Network engineers design, build and maintain computer networks that organizations need to do business and to communicate within and outside the organization. Networks can range from a simple system one engineer can handle alone to a complex system of LANs, WANs, intranets and extranets that takes a team of engineers to administer.
Although every day of a network engineer’s life at work is different, here is a quick snapshot of a day in the working life of a network engineer, highlighting some of the common things they may experience.
Although some network engineers may work different hours, many have a roughly 9 to 5 workday. There are good reasons for this—part of a network engineer’s job is to meet with leadership and other staff, so it helps to work similar hours to them.
You get to the office, check your email to see if any problems developed overnight with the network, then check the reports of the previous day’s network performance. Everything seems to be looking fine, so you move on to setting up updates that will run tonight while the network isn’t being actively used.
An email comes in from one of the department heads with a request to train the department on how to do particular tasks on the network. You respond with a few dates and times that will work for you and jot down a few notes that will help you prepare a training before that time comes. You also send an email to one of your technicians delegating some of the training to them, as defined in your job description.
You meet with your team of technicians and administrators to discuss an upgrade to the network to increase its capacity and capabilities. You leave the meeting with a tentative proposal to present later in the week to upper management.
With a job that involves a lot of sitting, you eat a quick lunch and spend the rest of your break taking a walk outside. The break does your mind good, and you know you will be able to think more clearly all afternoon.
A problem developed while you were on your lunch break, and a piece of equipment that helps run the network is malfunctioning. Your team begins troubleshooting to find the source of the problem, which takes a while because of the size of the network. You reschedule a training session with some new employees on how to use the network until the problem is resolved.
You finally find a fix to the problem in the network, and you implement the solution and begin running tests to make sure the fix doesn’t cause any other problems. Although this time the problem was discovered and fixed within normal working hours, if a serious problem had developed during off hours, you may have had to stay late to resolve it.
The tests show a minor issue caused by the previous fix, but it can wait until tomorrow when you will have to create some new code to resolve the situation. You check your email again to make sure nothing needs your attention before tomorrow and head out for the day around 5 p.m. The update scheduled for tonight is postponed because you need to run tests and make sure everything is working before you update the system.
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