Career / Career Progression

4 Ways to Build a Data Center Career

by Team Nuggets
4 Ways to Build a Data Center Career picture: A
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Published on June 23, 2017

The data center is a central repository for facilities, networking, security, and storage. To run a data center, it takes a combination of IT knowledge, securities expertise, experience in facilities management, and an understanding of storage optimization. Not to mention, you must have a good grasp of the role that vendors like Cisco and VMware play in the data center as a cornerstone.

Data center job roles can start at the network technician level and go all the way up to the position of senior architect. According to PayScale, the national average salary for network engineers in the U.S. is about $70,147. To get hired to work in a data center, it helps to have all of the skills, along with certifications specific to data center networking and infrastructure, as well as the cloud.

Be Prepared to Evolve

Data centers continue to change at a quick rate. As a result, data center professionals are necessary for maintaining an organization's flexibility and success. In addition, the Uptime Institute Data Center Industry Survey discovered that certifications are imperative for data center employees.

With regard to data center operations roles, associated certifications were quite high in demand, including network engineering, data and network security, and facilities management. Plus, it doesn't hurt to layer your clothing as the cold row can be as chilly as the hot row is heated. It also helps to be physically fit as, even with a rack lift device, servers and equipment can be pretty heavy.

Learn More than just IT Skills

As we know, rows definitely can get hot and cold. Because of this, data center hires should learn about the correlation between changes in electrical systems and heating with hardware. It is important to know how voltage spikes and varying temperatures affect devices. Companies still have power and cooling issues. A data center manager must have the ability to juggle these different priorities.

Vendors such as VMware usually have on-premise product lines that enables benefits of the on-premises standard along with the flexibility achieved through the cloud. To become a successful data center candidate, you must prove you can reach outside of your comfort zone. In the data center, everyone is responsible for uptime.

Then, there is the need for compliance with energy constraints, limited space, and regulations. You don't necessarily need a college degree to get hired as long as you have the relevant experience and background. If you enjoy getting close to the metal, this can be a really fun opportunity for you.

Obtain Relevant Certifications

Some of the most respected credentials in the industry are Cisco certifications. Because data centers store servers and related components, certifications need to cover topics such as:

  • Architecture

  • Networking

  • Troubleshooting

Cisco Data Center CCNA or CCNP candidates must also understand how to address schemes, server virtualization, load balancing, and how to configure VLANs and routers. Furthermore, a CCNA Data Center certification is valid for three years. Necessary courses include:

People used to say that "nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM." Well, today, the same can be said of Cisco. The CCNP certification is not only a standard for data center professionals, but it also helps them learn how to save time and money on installation, equipment design, and maintenance.

Understand the Meaning of Ultra-efficiency

The modern data center is dense, highly automated, and virtualized. In addition, saving costs on energy is a priority and often data centers use the most advanced mechanical and electrical components. So, hiring a data center professional can be difficult, given the need for a background in multiple disciplines. Expertise in virtualization is essential as well. It is required to know how to work with virtual servers and storage.

You must be efficient, flexible, and adaptable. It is not enough to have expertise in only one particular area. You also need to be a good team player, an effective communicator, and a quick learner to keep up with the consistent changes.

There was a time when it was okay to be well-versed in one subject matter, such as Windows or Linux, but, that is no longer the case. Employers are looking for people who have expanded skill sets and can multitask.

As you can see, a job in the data center is complex and constantly evolving. You must have a wide variety of skill sets to keep up. Yet, that is the beauty of it all, there is never a dull moment.


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