Technology / Networking

What Does an AWS Data Center Technician Do?

What Does an AWS Data Center Technician Do?
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Published on December 22, 2022

Are finely organized cables and blinking lights your jam? Do you want to be the hamster making the all-mighty wheel of AWS turn? Do you love the solitude of The Matrix? 

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might have the soul of an AWS data center technician, but what exactly does an AWS data center technician do? That’s what we will cover in this article to help you decide if it could be a good fit for you.

Ready to Learn AWS?

If you’re interested in adding the cloud to your skillset, you can’t go wrong with choosing AWS. It’s by far the industry leader and there’s a lot of training available for AWS. In fact, you’ll find a wide variety of online AWS training right here at CBT Nuggets. 

No matter your expertise level with AWS or your role, you can learn AWS confidently with CBT Nuggets. Sign up for a free 7-day trial today.

What Does an AWS Data Center Technician Do?

For a better example of what a data center technician does, let’s look at the job description for an AWS data center tech:

“… work on installing and troubleshooting the infrastructure that supports the AWS cloud. You will also be responsible to work with logistics and other teams to maintain daily operations…”

That’s a little vague, so let’s look at their specific bullet points.

1. Escalation point and technical troubleshooter for all systems and problems

Someone puts a ticket into the help desk. It’s your job to go fix the thing. That could be a cut network cable, a bad piece of hardware, a dead switch, or a fly caught in an exhaust fan somewhere. 

Hopefully, someone did some triage before assigning the ticket to you. If not, you need to triage the problem, too. 

2. Deep diving into Linux server issues

Linux is your jam whether you want it to be or not. Hope you’re comfortable with cron or recompiling the Linux kernel from scratch. You will need next-level *nix skills. Gnome GUI skills won’t cut it here. 

3. Remediation of physical layer outages, both systems & network

Did a construction worker cut a fiber line? Is a network cable mangled? Did someone put glue in the switch port again? Did one of the servers enter melt-down mode? It doesn’t matter because you’re fixing it. 

4. Remediation or recovery of physical power issues on racks and participation in data center power & cooling events

Is the power out? You better hope it’s a leg day because you’re peddling the bike that gets the lights back on. More likely you will be replacing power supplies, power cables, and fixing battery backups. 

Oh, and data centers get hot. You’ll need to help cool them down. Sometimes you need to break out the garden hose and water them (do not do that in IRL, please). 

Other Duties an AWS Data Center Technician May Handle

Those are the four most prevalent bullet points in the AWS job description. There are others like fixing and racking servers, completing troubleshooting tickets, not annoying customers, and keeping inventory up to date. Those are callouts for the four primary descriptors above, though.

This might not sound like a complicated job, but I assure you, it’s harder than it sounds. AWS data center technicians manage a metric posterior-ton of servers and networking equipment. There are tons of customers using that equipment this very second, and it can’t go down. 

So, how do you fix a broken computer without turning it off or losing its data? Ask a data center technician because that’s the magic that they do. 

AWS Data Center Technicians and Systems Administrators: What’s the Difference?

Truth be told, there isn’t much difference between an AWS data center tech and any other data center technician. However, the difference between a data center technician and a sysadmin is huge — despite both requiring a good degree of cross-pollinated knowledge.  

Think of it this way. A sysadmin is managing systems and services for an organization. Many organizations have their own in-house data centers.  These tiny data centers could be the size of a room or a simple rack in a closet. They are not complicated in comparison to AWS or Azure.

These micro data centers will typically consist of the network core, a router or two, a couple of switches, a firewall, a few servers, and maybe a SAN. I’m simplifying this a lot, but the point is a typical business’ data center only has what is needed to make that business operate. 

A good portion of a sysadmin’s work is working with end-users, stakeholders, and customers. Their job is to make sure information systems work for them. That means deploying domain services, maintaining Active Directory, keeping email running, fixing PC issues, etc. Depending on the size of the business, sysadmins may be on the hook for network operations and telephony services, too. Basically, a sysadmin is a jack-of-all-trades IT technician. 

A data center tech is going to focus more on networking, maintaining connectivity and hardware, etc.  Basically, a data center tech is responsible for making the platforms that power the cloud work. 

Do you see the difference? Sysadmins power end users while data center techs power infrastructure.  That’s overly simplified, but you get the idea. 

Final Thoughts

Well, that was a fun article. Wasn’t it? Data center technicians are the unspoken heroes of today’s world. They are the ones that make our apps and services run. While front-line employees solve the problems of the masses, they only have the tools to do their job because those data center technicians work tirelessly in the background. 


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