Toon Vanoeteren, Network & Security Support Engineer
Toon started at Cegeka in 2018 as an intern within the Public Cloud Department. He is currently a Network & Security Support Engineer.
Toon tells us about his job with enthusiasm, about the impact he makes here, the high fun factor in his team & the journey he was able to follow within Cegeka. A journey he would immediately take again if he could choose again tomorrow.
Why do you love your job so much?
"There are several aspects of this job that I enjoy, but on a technical level I always compare it to putting a puzzle together. Even if you've been in the business for years, every day you get a puzzle that is new again or that is a new variation of an old one.
It's very easy to get so caught up in a problem that you actually lose your sense of time so you never really feel like a day is too long. It's a job where you're going to have a good practical way of seeing network aspects in action.
Personally, in school I always found it difficult to understand the impact of all those settings with tiny examples, but once you start implementing changes and investigating incidents in a customer environment, the whole picture starts to click together very quickly. Over the years, I have felt that I became stronger in my position to tackle any problem, and my self-confidence has grown. Something I find very valuable!"
What impact can you create?
"The main impact, of course, lies in what you can do for your clients. You quickly forget what that impact can actually be when you're dealing with the technical aspects of the work. From an engineer's perspective, it sometimes seems like you're "just" going to change a firewall rule or you're creating some routing on a router or you see a typo somewhere in a configuration that you can correct.
These may seem like small things on their own sometimes, but you should never forget what these "small" things actually do. They can make the difference for an airplane to take off on time, a bank to make its payments, a webshop to make its services available, you name it!"
What tools do you come into contact with?
"Honestly, I don't really think there is any aspect of the networking world that we don't look at some point. In the network team you learn to work with load balancers (Citrix/F5), firewalls (Check Point, FortiGate, Palo Alto, ...), proxies, routers, switches (Cisco, HP, Aruba), and by the time you read this, something new will have been added. It's a very dynamic world where we are always keeping up with the latest and greatest.
This of course also means that you will be dealing with aspects that are not immediately in line with the familiar traditional image of the network world. So you will also come into contact with both automation of repetitive tasks and for example working in the public Cloud (Azure, AWS, ...).
This may seem overwhelming at first, but eventually you'll learn to see the parallels and realize that your basic knowledge is actually the key to understanding how each tool works. In this way, you are a multi-talented engineer who can stand very strong within the IT world."
How high is the level of fun in your team?
"During my school years, it was often said among students that working in any large company meant that you were actually just a number and that there was no room for a personal touch.
Working at Cegeka has actually completely changed my opinion of that assumption. The team I ended up in, consists of all sorts of great people who often make you laugh. Everyone is always very inclusive and you can always find someone to chat with.
Outside of work the colleagues often meet up for dinner or drinks, and of course there is our annual team event."
What would you still like to achieve in this role?
"The thing I strive for within my current field is to keep customer satisfaction high and to offer the highest possible quality. These are essential steps that you should strive to achieve in whatever direction you ultimately choose to go. As you get more experience and you also get new colleagues, it is also important that you can be a kind of a mentor for them so that there will always be a healthy cycle. Those are all the aspects I can think of about what you can set as a goal for yourself."
How could you continue to grow within Cegeka?
"In addition to the question above, there are indeed a few areas where you can grow further into. If you found the most fascinating aspect of the second line to be the troubleshooting part, and you are prepared to take on the bigger impact situations and analyze them in greater depth, then you will grow into the third line. Here you will serve as an escalation point for your colleagues in second line or participate in larger changes.
On the other hand, if you are more interested in setting up customer environments and everything that comes with it, then you also have the opportunity to grow into the projects team. Here you will get the chance to work on a project basis and to provide new customers with their network in Cegeka, as well as to do larger upgrades for existing customers, for example.
There is also the option of becoming an architect. Then you get the role of focusing on the overall design of a customer."
Why should people choose this role?
"I encourage everyone to consider this job if you really want to develop your role as a network engineer. You are going to learn an awful lot and this is going to give you an excellent idea of exactly how this IT world works.
During your journey you are going to have a lot of fun and challenges, meet great people and you will always be up to date with the professional standards of the job market. Because you're working with several teams, you'll not only learn about your own work but also about that of your colleagues, which will make you better at recognizing problem areas in general. It is a job with many directions for growth and you will be able to end each day knowing that you helped people out of need.
If I ever had the chance to push a reset button and to be able to choose a first job again, I would have made this choice again."