10 Essential Tasks for Networking Jobs

By Peter H. Gregory, Bill Hughes

As a networking professional, you will need to be prepared to perform certain tasks. Regardless of title and the size of the organization, the networking department performs certain tasks. They include the following:

  • Solve end-user problems: End-users in your organization need a person to call when there are issues such as a problem with a password, a website, or remote access. In larger organizations, someone has to act as the clearinghouse for questions. Because most issues relate to the network, the networking department is the first line of support. Many organizations implement a ticketing system to track and close out inquiries.

  • Update configurations of servers and applications: The networking department is responsible for ensuring that the equipment works as intended as well as adding, changing, and deleting end users (employees). (The abbreviation A/C/D stands for adds/changes/deletions.) The task of making adds, changes, or deletions applies to both LANs and WANs.

  • Install cabling and update hardware: This task is where you get your hands dirty. Even if you have a wireless LAN, you will need to run cabling to the access points.

  • Conduct user training: End-users need to know how to access the system as well as protect the intellectual property assets of the company. This effort can be done one at a time, in a classroom with multiple end-users, or by training the trainers.

  • Manage upgrades and patches: It falls to the networking department to distribute software upgrades to all the equipment in the organization.

  • Monitor network performance: Networks will experience outages and congestion. Multiple people use a given resource, and inevitably multiple people will want some of the resource at the same time. Momentary blips are to be expected, but wholesale failure of significant elements is unacceptable. Modern networking equipment and vendor solutions are available to offer insight into the nature of network performance problems before you get the first call.

  • Implement information security and backup policies: Networking may or may not create the information security or backup policy, but they will be called to implement and enforce these policies.

  • Plan future requirements: The IT environment is constantly changing. New employees are hired and others leave. Applications are added or upgraded. Business strategies change. Acquisitions and divestitures take place. Remote offices open and others are closed. Suppliers offer equipment that is faster, better, and cheaper. The network needs to keep up.

  • Work with third-party suppliers: Some companies want to do as much in-house as possible, while others outsource as much as possible. Regardless of whether companies choose to do their own network planning and implementation or outsource it, they have to deal with service providers. This task is usually performed by the networking department.

  • Monitor and plan budgets: If you have a budget, someone needs to monitor the performance relative to the budget as well as tell the powers that be what you will need in the future.

A given company may choose to have the networking department specialize and assign titles to clarify roles. In times of emergency, however, you can almost certainly count on an “all hands on deck” approach.