Raising the bar

Graduates looking for a career in networking and IT are facing increasingly tough entrance criteria according to Indranil Guha, head of the Network Services Unit at the Dubai Municipality IT department. He says that his company and other employers are looking for employees that fit a wider profile than was expected a few years ago.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  June 27, 2005

|~|Guha_Indranil_m.jpg|~|“Clear understanding of production networks and skills in documentation are also required, as is the ability to understand and follow change-control and risk-assessment procedures.” - Indranil Guha, head of the Network Services Unit at the Dubai Municipality IT department.|~|In response to changes in the enterprise, we are looking for a new breed of networking professional to take our business into tomorrow. We, like many other enterprises in the region, are looking at operating costs and return on investment (ROI) more closely than ever before. It is increasingly becoming more cost effective to out-task components of the networking job, particularly those in the implement, operate and maintain areas. It is also possible to get junior engineers or network technicians to take care of these tasks. Junior staff carry out these tasks cheaper and often, in a more efficient manner, and allow senior network staff to work on management and control to ensure high standards of service delivery. Today’s enterprise network is also becoming more sophisticated. It tends to be multi-service capable with data, voice and video traffic enabled. Proactive security, multicasting capability and end-to-end quality of service (QoS) are rapidly becoming a necessity rather than the luxury they were a few years ago. Networks with these features have to be available and perform well, with network operations centre (NOC) services often required to achieve these objectives. It is clear that connectivity (the ability to ping from A to B) is not the requirement anymore. This level of competence is taken for granted. In addition, security of the network is of paramount importance. Some leading enterprises like ours are looking at network admission control (NAC) by implementing 802.1x standards in the network, which ensures only authorised and valid clients are allowed to access the production network. In the face of these changes, we are increasingly looking for prospective network professionals who understand and can handle all aspects of the job. I categorise networking job content according to the flow chart opposite and we want employees that are comfortable in each area. It is very important for them to understand the business side of the story and they must be able to differentiate business critical applications from other less critical applications. Hence, the profiles we are seeking encompass competence associated with network consultants, network architects and even senior network engineers. We look at a number of key criteria when we are trying to fill networking vacancies these days. As well as a sound knowledge of networking technologies, specialisation in multiservices, network management and security competence is desirable and often mandatory. We also look for the ability to design networks that are scalable and highly-available based on these changing business requirements. Clear understanding of production networks and skills in documentation are also required, as is the ability to understand and follow change-control and risk-assessment procedures. Last but not the least, interpersonal skills are vital. Changing circumstances mean that the network professionals we employ will have to be much more than technical aces.||**||

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