ComputerWorld: Network sniper and the decision time

A sniper takes risks when making his decisions, but is generally confident that he will give the right shot

For a sniper squeezing the trigger may be the easiest part of a set tasks that requires planning, observation, intelligence, and assertiveness. In the network professional day-to-day, it is nothing different. Imagine what it is like to get into a room and find desperate IT managers and sometimes the company top management too, simply because the processes stopped because of a network problem. It feels like a real ‘War Room’!

This is the time when a good network professional puts all his experience and technique into practice. It is because, you need to identify the problem in a short time space, give a correct diagnosis and still need to apply the solution causing the least possible impact to the processes. A true network sniper, before you pull the trigger, has to analyze and map all the aspects that make up your scenario and equip your team with this information.

For it, among this professional attributes are the knowledge, technology domain, and experience to understand the panorama/environment as a whole. He should evaluate the symptoms by asking quick questions to understand whether the problem is isolated or whether the entire network is impacting. The most recurrent questions are: At what point did the symptoms appear? Were users accessing a specific program when the network stopped? Will it be a navigation bug?

By doing an end-to-end analysis – an assessment – it is possible to have a broad processes view, which will give you the backing to chart the best path and come to the solution. Within the War Room, this time may seem endless, but the result of this mapping raises the assertiveness level of the diagnosis and allows a shorter time for the solutions application.

Even if the company director is asking for a quick action and pressured to see if the professional is on the right target, a sniper must have the balance to ignore this hostile environment and maintain his position on the need for thorough analysis. Decision making is based on the professional’s knowledge and the diagnosis accuracy will ensure that a solution is reached, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

It differentiates the sniper from a common network professional, as he surveys, makes decisions, and applies the improvements at the right time. Now, if a professional touches the equipment, interfering with company various areas, and is not on the right track, there is bound to be a credibility loss, which is not good at such a competitive time.

In order to get to a sniper professionalism level, you need to have senior network knowledge and at least five years of industry experience. However, you have to accumulate junior and general IT experience in database, servers and applications, for example. (S)He must know the technology that connects to the network, otherwise (s)he will not be able to identify problems with agility. Knowing a simple button function can make all the difference to the network performance, as in a network tuning case.

Staying current in a dynamic market such as technology, certifications are good alternatives, especially those made by renowned manufacturer, which have technologies compatible with different solutions. The general knowledge in IT also makes these professionals demonstrate that they have understanding beyond the networks area ​​. Another factor worth mentioning is the firm stance that the professional should have when expressing his/her opinion or even leading a meeting.

A network sniper, when giving an incident diagnosis and suggesting a solution that can stop the company’s billing even for a very short time period, is taking a risk, but is generally confident that it will give the right shot.

* Rodrigo Alabarce is services director for Nap IT.

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