Bringing the network out of the darkness

Once upon a time, I had to interview with the new HR director after the company I was working for was acquired. The new management had a much better, process driven approach to HR and employee development which included a clear job description of what each and every employee did. You can imagine how this conversation went…

me I’m the network administrator,

her Ok, but what do you do?

me make sure that the dynamic routing protocols are working. Ensure our qos policies are working properly,etc.. I’m also currently working on an active directory migration from our current nt4 environment,

her …… I don’t understand a thing you just said.

me hmmm… Let me put it like this. If I do my job well, then no one knows I exist. If I don’t do my job, no one else can do there’s.

her wow. So you’re pretty important then?

me definitely. Can I have a raise?

You can imagine how the rest of that conversation went. But hey, to paraphrase Dinero in A Bronx Tale ” What are you gonna do? He took a shot! Nice try, son”

So it got me thinking? What can we, as a profession, do to raise the profile of the networking engineer. We are happy to be in back rooms, hiding in the cold noisy data centers but hiding is not going to get us any more budget in the next round of funding.

This is a major issue as, for many organizations, the network is an afterthought at best. How many of us can relate to the story of a server guy coming to us with a request for a few dozen 10Gb ports to plug in their brand new servers that were purchased using grant money in an EDU? Except the money was spent on servers and there’s nothing left over for the network portion and there are no 10Gb ports available in the network.

Anyone have any ideas or creative ways that you’ve been able to highlite the importance of the network to the business?

Looking forward to reading your ideas!



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