Career as a Network manager
Faye Ross works in IT Network Support. She has to ensure people in the organisation always have a reliable computer service in order to communicate with each other and the outside world.
Can you describe your career as a Network manager?
My role involves the day-to-day management of the IT network, ensuring the computers and servers are always accessible, and that users' computers can communicate with the servers and the internet.
What are your main responsibilities?
My main responsibilities are to design, install and administer local area networks – the linked computers and servers run by an organisation – and internet access. I also provide help for users who are having problems with their computers.
Security is a vital part of the job, so I have to ensure that the system is safe from unauthorised users and hackers. It's also my job to make sure we have back-ups of data in case there are any problems and files need to be restored.
What is your daily routine as a Network manager?
I always start the day by checking the network log files to ensure that no one has gained access to the system without permission. I do a fair bit of troubleshooting, solving problems with access to the internet, and dealing with password problems, for example. I also try to spend at least some of the day developing projects to improve the company's IT security and stability.
What hours do you work?
I'm contracted to work 9am to 5.30pm, from Monday to Friday, but I'm on call in case the system fails, so I occasionally have to work in the evenings and at weekends.
What is your working environment like?
I work in an office, but the main servers and networking equipment are situated in a small room in another part of the building. I make regular trips to our language schools and to our summer language centres around the country.
Who do you work with?
I am the only person who deals with IT in our company, so I work with a wide range of people. I provide support for everyone from employees to customers.
What skills are needed for career as a Network manager?
You need to have a common-sense approach to problems. You also need to be able to stay calm in stressful situations. You must be prepared to get dirty occasionally – in a small company, you may have to do the installation work yourself.
What training have you had?
Whilst learning the practical side of the job, I also studied for an HNC in Computing at evening classes. After two years, I gained a place at university and completed a Degree in Network Computing.
What are the main challenges?
One of the biggest challenges is being the only IT person in the office. I can't ask colleagues for advice!
How do you see your future?
I would like to study for a Masters degree in a related subject in my spare time. The future for my role depends on how the company grows. I could end up running multiple interconnected IT infrastructures throughout the UK, with a hundred or so users.
Faye's route to her career as a Network manager
- Secretarial college.
- Website design and administration.
- HNC in Computing.
- Degree in Network Computing.
Faye's Network manager tips
- Gain practical skills – build a small home network, investigate the different network protocols and how they work and interrelate.
- Keep up to date with developing technologies and try to find a position in a computing department – you absorb a lot of information and knowledge from people that have been in the role for some time.
Network manager related jobs
- Computer service technician
- Database administrator
- Software developer/programmer
- Systems analyst
- Technical support person
Salary of a Network manager
- Starting salaries for network trainees typically range from around £15,000 to £18,000 a year.
- Experienced network managers may earn £40,000 or more, but salaries depend on the size and complexity of the network.
- Contracting and freelance work can be highly paid.
Career as a Network manager
- Most network managers have a degree or HNC/HND in subjects such as computer studies and IT.
- Others work their way up in a computer department and may study for qualifications while working.
- You can begin training in IT straight from school with GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English, maths, IT and science. There is also a range of college courses, including BTEC courses. Apprenticeships may be available.
- Experience of working with computers and networks is a big advantage in getting your first job.
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