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Oct. 16th, 2006

Time for some navelgazing ...

So far my attempts to find a software job haven't been successful. Likewise, although there are some people who appreciate my informational posts on click fraud, geotargeting, etc., I haven't really made the type of progress I thought I might. As I wrote earlier, it may be many years before advertisers and/or publishers become sufficiently disgusted that they're willing to turn to some form of open community-based activism. I don't know if it's a good idea for me to wait that long. I'm starting to think that if I don't make much more progress by the end of December, I may just chuck both efforts and pursue something else.

While browsing my LinkedIn network, I happened upon Ren Provo's profile. Ren is currently the peering administrator for AT&T. She has a long history of Internet involvement, including holding positions in NANOG and at the post-SRI InterNIC. (You can find out more about her at her Multiply site.) It started me thinking that type of career might be a possibility.

Once upon a time, I used to have job responsibilities that involved liaisons with other network managers. Back in the early 1990s, I was TIS' site rep for Los Nettos, a small regional net in Los Angeles. Although I didn't do that type of work when I first started at TIS, I assumed those duties when my predecessors left. It provided a nice complement to other work I was doing at the time (Trusted Xenix networking). Some aspects of the job were annoying (e.g. connectivity was slow because traffic to the public Internet of that time needed to go out via the CERFnet exchange in San Diego, even though UCLA had direct NSFnet access just one (T3) hop away from us), but overall it was a good experience for me.

Needless to say, I don't remember much of what I used to do. Also, a lot has changed. I wouldn't be able to get a job like that right now. However, there are ways to get training (via certifications). I do have some concerns, such as how likely it is that I can get (and keep) such a position – this sort of thing is not immune to layoffs, etc. Furthermore, I'm not sure how much this field is growing. Arguably, there's still a lot of dark fiber, so there's the possibility that new network providers will be created, but positions might disappear due to M&A activity, bankruptcy, etc. As usual, there is my usual concern of "if I start to do X, and X doesn't work out, I'm that much further behind in the other things I was trying to do."

I follow NANOG on and off, so I'm at least roughly aware of things that happen in the world of network operations. I still have to look into this more, but the idea seems more enticing than anything else (tech related) that I'm involved in (or attempting to be) these days.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
kennita
Oct. 17th, 2006 09:49 am (UTC)
One gauge of how much a field is growing is how many job listings there are. Career counselors at colleges probably also have access to information. And What the heck -- you may get information at a Career One-Stop Center. I noticed a link on that page for "Labor Market Info".

Don't bother looking for a job that's immune to layoffs -- there pretty much aren't any.

"if I start to do X, and X doesn't work out, I'm that much further behind in the other things I was trying to do."

If it does work out, you'll be even farther behind in the other things you were trying to do :-) . You can only do one thing at a time; pick one. You seem to know which one you'd like to try first -- go for it! Then again, what's this elliptical referenceto enticing non-tech-related interests? Maybe some navel-gazing about how you might make one of them pay would be in order.

Best wishes!
gregbo
Oct. 17th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
Well, it's been a while since I've been in college. :) I can probably find out more information from people I know in the field. I have seen job openings (e.g. there are a few at Google). Realistically, I don't expect the job to be immune from layoffs, but I'm hoping the career is – even if I get laid off I hope I can find something similar (assuming I'm not burned out).

My non-tech-related interests are piano, chorus, and ballroom dancing. I went through a long process from the fall of 1990 through the summer of 1994 navelgazing (on usenet rec.music.* groups) about changing careers to music. After I moved back to the SFBA in 1995, I tried college radio for a while, and came to the conclusion that I wasn't really interested in a radio career. Likewise, I was able to satisfy my interests in music as a hobby, provided that I actually got quality time to pursue the hobby, which was possible until reorgs/layoffs at AV forced me to be available practically 24/7. I picked up ballroom dancing in 1998, and never really considered it as a potential new career. It's something I like to do, but don't feel compelled to do it professionally. In general, I would like to have a career that involves technology and people I like to work with, but doesn't prevent me from spending occasional quality time on music and dancing.
kennita
Oct. 18th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC)
The Career One-Stop Center is not associated with any college -- it's actually a function of the Employment Development Department. There looks to be a lot of good stuff there. IMHO, it's worth checking out.
gregbo
Oct. 19th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
I looked around the site and couldn't find anything specifically on peering or provisioning jobs, but that doesn't surprise me, since they're specializations of network engineering. The site did have some optimistic numbers on network engineering, however. It just depends, I guess. There were plenty of network engineers who were laid off from AV, and some of them had trouble finding something else.

Given the competition for network engineering jobs at established companies, it will probably be necessary for me to look at startups (should I decide to pursue this).
(Anonymous)
Nov. 15th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
peering into your future
Heh, hunt for the job that makes you feel good at the end of the day. Peering does it for me. Emergency Vet Technician does it for my Sister. Flying did it for my Dad. Another poster mentioned layoffs are everywhere. Agreed. Some friends reduced in the wave of telco consolidation have moved on to healthy projects like writing songs or cookbooks. I've taken up photography. Wake up each day knowing you are there to make a difference vs. avoid a layoff.

Cheers & good luck on your search, -Ren Provo
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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