Graduate Profile: Michael R Owen
What was your HE course and when did you graduate?
BSc (HONS) Computer Networks in 2012
What is your job title and role?
My role at Swansea IT Group is to provide support for the organizations many clients, ranging from network troubleshooting/advice, configuring Linux servers, training clients to use the PBX system, and general support.
Could you briefly describe the organization you work for?
The organization provides a range of IT solutions (VoIP, web design, network design, consultancy, and system administration). For the VoIP system they use Asterisk on a Linux server incorporating an open source platform called Vicidial.
Which skills learned at University are helpful to you in your job?
I have learned a number of skills after graduating from University. By sticking to assignment deadlines and the final year project, I learnt how to effectively prioritize my workload. This has helped in my role, as I may be given a number of support tickets each day ranging from simple fixes to more advanced troubleshooting. Which all need to be prioritized based on the difficulty or the alert level of the ticket.
My course helped me develop my troubleshooting skills by understanding the fundamentals of computer networks, such as the OSI model. With a good understanding of the OSI model you can quickly judge what can be causing an issue, by narrowing down the problem to a specific layer. With this way of thinking you can easily resolve problems which are not networking related.
Using the Cisco equipment to build networks for assignments quickly helps you build up your troubleshooting abilities as you can make mistakes that you would not normally make or see when using a network simulator.
What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
My favourite aspect of the job is configuring networks and providing network consultancy to new and current clients. Whether it be how they should design their network, to suggesting VPNs, and general troubleshooting to provide a stable and secure network.
If you could give advice to current students what would it be?
If you’re ending your second year I would suggest making a start on your final year project, as I completed my literary review in January, it provided me with plenty of time to spend on the implementation and troubleshooting of my final year project. This in turn, gave me more flexibility for completing assignments and plenty of time for exam revision.
I would advise any networking students to complete their CCNA studies before the final year, as the final year can be heavy in work load with the final year project, assignments and exams.
The CCNA is a valuable certification to gain, as it will help you stand out from those who do not have the certification when applying for networking/IT support related jobs. If you are interesting in taking on a networking role, there are plenty of other Cisco certifications other than the routing and switching path, which may interest you.