "connectivity" issues, I go into troubleshooting it with a good bit of skepticism.
-Jeremy-
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Re: What makes a good Network Engineer ? 10 years 8 months ago #13480

  • johnnymac
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Hi,

Re: CCNA,

I disagree about the CCNA not being so hands on. I think it depends where you do it. I've been studying it at a local college for the last year. In addition to the labs included in the online course work there is a physical lab where we are able to set up test networks with switches routers servers etc. So far i would say it's been 70-30 % in favour of the hands on stuff. My point being whether it's CCNA or CCNP a good college with a lab is worth it's weight in gold.

Kind Regards
J Mac
Kind Regards
J Mac
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