One thing that I honestly dislike about being a network engineer is the fear that there would be something new about IT Networking waiting to greet me in the mailbox, next morning.
Well, technology changes, network upgrades, rising cybersecurity threats, limited resources, time limitations, and more can make our lives – hell! Here, you might be addressing one issue, one aspect of the network in your organization, and something else gets invented. That constant endeavor to keep up is the least to say – overwhelming.
One needs to be so very focused and serious to ensure that the network is working optimally. So, how can all of this be fun and enjoyable, most of all, easy and straightforward? Let’s talk about ten secrets that can make things simpler for you and others in the Networking team.
1. I may sound boring but believe me, you need to invest in continuous learning
This is a serious one but yes, an important one too. As a network engineer, you get hard escalations & outages that stay with you for quite a while. Take such situations as an opportunity to learn from and even to get trained on. This will add to your candidature and also will make you the favorite one around.
2. Team bonding is the magic concoction
A lot of your work is about teamwork, so one of your top priorities should be to gel well with the team. The workplace can be so much more fun and enjoyable if you have a sound working relationship within the networking team.
3. Digitize and automate, not only in your mind but in the workplace too
Being an IT professional, you need to come out of the paper mindset and move into the digital mindset fast. Initiate digital filing – this way, data capture will happen optimally, and the chances of losing data will get reduced while making the entire team’s work easy and straightforward. You can use tools like Microsoft SharePoint, Mfiles, Rubex by eFileCabinet, etc. Google it, and compare the features. I have used SharePoint for its sharing feature and the convenience it offers. Like it completely.
Also, try your hands on simulations to design your networks. Tools like Cisco Packet Tracer V7.0 and SecureCRT are lifesavers. I used to create networks on Cisco Packet Tracer, and you are going to love it. From picking the router model of your choice to making connections with the cables, you can play and experiment with the self-made network design. It’s fun to use that.
4. Protect the network or get ready to work non-stop for days
Since power outages and spikes can make your life hell, the ideal thing to do is to ask the company to invest in solutions that come with power protection. This way, the untimely calls at the most inappropriate moments will get reduced to a great extent.
5. You are not a networking person if you have not done anything about network security
One of the first things that you need to do is to ensure network protection. A lot, almost 90% of your headache and stress will pop out of the window automatically. Have fun, smile, catch up with the team but first, make sure that your enterprise’s data and network are thoroughly well protected, and you have the protocols in place for that.
6. Relax a bit, not when the network is down but once you get it back up
I know situations like layer 2 network outages when nothing in the world seems to be important, breathe. Think of yourself as the person who you think can fix it and feel like him. That small roleplay can trigger the ideas in your mind, and there you go. And then relax and chill. It does work. Trust me on that; as for me, I used to take a quick nap at times right after that, and it just freshens you up so much to get through the rest of the day.
7. Go out of your way to offer tech support to someone you like
This is fun. You like someone and want to impress him or her? Declare that you are a Network Engineer. See the smile on the face when you offer free support and professional advice. Network and IT being two complicated areas for a normal human being, you are going to get into the good books of the person instantly!
8. Read and keep yourself updated
Hit that monotony hard and pick some related book or blog, or magazine that can give you hacks, tips, or solutions that can prove to be real saviors at work. To enhance my knowledgebase, here are a few I read and liked instantly.
- IP routing Fundamental by Mark Sportack
- Computer Networking: A top-down approach (6th Edition) by Kurose and Ross
- TCP/IP network administration by Craig Hunt
- TCP/IP illustrated (2 Volumes) by Richard Stevens
- The Network Warrior by Gary A. Donahue
IT networking is a task that becomes quite a routine most of the time. This tip will lit up your mind in moments like that.
9. Share the issues you face with your best buddy
It might sound like a bit much but sharing your views, anxiety, or outlook for any work situation with your friends gives you a new perspective at times. If there was an escalation call you received and it is still sticking to your head, then vent it out. Sharing it with your buddies might give you another way to handle or cope with the issue.
10. Writing down the technical issue in that secret diary of yours
A real bad call, an unexpected outage, a protocol at the IT desk that backfired, write down all of that. Write the situation you faced and mention how you got the solution to it or how it was solved. This diary entry can be your go-to spot for quite some time.
I hope the tips shared here will help you a great deal next time you are at your workstation. Keep checking the spot for more.
Till then. Happy Networking!