So what does a network engineer do, anyway? I’m glad you asked. Even if you didn’t. A network engineer…
- Makes sure people can connect to their stuff.
- Makes sure people can connect to their stuff fast.
- Explains repeatedly how the network isn’t slow, but applications, storage, servers, internet service providers, local firewalls, thrashing memory, malware infested workstations, coffee spilled onto keyboards, and games loaded on your business laptop for your children can make the network *seem* slow.
- Makes sure people can connect to their stuff even when part of the network is broken.
- Troubleshoots stupid redundancy protocols when they don’t work right.
- Upgrades equipment so the buggy redundancy protocols work.
- Opens support cases with vendors about the bugs. All the bugs. All the time, bugs. Bugs and bugs and bugs. Buggy bug bugs. AHHH!
- Takes anti-stress medication. You know…because of the bugs.
- Knows within 30 seconds of speaking to tech support whether or not to request escalation.
- Works with end-users pretty much never, because they plug hubs into themselves and stuff. Who has time for that nonsense?
- Troubleshoots a connectivity failure using e-mail, several command line screens, remote desktop, wireshark, multiple firewalls, real-time log tails, tcpdump, and several IM windows, all while coordinating the conference call with everybody who’s anybody on it. And probably from their house.
- Suggests to the sysadmins what to check in their configs, because they had that job already.
- Reads release notes and wonders via impromptu instant message to fellow engineers, “What were they THINKING?!?”
- Seriously considers buying for his house the 6509 he saw on eBay for cheap. It has dual Sup720s after all. And it would reduce the heating bill.
And oh, there’s so much more to add to this list. Feel free…