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What networking skills does your client's in-house IT staff have?

Learn why the level of networking skills your client's in-house IT staff has will determine the nature of your engagement with the client.

What networking skills does your client's in-house IT staff have?

Finding out what skills the client has in-house is important because it determines [at] what technical level you'll be able to have your conversation, but also what technical involvement [the client] wants after the installation is done.

Meet the expert
Thomas A. Limoncelli is an internationally recognized author and speaker. He is best known for his books The Practice of System and Network Administration (with Christina J. Hogan and Strata R. Chalup), Time Management for System Administration and The Complete April Fools RFCs (with Peter J. Salus). Read more about Tom and his books at Everything Sysadmin.

Are they highly technical and just want assistance designing and spec-ing out the details of a network design, and then they're going to run the network after that? Maybe they want project management help, or the nontechnical process of making sure you're coordinating all the vendors and making sure everything gets done.

Are they just somewhat technical? Maybe they can handle add/move/change requests, but [are] not technical enough to configure new VLANs or add new connections to new buildings.

Or maybe they're not technical at all and need a fully managed solution where you're monitoring remotely and you're contacting them about periodic maintenance and that kind of thing.

More from our expert
Download Tom's FAQ podcast or read a chapter on centralized/decentralized networks from The Practice of System and Network Administration, 2nd Edition, by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christina J. Hogan and Strata R. Chalup.

Often clients want some kind of hybrid. Their requirements or their skill level for the LAN is different from the WAN. Typically [these] users can support their own LAN, ports and add/move/change requests themselves but want a more managed solution for the WAN because that's often dealing with vendors and telecoms and a whole different set of terminology.

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