Technical College Teaches Network Monitoring with HelpSystems Software
Think back to your first IT job. Did you know what you were doing? Stories abound of brand-new IT technicians being thrown into roles with poorly configured networks, few resources, and nonexistent budgets—often as the company’s only dedicated IT person.
At Canada’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, students are preparing for their own technology careers. Many will be hired before they graduate. But unlike the stereotypically nightmarish experiences many new IT professionals face, the faculty and staff at NAIT want to equip students to not only succeed at their first jobs, but to quickly move up the ladder.
That’s why we’re excited that this month, a cohort of 23 students will begin using HelpSystems network monitoring solutions to learn how to manage and monitor networks of their own.
Hands-On Network Management
Early in the school’s Bachelor of Applied Information Systems Technology program, students learn network fundamentals, such as how traffic flows, routing, and switching. Next, as part of a class on “Protocol Analysis and Network Management,” students study the big picture of network management, including how to map a network infrastructure and monitor it in real time.
In order to develop real-world network management experience, each student will have Intermapper installed on their own workstation. They’ll use Intermapper to create maps, monitor the college’s routers, switches, and servers, and learn what to do when things go wrong.
Professor John Zabiuk says he wants students to understand how to manage the big picture of network administration, as opposed to a particular device. Having benefitted from using Intermapper in his own IT career, Zabiuk has found the software’s ability to visually depict what’s happening in the network at any given time to be extremely powerful.
While the college could use free IT solutions for their educational purposes, Zabiuk says the options out there are often clunky, hard to configure, and unreliable. “I want to show students what a real enterprise class network management system can do for them,” he says. “I want them to see the value of network management as opposed to the pain.”
By giving students exposure to real software tools, Zabiuk hopes to equip students with working knowledge that they can apply right away when they leave the college’s campus. “We prepare students for the real world—not a theoretical world,” he says. “All of our instructors, we’re all industry professionals. We know what actually happens. This is how we can best direct them.”
As NAIT students get their feet wet with Intermapper this month, we’re grateful to play a part in their education and hope to continue to support students like them in their pursuit of practical IT skills.
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