In October 2010, Little Man Project was commissioned by Janet to complete a Skills Review. The aim was to identify the key skills of network operations staff working in universities and colleges in the UK. Janet is the network dedicated to the needs of research and education in the UK. It connects the UK’s research and education institutions to each other, as well as to the rest of the world through links to the global Internet. In addition to the physical network, Janet also provides a number of support services including Janet Training, which provides a portfolio of training courses for their customers.
The results of the study were a culmination of research and consultations carried out by Little Man Project with the Janet community. This included over a dozen telephone interviews with line managers and a review of over 20 job descriptions. This was followed by an online survey that received a record number of responses. The support from the Janet community was very strong and showed a clear need for work to be carried out in this area.
In addition to the consultation, a comparison was also made with the skills outlined in the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). SFIA is an international reference model designed to support the review and identification of the skills needed to effectively manage and develop ICT systems. For more information on SFIA, see their web site at http://www.sfia.org.uk/.
The results were also used to create a skills workshop, which was run at Loughborough University. This provided a unique opportunity to work directly with networking experts and in environment in which they could develop a shared understanding of their skills.
The main outcome of the study to date, is a skills table, which covers three generic roles: IT Officer, Network Officer and Senior Network Officer. These roles can be mapped to most academic settings. Each skill has then been categorised by Type and Area and includes over a hundred activities and skills.
All phases of the projects have been completed within the very ambitious timescale, and recommendations and reports have been excellent and clearly laid out. Gill has always shown great enthusiasm and drive and has been very flexible, incorporating changes and recommending different paths where she thought they would benefit the projects.Katharine Iles, Training Manager,