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    Why I’ve left Network Engineering

    by dfdumont ·

    Two reasons:
    1. I am not willing to sign up to be available 24x7x365
    2. The reason you are asking me to be available 24x7x365 is because you are doing it wrong. (You are spending too much money on payroll)

    I’ve been fired several times because I did not fulfill the availability expectations. As in always at the boss’s beck and call. If you think this is rare, talk to your Network Engineers. They are on the ‘always available’ list too.

    The second reason has to do with the typical situation where every incident is blamed on the network until the network engineers can prove otherwise. Among other things that means we aren’t Network Engineers. We are first line diagnostics. Perhaps our title should reflect our actual function. And since being able to diagnose an OSPF mismatch isn’t typically relevant in this arena, it means the diagnostic technicians you hire should be generalist, not necessarily network savvy. You have hired the wrong resource for the task, or you’ve hired a resource you should have contracted.

    Network Engineers should be like plumbers. You don’t have a plumber on staff. You hire one when you need one. Either because there’s an actual network problem (There is water coming out of the pipes), or because you are building something. And the reason I say Network Engineers are like plumbers is that the math behind our two domains is identical. We ARE plumbers. Perhaps my profession should take on that mechanism and adopt the apprentice/journeyman/master process. It would certainly solve a lot of issues and would immediately make us vendor neutral.

    I think ultimately a number of IT disciplines would be better suited as skilled labor trades. Network Engineering is just the most obvious because of the math thing. I suspect the only true IT discipline is Software Development. All of the others are skilled labor, that should be hired as needed.

    So I’ve left the profession entirely. My next job may be as a UPS Driver. At least then people are happy to see me.

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