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General Chat Thread, Sooo, i'm a 'network manager'! in General; Hello there, Here I am, a couple of months into my first IT-based job - 'Network Manager' at a medium ...
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    cbeeching's Avatar
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    Sooo, i'm a 'network manager'!

    Hello there,

    Here I am, a couple of months into my first IT-based job - 'Network Manager' at a medium sized primary school (400ish children). I have no 'official' training in the IT field. All I have is self-taught knowledge from using, breaking, and sometimes fixing computers since a young age (i'm 22 now).

    Like I say, my title is 'Network Manager', but just from reading this forum for the last month (which I am SO glad Iíve found Ė Thankyou edugeek!) I appreciate that my schools version of a 'Network Manager' is probably very different to another schools. My predecessor was here for a long time, and she began as a volunteer. She was here from the start, and was part of getting the school to where it is now in terms of IT today. The result of that development is that my role of ĎNetwork Managerí is part time, and nearly all the technical side of things are handled by an external support team who work closely with RM. So far being here, Iíve been taking each day as it comes, trying to unravel and understand a position of somebody who had literally been at the school since the day I was born.

    Since Iím without any official training or experience, I would not want for a second to assume I know everything, because I know I donít. I appreciate that managing a network alone is not a walk in the park, and it is not a part time job. However the school is currently on a CC3 network and everything is controlled by that. The external support team logs in remotely time to time to our server to check everything is in order, and I just look after the general housekeeping, and help the teachers and students with their immediate problems (which as Iím sure you all know, there are a lot of ! ). Our external support team offers Mon-Fri phone support on ALL things IT, and I know the previous lady used that a lot. I have been holding back from phoning them mostly, as I prefer to have a go at fixing things myself, plus I find thatís the best way to learn sometimes.

    To be honest I stepped into the role as a gap-filler after finishing my degree (which was in music technology Ė try finding some work in that!) but now I can really see myself taking this as a serious career path. The only problem is at the moment I feel like Iím bubble wrapped because all the big parts of what I expected to be a technicians job seem to be somebody elseís. After pestering the head teacher Iím nearer to full time than I was in the beginning but I still feel I could be doing a whole lot more than I am at the moment. Iím sure this position is a brilliant opportunity for me to develop my skills and I really want to learn, though Iím finding it difficult to get involved when outside entities seem to have such a big hold over everything. All my life Iíve enjoyed problem solving, and getting to the route of the problem. I genuinely enjoy helping people with their computer troubles Ė I mean thatís what IT support is all about isnít it?

    I feel like this should be posted anonymously to an agony aunt section in Heat magazine, but I thought this forum might get me some more useful answers. I wonder if anybody else has found themselves in a similar position. Perhaps I should seek some official training, although being paid by the hour at little more than the minimum wage Iím hardly in a position to fund that myself!

    If anybody could offer even the smallest piece of advice Iíd be very grateful.

    Thanks for your time.

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    neon's Avatar
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    My motto is if it aint broke dont fix it, maybe you could send you cv to other primary schools in the area saying that you are already an established "network manager" and would like the oppurtunity to work with them? I am a network manager at a primary school similar to yours 400ish children 120ish comps 2 servers etc etc, I often go to other schools and see how everything is going.
    Good to get your fingers in lots of pies

    Edugeek is a god send as far as ict in schools is concerned! Keep looking on here if you want to know or ask any questions lots of very talented people

  3. Thanks to neon from:

    cbeeching (2nd March 2010)

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    I'm 23 and been doing the Network Manager role for about 2 years now, moved up from basic technician to network technician and now to this role.

