Downsides of working with the newest tech in network engineering
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Almost all great network / system engineers want to use the newest technologies and tools. In fact, embracing change and learning new tech is one of the ways a network / system administrator can stay competitive in the job market.
However, learning new tech isn’t as great as it might seem on the surface. There are valid reasons why companies stick with their older network and tools. But some companies that are growing and innovating are looking for ways to implement a faster and more reliable network. As a network engineer working for an innovative company, this is great as you get to ensure your skills are up to date. This results in you being more marketable and even commanding a higher salary. However there are burdens of being on the cutting edge of tech as well, and a lot of that burden falls on you.
There are hidden disadvantages and lots of struggles in learning and implementing your or your client’s new network technologies. If you decide to start learning and implementing this new tech without knowing the struggles that come with it, you may find yourself with an unsuccessful implementation, a disappointed boss or client, and even the risk of burnout.
However,you can avoid all of this by being aware of these struggles before you begin. Here are the top 5 disadvantages network / system engineers need to be aware of in using and implementing the newest technology.
Learning new networks, tools, frameworks or even learning a little bit of code while trying to implement all of it into your new system can be exciting, but extremely stressful. Especially when there are tight deadlines which is almost always the case when dealing with networks.
It isn’t uncommon for network / system engineers to work 50+ hours a week when working with new technologies.
Even if you have the determination, the desire to learn, and the patience to implement and work through all the bugs, your boss might not. If one of the people you are reporting to within your company comes from a non-technical background, they might become extremely frustrated with the amount of time you are spending and lack of progress.
Dealing with non-technical stakeholders within your company can be very frustrating. But that’s why it’s imperative for network engineers to have well developed soft skills. If you’re unable to communicate to your boss or client on exactly what’s going on and why it is taking longer, your project could be pulled.
2. Long hours
When working with new technologies and tools at work it is not uncommon to spend 70-80 hours a week working. Think about it: you need to maintain your normal duties of keeping the network up, learning the new technologies, and effectively implementing the new tech. That can be a lot to juggle all at once.Or if you choose to work for a startup working with the newest technology you might be spending a lot more of your time fixing bugs and errors than actually contributing to the innovations of the company.
3. Burn out
Because of the amount of hours you have to spend and all of the bugs you have to fix, it can be easy for people to get disillusioned with the mission and goal of the new tech. More experienced people with families tend to not be willing to work those amount of hours. Or feel that the new tech is causing insecurity and instability in their workplace and they might go look for more established organizations. It can be easy to chase the “shiny ball”, but if your peers slowly start falling off you might find yourself over your head and burnt out.
4. Treadmill effect
The idea of the treadmill effect is that because technology is always changing and advancing if you do not deploy new technologies fast enough you can end up always being stuck behind the trends. This is common in using cutting edge technology as there aren’t set ways of troubleshooting all of the bugs and errors.
This results in network engineers working really hard but making little progress on their new project. Unfortunately, this is inevitable when working with new technologies. As a network engineer, you should expect that you feel like you’re on a treadmill when using new technologies. Just know that it will be worth it in the long run and does not mean you should always shy away from learning and implementing new tech.
5. You need to go all in
Learning new technologies isn’t for every network engineer. If you don’t have the desire or determination to stick with it you often find yourself not getting anywhere. Hence the treadmill effect.
You have to be willing to completely immerse yourself in learning and implementing the new tech. You must be focused on your new project and not get distracted with any new “shiny balls” or go back to the old ways.
Food for thought
It can be easy to be attracted by the “shiny ball” of new technologies or flashy start ups, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. When making your next career move or evaluating your current position, it’s imperative to think about what you value most in life.
Do you value a good work-life balance and stability? Chasing new tech might not be for you.
Do you enjoy the grind, debugging, and pressure in your workplace? Then exploring new tech and startups might be for you.
If you are interested in learning more about what companies in our area are using the cutting edge tech and how you might be able to transition into that (or out of that) feel free to reach out to our team of recruiters here.