Why my job as a Network Engineer is different every day
As an implementation network engineer within Telstra’s Business Technology Services division, I work on the underlying network infrastructure for some of Australia’s largest companies. These networks form the primary platform on which all other technology services and applications are overlaid within an organisation.
In a nutshell, my role involves taking network design drawings and turning these into practical implementation plans for our customers, which are later implemented onsite.
These plans may be for small changes that are needed on a regular basis or large-scale network transformation projects. The goal is to implement these plans in a way that is seamless so an organisation’s employees or customers are not impacted.
I’m also the conduit between Telstra and our customers; keeping their in-house technology teams informed of any changes that are material to the running of their organisation. There’s a common misperception that engineers aren’t people-facing, but one of the most important aspects of my role is interacting with our customers so I can understand their requirements.
Responding to the continuous evolution of networks means my role is incredibly varied. There’s no standard day, which is an aspect of my career that I enjoy the most.
It’s also a reason why I find Telstra’s flexible working culture so useful. Flexibility allows me to adjust my work pattern around customer engagements, as well as around my personal commitments. With All Roles Flex, Telstra is open to discussing flexibility in some form for all positions whenever role or work commitments allow.
I often structure my schedule to make more time for my partner and two kids. This can be as simple as starting mid-morning if I’ve had a late customer engagement the day before, or working from home to avoid a two hour commute to the city. This equates to an additional four hours in each day.
The freedom to adapt my working hours means I don’t need to choose between work and family in order to advance my career. The key to progression at Telstra, my one-up manager says, is diversity of experience and performance – which is about measuring outcomes, not how many hours you’re sitting behind a desk.
And in my role, I’m exposed to diverse experiences all the time. I’m often working with between two-to-three customers a week which means I’m continuously moving in and out of different environments. This allows me to learn quickly through exposure to best practice network architecture across a range of big businesses rather than simply working across just one network configuration.
I also like that the multi-dimensional nature of my role calls for an adaptable skillset. I wear many hats; from engineer, to stakeholder engagement manager and customer service. It’s through these different experiences that I have the opportunity to broaden my skillset.
Another element of my work is the confidentiality it requires. I can’t talk about a day’s work over the dinner table which can sometimes be frustrating if I’ve reached a big milestone, or am working through an implementation challenge. It’s critical for enterprise network architecture to remain proprietary in order to safeguard it.
Even so, I have always been interested in how technology can help businesses to meet their objectives. I find it helpful to remember this when I’m navigating the ins and outs of the role.
After coming to Telstra from a company with a narrower focus, it’s great to have the option to think bigger about the world of technology and, in doing so, broaden my career aspirations too.
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