Many of us did not choose the Network IT Professional field, it chose us. I joke but many of us simply wanted our games to work. It was 1990 and the PC game was missing audio and it was also short on RAM. I learned how to install and configure a Sound Blaster audio card, adjust the conventional memory, and later add more memory.
Passion = Curiosity + Grit
This is an important equation. Many people quit (including myself) pursuing something because we somehow failed to acquire the foundational knowledge necessary to pursue their class, hobby, or career.
Network IT Professional Foundational Knowledge
It’s hard to build a house without strong and stable foundation. The same can be said about any hobby or career you wish to pursue. Here was my timeline for building more knowledge in the Network IT Professional scene.
1991 – Broke my dad’s computer because I decided to goof around with some toggles on the back of the video card. It was all downhill from there.
1994 – I joined a computer architecture class at my high school. We repaired computers and provided basic help desk support to students and faculty.
1996 – Obtained my first Network IT Professional position for student loan collections firm. I believe the title was Junior System Administrator. It was a glorified help desk position based on the skills I obtained troubleshooting things in high school.
1999 – Acquired a new position as a Remote Access Specialist. I was able to get this position because I goofed around a lot trying to get my dial modem to communicate with a friend’s dialup modem across town. During this period, many corporations had their employees dial into the company network.
The Most Important Experience doesn’t always come from work or school
The introduction to becoming a Network IT Professional and advancement weren’t in a classroom. It’s my curiosity for resolving a technical roadblock and grit to not quit until the problem was resolved. I could not play across town unless I learn about modems and network communication protocols. I could not get the next job had I stopped growing or waited until the information was spoon fed to me. I went to vocational schooling only after I exhausted my ability to learn on my own or at work; and I knew exactly what class to pursue once I got there.
Build Your Passion
Building your very own PC is still important for seeing if this line work resonates with you. It’s imperative to take that passion to the next step by building your own file server, application server, and web server for serving up your own personal content. Whether it be personal, work, or school related data. Post that data on there. It will now be up to you to not only make the content be easily accessible for you to access but it’s now up to you to secure and back it up from would be bad actors and other types of disaster.
What are my resources?
The people you surround yourself with. Hopefully, you are making an effort to surround yourself with smart individuals who never get complacent. As for resources on the internet, Reddit for one is the ultimate resource for posting questions and getting really valuable answers back. Reddit will most likely tell you to get a Synology NAS for building your own file server, application server, and web server.
What’s a Synology?
It’s a toaster shaped networking device. The standard starter version is the DiskStation with two bays for two hard drives. The two hard drives create the redundant data necessary for retaining information without the system failing but there are more budget friendly options. The Synology DiskStation Manager or DSM is a user friendly GUI running on Linux. You can install application packages related to the services discussed already once you have setup the basics.
Knowing the Technology is half the Battle
Network IT Professionals may start out on the front lines for delivering help desk support to an organization. But questions should begin to arise once the Network IT professional understand how a peripheral or application interacts with the employee on a daily basis. Asking the right questions for troubleshooting the individuals does not come naturally. The more you know a product, the better the line of questioning begins to take hold. Creating introductory documentation in a documentation system will take your knowledge of the product to the next level.
Communication is King
As discussed, compiling GOOD documentation is next level skill that should be developed early in your career to not only score points with your colleagues but also enhance your own tech know-how. I use my blog and documentation system to not only communicate the needs to a customer but build off my own foundational knowledge.
The Ticketing System
Your career will be cut short if you are unable to inquire with the client about the basic issues they are having whether it be a computer or new a project they want done. Much of this is tracked now through a ticketing system. You must be able reflect on what you just accomplished “I performed x, y, and z steps” but also be forward thinking with your intentions for the next steps in troubleshooting “scheduling another call after I discuss with someone” or “waiting for x to download, then proceed with y”
How to be a Network IT Professional in the San Diego tech scene Summary
Reaching the level of a really good network IT professional takes years of practice and developing great habits. Incorporate many of the skills above and you can fast track your way to success.