Learn as much as you can about computer networks, other IT infrastructure, and careers in the field by reading books (such as Networking All-in-One For Dummies, by Doug Lowe), watching YouTube videos, taking computer networking classes, joining IT clubs, attending IT-related summer exploration programs, and talking with NOC technicians about their jobs. You should also participate in student competitions to build your skills and meet people with shared interests. SkillsUSA is a national membership organization for middle school, high school, and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in technical, trade, and skilled service occupations. It offers several computer-related competitions. For example, in its Information Technology Services competition, contestants are tasked with configuring and securing networks, using troubleshooting software and tools, identifying the origin of virus and malwares, and performing other tasks. Visit http://www.skillsusa.org for more information.
Network operations center technicians monitor computer networks and other types of IT infrastructure for failure or errors in performance. When they detect a problem, they perform a fault analysis (analyzing live data, log files, and other information) to determine if they can resolve the issue on their own or with other technicians who are on site.
If the technician cannot solve the problem, he or she creates a trouble ticket that is sent to a higher-skilled technician, NOC engineer, computer security professional, product vendor, or other worker who has the expertise to solve the problem.
Regardless of how the problem is solved, the technician must prepare detailed documentation of the type of issue, what was done to solve it, and other information that will be useful should the problem reoccur.
NOC technicians who work for companies that manage networks and other IT infrastructure for other businesses or organizations address client concerns and resolve technical issues via telephone, e-mail, and chat services and create performance and incidence response reports for clients.
NOC technicians perform many other duties, including maintaining reports on bandwidth usage, server utilization, uptime, and other key information; upgrading software and hardware to maintain peak system performance; working to optimize server capacity and performance to meet growing demand in network traffic; developing data security, backup, archiving, and retrieval procedures; and performing routine inspections of air-conditioning, uninterrupted power supply, and other support systems.