E68 - Laura Catalina at hSo10 July, 2023
In today’s episode Billy Holloway, our Principal Network Consultant at Hamilton Barnes was joined by Laura Catalina, a Network Engineer at hSo. Laura has been in the Networking space for 14 years now, where she started out as a NOC Engineer. Since then, she’s progressed in her career at different companies and in various roles. During the episode she discusses her experience being a woman in the Networking industry alongside the difference between being a woman in Networking in Columbia and the UK.
Laura’s original plan was to go into Electrical Engineering because she had an idea of wanting to work around robotics. Through her bachelor’s degree, she learned different areas of Engineering such as Telecommunications. She found she preferred those subjects a lot more, which lead her to work for an ISP during her studies. During her time there, a position opened up to work in their NOC as a NOC Engineer, she took the opportunity and was there for 3 years.
Coming from a background of university and doing certifications as well, many people ask the question as to what the best route into the industry is. For Laura, it’s a very difficult question because of her background. In Columbia, having a degree is an absolute must because it’s very difficult to move around without it. Your degree also has to be related to the area of work you want to go in, so you need to be very specific on what career path you want to go down. What she is seeing since she moved to the UK is that you don’t actually need a degree to go into Networking. Doing your certifications will be way more helpful because they give you the knowledge to work in different areas.
Being a woman in the tech space…
When she started her journey back to Columbia, she found she had to prove herself 10x more because people didn’t believe in her. Since moving to the UK, she felt it was a lot more inclusive for example, you don’t have to put your photo on your CV whereas in Columbia it’s a must.
If you’re considering going into Networking as your choice of career, you will need to be prepared to study a lot and actually enjoy doing it too. The industry is constantly changing and there are new technologies out every day, if you can’t keep up to date, you will be left behind. Laura suggests that you find the companies that you like and understand what their requirements are. Learn how to deal with the pressure and understand it’s separate from you. When the Network breaks, you’ll be fine, and your life isn’t at risk. So, ensuring you can remain calm and collected is essential.
Speaking of a constantly changing industry, the emerging technology that impresses Laura the most is Automation. When she was a Provisioning Engineer, she had to deal with human error a lot. When she realised Automation can solve that, it blew her mind completely. “Laura from the past would’ve loved Automation.” People need to realise that Automation won’ take the jobs away from the traditional Network Engineer but instead will help massively.
Looking toward the future, Laura plans on sticking to working in the Service Provider sector as much as she can and also learning different protocols and platforms, which will take her to a Network Engineering professional.
During our quick-fire round, Laura shares what skills a Network Engineer should have. Make sure you give the full episode a listen now!