North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Interpersonal skills needed for Network Engineers

  • From: Joel Jaeggli
  • Date: Sat Feb 16 19:13:35 2008

There is a topical tutorial for people attending nanog 42 sunday afternoon...

Bill Nash wrote:

On Sat, 16 Feb 2008, Kim Onnel wrote:

I am looking for defining what are skills needed in people that will work in
an ISP's operational/NOC environment as Network Engineers.

In my humble experience, i have came across people that i just feel they are
not right for such technical jobs, people would act and take their golden
fingers to the devices without logic and others who has more of a structured
approach to solving problems and thinking, some that will crank under
pressure and just loose it and others who will act rationally.

Please correct me if i am wrong and if you believe such skills could be
gained by time/training?

I think you're talking very generally about the 'cowboy' type of operators who will reboot first, and then troubleshoot if that doesn't fix it. There are also the territorial types who feel threatened in the face of outside ideas or questions.

Speaking as a volatile loudmouth (in recovery), I do think that interpersonal skill training, or at least practice, is useful for folks to be able to inter-operate both with other people, and other network operators. The single most useful troubleshooting skill anyone can bring to the table is a good pair of ears and a willingness to use them. With that as a base, you can move on to good teamwork and best practices.

As cliche as it may seem, I readily recommend 'Negotiating for Dummies' as reading for anyone who doesn't want to be the person that no one can work with. It works great when given as an anonymous gift, too.

- billn