Networking: A Beginner's Guide
his book is a soup-to-nuts beginner's guide to networking. Before delving into
the bits and bytes of networking, which are covered in the rest of the book, you
should start by understanding the whys and wherefores of networking.
This chapter discusses networking from a business perspective. You'll learn about
the benefits that networking brings a company and the different types of networking
jobs available. You'll also discover how networks are supported from the business
perspective, and how you can begin a career in networking. Finally, you'll learn about the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and how its requirements affect networking professionals.
Understanding Networking: The Corporate Perspective
To be truly effective in the field of networking, you need to start by understanding
networking from the corporate perspective. Why are networks important to
companies? What do they accomplish for the company? How can networking
professionals more clearly meet the needs of the company with the networks that they
build and maintain? It's important to realize that there are no single correct answers
to these questions. Every company will have different needs and expectations with
regard to their network. What is important is that you learn the relevant questions to
ask about networking for your company and arrive at the best possible answers to
those questions for your particular company. Doing so will ensure that the company's
network best meets its needs.
What Does the Company Need?
There are many possible reasons that a company might need or benefit from a network.
In order to understand your particular company, you should start by exploring the
following questions. You may need to ask a variety of different people in the company
their perspective on these questions. Some of the managers that you may need to
interview include the chief executive officer or owner, the chief financial officer, and
the heads of the various key departments within the company, such as manufacturing,
sales and marketing, accounting, purchasing and materials, retail operations, and so
forth. The range of managers that you interview will depend on the type of business in
which the company is engaged.
It's important that you first start by understanding the business itself and the business-
oriented perspectives of these different individuals and the people in their departments.
Consider the following questions for each of these key areas of the organization:
What is their function for the company?
How do their objectives tie into the company objectives?
What are the key goals for their function in the coming year? How about in the
coming five years?
What do they see as the chief challenges to overcome in achieving their objectives?