    If you have external support use them if unsure, don't change anything that looks big or important until you've read and read again on possible side effects! Speak to staff and see if they're having problems with something in particular and see how you can help improve their IT experience... always remember customer skills are as important as the techie ones

    Also if you have a few spare boxes about set up a test network and play with server-grade software there (Windows Server, SQL, Exchange and so on) so you can fiddle to your heart's content with no worries about messing up the live system

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    cbeeching (2nd March 2010)

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    I'm 24, been at this school since i finished my degree in november 2008 (Secondary school 900 kids ish), ive basically gutted and re-built the network since i started, i was made perminent on the fist of january this year, ill turn my hand to anything that remotely has anything to do with IT and Electronic, basically most things.

    we have 4 servers, one is a bit old and needs changing, 100 ish kids laptops all added after i started and abou 400 PC's, got a few rooms of pc's that are over 5 years old, slowly getting them changed to new ones, the login times for the old machines are about 10 mins new ones is less than 1 minute, big difference.

    I play alot at home, got a copy of Server 2003 installed and running at the moment, thinking of putting Server 2008 R2 on soon, were ment to be getting and upgrade at some point this year.

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    cbeeching's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick replies there!

    Yeah I do feel I should use the support more than I should, and I think I definitely will be phoning them up soon to discuss some big changes the Headteacher has in mind. He's looking to ditch desktops and go ALL wireless laptops.. which I just know is going to be a headache and a half!

    Also RM have been in touch with me to discuss moving from CC3 to CC4 which i'm slightly dubious about. Seems like it's so expensive, and it also seems that most things can be achieved through standard windows processes. Maybe i'm just being ignorant though..

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    we had ranger installed when i started (similar sort of thing), paying about £500 a year i think, i stripped it out in the first 4 months and changed it all over to vbscripts and gpo objects, need to write a c++ app to replace one function it could do (application blocking by title bar words)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbeeching View Post

    If anybody could offer even the smallest piece of advice Iíd be very grateful.

    Thanks for your time.
    1) Make friends with someone in each dept.
    2) Don't hide in your office / cupboard - go drink coffee in the staff room, even if it's rubbish coffee.
    3) Consider reading up on Nagios / Cacti to fix problems before your users are aware of them.

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    cbeeching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    1) Make friends with someone in each dept.
    2) Don't hide in your office / cupboard - go drink coffee in the staff room, even if it's rubbish coffee.
    3) Consider reading up on Nagios / Cacti to fix problems before your users are aware of them.
    Hehe, I don't get much peace in my office anyway! It's like the central hub for all teacher gossip as its just off the main corridor and I share it with two other members of general admin. The staff are all fine really, though I am slightly outnumbered, with only 3 or 4 male members of staff, none of which generally frequent the staff room except for morning meetings (it get's pretty heated in there)!

    Might check out Nagios/Cacti, on a quick google it looks a little like spiceworks? Though I might be wrong!

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    AIT
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    Hi,
    I am a network manager at the age of 20. 35 servers. 700 workstations. if you are close to the Midlands you are happy to come and take a wonder round / free training from us.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Mr Beeching, PM me, I might be able to help you out!

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    cbeeching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AIT View Post
    Hi,
    I am a network manager at the age of 20. 35 servers. 700 workstations. if you are close to the Midlands you are happy to come and take a wonder round / free training from us.
    35 Servers! I'm assuming you're not alone looking after all that! What do you use to manage them? That's nice of you to offer, though i'm down near Stevenage so a bit of a trek away.

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    AIT
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbeeching View Post
    35 Servers! I'm assuming you're not alone looking after all that! What do you use to manage them? That's nice of you to offer, though i'm down near Stevenage so a bit of a trek away.
    Indeed there are 3 other members to our team. We manage 5 of our feeder primary schools as well.

    Our servers range from linux to windows 2003 - 2008R2.

    We have central monitoring software that runs statistics of running processes/log files. However other than that log into them and check there working ok. program is called "whats up gold". however there are open source versions that do the same job.

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    Ahh, a fellow Music tech guy that came to the dark side. Welcom to the club.

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    Im 23 and have been working in schools for 7 years now. I started as a basic techy, quickly worked my way to Network Manager, moved jobs and now I manage various Schools and Businesses all around Pontefract, Wakefield and further.

    Dan

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    I shall move this to general chat.
    Learning Network Manager is not a request, but a piece of software!

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