Advice for Networking Graduates

11/06/15

Recently I interviewed Sluv Yerusalimsky, Director/Co-Founder at Ace InfoTech, asking for his advice to IT graduates looking to start a career in the field of Networking. 

Sluv completed a Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems at Monash University and has 12 years of experience within the industry; including 7 years as a Systems Engineer in a corporate environment and 5 years operating Ace InfoTech. 

Ace InfoTech is a Managed Services provider that delivers business solutions for Network Management, Network Security, Backup and Disaster Recovery and Outsourced Helpdesk services.

Based on his experience, here is Sluv’s advice relating to common Networking positions, what experience graduates should gain and top tips for Networking graduates:

What are the most common Networking positions and what are the key responsibilities?

There are many different titles within our industry – 3 of the most common ones are:

Network Technician/Field Technician is an entry level position. Responsibilities of this role include:

Being the first point of contact for technical support

  • Focussing on troubleshooting and repairing specific hardware and software products
  • Majority of work is on user desktops and entry level networking equipment
  • They are referred to as field technicians due to the likelihood of frequent travel and onsite user support

Network Engineer/Systems Engineer is one of the most common and popular positions in our industry. The job description is quite broad and every employer will have slight variations to the role. Common responsibilities of this role include

  • Implementing, maintaining and supporting communication network within an organisation
  • Increasing the integrity of network infrastructure in order to provide maximum performance for users
  • Daily activities often include monitoring network performance, troubleshooting problems, maintaining network security and performing system upgrades
  • Configuring routing and switching equipment
  • Basic configuration of firewalls and IP voice services

Network Administrator is a position which differs somewhat from the one above. However, it does have a stronger focus on the day-to-day management of networks. Responsibilities of this role include:

  • Designing and implementing new solutions that increase network security and user performance
  • Securing network system by establishing and enforcing user policies based on organisational requirements
  • Defining user access and monitoring network activity
  • Working closely with management and key stakeholders to determine resource requirements, IT budget and personnel required to carry out field work.

What position and experience should a graduate start with when looking to establish a career in the Networking field?

Majority of employers, including myself, will always look favourably upon candidates with industry experience over postgraduate certification. That is why a full-time internship during or straight after a University degree is a major advantage for any graduate looking to land their first job.
An internship may not pay or pay well initially and the work may turn out to be relatively dull or repetitive, however, the hands-on experience and true exposure to a real working environment is invaluable.

Whilst it is tempting to apply for positions that pay well and have a fancy title, it is imperative to gain experience from the ground up. Graduates need to build the foundation in their skill set before attempting senior roles.

Since Networking is such a broad field, starting as a Network Technician can provide graduates with exposure to many different technologies. This exposure will then assist with choosing a direction to pursue and develop in.

Share with us your top 3 tips for Networking graduates

  • Don’t get caught up in the false belief that more certifications will provide you with an advantage over someone with an internship experience.
  • Find a field that you are truly passionate about and continuously develop your skill set through ongoing learning and industry certifications.
  • Make sure to attend Graduate Career Fairs. They are a great way to meet recruiters and speak to employers about what expectations they have of graduates

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