Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab
Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab

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9.2 The role of a network professional

Finally in this session you will find out more about the roles of networking professionals. In the following videos you’ll hear from three networking professionals currently working in the industry for large or small companies:

  • Jason, who works for a computer networking company, designing and installing networks
  • Laura, who works for an e-discovery house, identifying and collecting data for legal proceedings
  • Toby, who is Head of Applications at a large accountancy and business advisory firm.

They each talk about their role, what it involves and how they got into networking and IT.

Watch the video below, which is about 2.5 minutes long.

Early career interests

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Activity 4 Think about

5 minutes

  • 1. What contribution did the interviewees’ study at school make to their choice of career as a network or IT professional?

  • The interviewees’ school studies did not inspire them to get involved with networking. Two of the speakers had other career plans, and one said that IT lessons were boring.

  • 2. What/who encouraged the interviewees to embark on a career in networking?

  • Generally, their interest was captured by their college studies. In particular, the ‘hands-on’ element of networking and IT appealed to them, as did the links to everyday life and work. They were also inspired and encouraged by their college and university lecturers.

Now watch the video below, which is a little under 3 minutes long.

Your role

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Activity 5 Think about

5 minutes

  • 1. What surprised you most about what is involved in being a networking professional?

  • Perhaps you were surprised when Jason mentioned that he had recently travelled to Spain as part of his work? Or when Laura said that her work involved preparing for legal proceedings? Or when Toby said that much of his job was people-related?

  • 2. All three interviewees identified aspects of their jobs that they particularly liked and that gave them a sense of achievement. What were some of these?

  • Variety (‘no two days are the same’); problem solving and sorting things out; achieving things ‘above their ‘pay grade’.

Activity 6 Think about

10 minutes

Below are links to three websites that provide information about careers as a network professional. Pick any two of these links and spend no more than five minutes looking at each one. Jot down a few notes on the kind of work a network engineer does, and routes into a networking career.


Depending on which of the websites you visited, you will have seen that a network engineer can be involved in the following aspects of computer and communications networks:

  • Planning; design; analysis; installation; development; maintenance; repair, troubleshooting; administration; management.

The sites identified the following entry routes:

  • University (entry at A level): Foundation Degree, Higher National Diploma, Bachelor Degree or Masters
  • College (entry at A level or Diploma): Professional Certificates and Diplomas
  • Apprenticeship (entry at GCSE or A level): Professional Certificates and Diplomas
  • Work experience (for example, from IT helpdesk or entry level IT support): Professional Certificates and Diplomas.

All the sites identified recognised technical training courses, for example:

  • Cisco Certification Program
  • Comp TIA Certification
  • Jupiter Network Certification Program
  • Microsoft Certification.

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