Computer networking allows one computer to connect to others in a limited area or beyond, and exchange information. Network specialists design, implement and monitor computer networks.They can work in companies ranging from banks to media houses, and can even remotely monitors networks in another country for an MNC client.
What do they do?
Kanthi Nagaraj, 29, is one of those people who make it possible for you to communicate through a network of computers, sharing information and resources. An MTech in computer science and engineering from IIT Delhi, she is now a network specialist with Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, Bangalore. The research lab is a wing of the Paris-headquartered telecommunication solutions provider Alcatel-Lucent. Her typical work day includes “intense discussions around various technical ideas, reading research papers and, of course, writing code to make our ideas see the light of day”.
Broadly speaking, network specialists design, implement and monitor networks. They create the hardware and software systems — what Nagaraj calls “boxes” — that telecom service providers such as Airtel and Reliance use to give network access to mobiles and network connections to personal and commercial consumers. “These ‘boxes’ are also used to connect all machines in offices to servers, which are called ‘enterprise networks’,” she adds. Other aspects of networking are testing and ensuring that the networks work smoothly, writing tools for network management, using those tools and managing the networks.
“Recently, there has been a focus on applications that run on these networks and on designing a network to enable optimal use of such applications,” says Nagaraj.
As per their expertise, the specialists manage small, medium or large computer networks in major organisations such as banks, manufacturing and media companies. They can also get into remote network management from India for multinational clients abroad.
“They can work for network outsourcing companies such as HCL and Wipro and help manage MNC clients’ networks abroad remotely from India,” says Huzur Saran, professor of computer science and engineering at IIT Delhi. Other avenues are major Internet service providers like Airtel, Reliance, Sify and Tulip, and network vendors such as Cisco, Fibcom and Tejas.
The job has its pluses and minuses. As Nagaraj notes, the work touches millions of lives — enabling communication for commerce as well as for entertainment. “I find computer networks an interesting field because of the complexity of systems and the simplicity and elegance of final solutions,” she adds.
“The best part of my job as a network researcher,” says Nagaraj, “is the excitement from the fact that you can make a scientific contribution that will potentially impact millions of lives! The not so exciting part is that the adherence to standardisation (absolutely required for inter-operability of equipment from different vendors) may stifle innovation.”
According to Nagaraj, “There are huge opportunities for network specialists. You can work as network system software developer, network administrator, quality assurance (QA)/testing of network protocols or researcher in networking like me.” One can find jobs in major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, NCR and Chennai. “For junior-level staff, demand exists in most of the country, since even a network with 100 computers needs somebody skilled to manage it,” says Saran.
Source: HT Horizons
Aptitude for science
Open and analytical mind
Willingness to keep learning
Diligence in ensuring snag-free networks
How do I get there?
It may be preferable to opt for science in Plus Two, but this is not essential. Go for a BE/BTech degree in computer science, Bachelor’s in computer application or information technology.Some industrial or corporate training/certification comes handy. A BE/BTech degree is enough, though in some cases, an MTech or MCA degree may improve long-term prospects. One can also opt for a diploma in computer science. Certification courses are valued for network administrator positions, testing and quality assurance jobs in computer networks. Deep CS knowledge is not always necessary