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Network Operations Center Engineers

The Job

The duties of NOC engineers vary based on their employer, level of education, and other factors, but the majority of engineers perform the following duties.

Monitor Systems

At a small employer, an engineer may be directly responsible for monitoring the performance of a network (routers, servers, switches, etc.), databases, firewalls, and other IT infrastructure. At a large company, engineers supervise technicians who perform this work. In the latter setting, engineers serve as a knowledge resource for technicians if they encounter issues with the network and other systems that they can’t fix on their own.

Identify and Troubleshoot Problems

Common issues that affect the performance and security of IT infrastructure include power outages, network crashes, malfunctioning equipment, and viruses and distributed denial of service attacks. When a problem arises, the engineer works to identify its cause by performing a fault analysis (analyzing live data, log files, and other information) in order to devise a solution to return the network or other IT infrastructure to optimal performance. If the engineer cannot solve the problem, he or she collaborates with more experienced engineers, specialized IT professionals (such as computer security specialists), or third-party vendors to try to solve the issue.

Document the Incident

The engineer must prepare detailed documentation that summarizes the type of incident, what was done to solve it, and other information that will be useful should the problem reoccur. They enter information into databases, prepare log reports, and write reports that summarize the problem and the actions they took to solve it.  

Upgrade Software and Hardware and Build NOCs

Engineers install new software or hardware (such as routers and firewalls) and perform system upgrades to improve the efficiency of the system and reduce the chances that outdated technology will cause an operational failure or open the door to a cyberattack. Experienced engineers design and install new network operations centers. After consulting with stakeholders, they create the design, install, and test the software and hardware in the center, and serve as an expert resource once the new network operations center (NOC) opens for operation.

Perform other Duties

NOC engineers have many other responsibilities, including meeting with company executives to update them regarding serious incidents and to plan upgrades to NOCs or discuss designs for new ones; maintaining reports on bandwidth usage, server utilization, uptime, and other key information; working to optimize server capacity and performance to meet growing demand in network traffic; developing data security, backup, archiving, and retrieval procedures; and performing routine inspections of air-conditioning, uninterrupted power supply, and other support systems.   

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