Your Path to becoming a VOIP Administrator/Engineer?

Andey2015Andey2015 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello All,

This question is for individuals who are currently working as VOIP administrators/engineers. I'm curious to know if you were a Network administrator before becoming a VOIP administrator?

Or did you immediately seek and obtain employment as a VOIP administrator without being a Net admin?

I've been in the voice (Nortel-TDM) field for the past 8 years and am currently working towards CCNA/CCNP Voice. I'm just curious to know if I should/must do Net Admin before becoming a VOIP admin?

Your thoughts/advice are greatly appreciated! Thanks!


  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    I had some networking knowledge when I started in voice. I really didn't use it until I got based the basic Tier 1, Tier 2 troubleshooting. I would imagine that having it will keep your time in the Tier 1 world shorter as you can use it to figure out one way audio, and firewall problems much faster than a pure VoIP person.

    If you have that much background with TDM system the move into cisco won't be that hard. Your prob already more than ready to do the Tier 1-2 VoIP work as far as basic troubleshooting, setting up call routing and so on, you will just need to know the cisco way to do it. If you find a job installing larger VoIP deployments you will need very little networking as there will be a network team to do that work. If you are in the mid market the networking knowledge becomes more important, as when you do an install, you will have to do the network, firewall, and wireless.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • aaron0011aaron0011 Member Posts: 330
    I was a seasoned network admin before getting into Voice. I wouldn't say it's a requirement but knowing your way around IOS for switch and gateway configuration is required to be a competent Cisco Voice engineer.

    Good luck in your CCNP Voice journey! It's a valuable cert paired with experience.
  • DexterParkDexterPark Member Posts: 121
    I got a helpdesk job that involved low-level provisioning/troubleshooting of Cisco phones. I already had my CCNA but not a real networking background at the time. Once I started working with CUCM I got hooked on VoIP and made it a point to emphasize this experience when taking other roles and landed in a VoIP/network operations position. I stayed there for a while gained a ton of general networking and UCCE experience, then left that role to take my first Network Engineer position. A couple contracts later I got some solid engineering experience in both R/S & VoIP, and I am wanting to take both skill-sets to the next level.
    My advice to anyone looking to advance their career would be to learn DevOps tools and methodologies. Learn how to write code in languages like Python and JavaScript. Not to be a programmer, but a network automation specialist who can do the job of 10 engineers in 1/3 of the time. Create a GitHub account, download PyCharm, play with Ansible, Chef, or Puppet. Automation isn't the future, it's here today and the landscape is changing dramatically.
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I actually worked at help desks for a couple years while I obtained my CCENT and CCNA, let those lapse, then recertified. I landed an interview through a recruiter for a direct hire position with an MSP on their UC team, and landed a job as a VOIP engineer (title wise, I don't really consider myself an engineer at this stage). So I got a really, really, incredibly lucky break.
  • luberguilarteluberguilarte Member Posts: 112
    I started in voice just with a ccna R&S ( no experience ) and at that time I was studying for my ccna voice. Now, after a year of employment I'm studying for my ccnp voice. Back to the point, most likely you will be doing routing and switching as well, remember, now days we call it collaboration. To be a good voice engineer is critical to know your routing and switching, at least the basics. Says the WAN links connecting to a remote site goes down for whatever reason, how would you deal with that? Now you've remote phones not being able to register with the main site where your call processing unit reside, or even better, there's EIGRP running between sites over the MPLS network but you see that the main site subnets are not being advertised to a remote location and for that reasons phones are not able to register ( depends on the Voice deployment design). Your organization may have a different department who deals with R&S maybe not. Just study for your ccna and ccnp and that will help you to understand the entire network as a whole.

    Thank you.
  • odysiuosodysiuos Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I would directly start with the voice stuff and skip R&S because if you are not going to daily practice networking, you'll forget it and you's just wasted your time.
  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    how are you going to troubleshoot those one way audio issues, or that phone not connecting over the VPN if you don't have the basic route/switch knowledge. I deal with those at least 1-2 times a week that get escalated to me. Usually its a lack of the basics of networking that has lead to the NOC's or voip admins taking so long to solve those problems.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • odysiuosodysiuos Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    there should always be separated and specialized teams within the noc.
  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    I guess you plan on spending you career in the NOC or admin role? Nothing wrong with that if thats what you choose. The question was how did you become a voip administrator/engineer. In my post above I mentioned that a lot of times voice admin's or the noc is lacking the basic networking knowledge which leads to long turn around times on simple issues. A lot of enterprises don't have specialized noc's and even the MSP's out here don't, which means there is a need to know some networking even though you are taking care of the VoIP task that come in. In the very large enterprises/ISP's they can have separate groups, but most people will be working for much smaller companies as there are many of them. Hope this clears somethings up. I would like to hear your prospective onto why you don't need it outside of NOC environments?
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • azaghulazaghul Member Posts: 569 ■■■■□□□□□□
    odysiuos wrote: »
    there should always be separated and specialized teams within the noc.

    In a ideal world maybe, but I'm yet to find that beast. icon_lol.gif
  • TechnoracerTechnoracer Member Posts: 105 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Shortly after getting my CCNA R&S I got an IT Intern position with a small manufacturing company. After working there for two months I got picked up by a major contracting firm to work for a large corporation as a Cisco Voice Administrator. I'm, currently, studying for CCNA Voice, as I get the practical knowledge of using the CUCM and Voice Gateways and swithches at work.
  • Magic JohnsonMagic Johnson Member Posts: 414
    I got CCENT, then got a job as a voice engineer (I guess they saw the potential, rather than the current skill set!), anyway I got my CCNA and have been in the job 5 months, I can tell you now from my experience so far that 90% of any issues are down to connectivity or LAN configuration, rather than anything to do with the phones or management device. allout.gif
  • PCHoldmannPCHoldmann Member Posts: 450
    I came through the network admin path, but voice experience can be at least as valuable.

    In the end, you will need both (at least some) network and voice experience, so it is just a matter of which one you are adding.
    There's no place like ^$
    Visit me at Route, Switch, Blog
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