our everyday life

Job Description for a Network Operation's Specialist

by Nathan McGinty, studioD

Network Operations Centers (NOCs) serve as a sort of mission control for an organization's computer network and related systems. NOCs are staffed by network operations specialists, also known as network operations technicians, who monitor all the servers, workstations, printers and related network equipment. Working as a network operations specialist is a excellent way to broaden your computer skills as well as a way to learn to work within a larger team.

Primary Responsibilities

The main responsibility of a network operations specialist is to maintain computer hardware, software and related systems, such as switches, bridges and routers. In the course of maintaining these systems, network technicians are expected to perform tasks such as operating system upgrades, patch application, firmware upgrades, hardware upgrades and other tasks. With the growth of phone services such as voice over Internet protocal (VoIP), many network operations technicians are also responsible for the maintenance of telephone systems. Other primary duties that a network technician may be responsible for include providing support, training and best use practices to end users as well as researching and procuring new equipment.

Secondary Tasks

The secondary tasks that an operations specialist can be involved in vary from organization to organization and also depend on the size of the network operations center and the number of customers that it serves. Some specialists, for example, may be tasked with light programming duties, such as creating batch and maintenance scripts to be run in a programming language like Perl, Javascript, php, or in UNIX shell script. Operations specialists sometimes help out with other operations center duties, such as stringing cable, reconfiguring floor tiles as needed for additional machines, and testing disaster recovery equipment, such as generators.

Skill Set

Candidates seeking to work as a network operations specialist should have an in-depth knowledge of the capabilities of major operating systems, such as MacOS, Windows and Unix/Linux. In addition he should be well-versed in network operations practice and theory. Operations specialists should have knowledge troubleshooting and diagnosing computer hardware and software issues, networking equipment and VoIP equipment, if needed. Some operations centers may require their specialists to have certain certifications, such as a certified Microsoft technician or a Cisco networking certification. Network specialists typically work in shifts with other team members, so the ability to cooperate with co-workers to help identify and solve problems is vital. Record-keeping skills are essential for maintaining asset lists as required, logging network and maintenance issues and equipment supply and procurement.

Background Data

The minimum educational requirement for most network operations specialist positions is a high school diploma, or GED. Beyond that, some organizations may have other requirements, such as a vocational degree, a number of completed hours or an associates degree in a related field, such as computers. Higher tier network operations centers may require a bachelor's degree in an area such as computer science or electrical engineering. Many network specialists first spend a number of years doing end user tech support or computer repair and servicing before moving into an operations specialist position.

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images