Prepare for the Networking Jobs of Tomorrow - Page 2
As networks evolve, so too do the technical skills needed by netadmins and by IT professionals looking to enter the networking field.
Networking skills to learn
Several foundational security skills are likely to be in greater demand. One Shannon points to is a good understanding of how technologies such as encryption and two-factor authentication can be implemented to eliminate some of the errors enterprises commonly make when using these platforms. “There are mistakes you can make as you deploy various encryption solutions,” he said. “Part of the challenge is that someone can propose or sell you a sophisticated solution, and you’ve got to have an ability to understand if the solution is working well or not.” Developing targeted statements of need, conducting meaningful technical assessments, and analyzing the effectiveness of the resulting solutions will become much more valuable skills as enterprises continue to ramp up their security postures.
The skills a network administrator or other IT pro chooses to develop may depend on where they are in their career. Networking is taught differently in many computer science departments today than it was just five years ago. Pitt believes it has shifted toward being more of a science and less of a trade. As the technologies and architectures have evolved, he said, “There are a whole lot of tradespeople, and those trade skills won’t be nearly as in demand as they have been.” He encourages administrators and others to develop a better understanding of computer science, of different kinds of languages, of newly-popular constructs such as containers, and how software really works. “I think anything that a current professional can do to have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of software in all its dimensions will be really worthwhile.”
Networking skills being left behind
For IT professionals, compliance was a very hot topic five years ago. Going forward, Shannon doesn’t believe that will continue to be the case, pointing to the notion that compliance belongs more in the legal realm rather than as a strategy for ensuring security and privacy. “It’s been shown too many times that organizations that are compliant are still weak, they’re still vulnerable,” he explained. “It’s legally important to the institution but from a technical point of view it really doesn’t deliver.”
Next page: Deciding which networking skills to develop and finding resources for training.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.