Networking nettles the government

Networking nettles the government

Lokesh Mehra ,Regional manager, Corporate responsibility, Cisco South Asia

e-Governance applications in the recent past have demonstrated the important role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play in the realm of development. ICT is being increasingly used by the government to deliver services of central agencies (like district administration, cooperative union, and state and central government departments) to the citizens at their doorstep. Several Government-Citizen (G-C) e-Government pilot projects like electronic passport filing, eFIR's, Property Tax Submissions, Tax filing, etc have adopted these technologies to improve the reach, enhance efficiency, minimize the processing costs and increase transparency.
The government sector along with its range of PSUs, National e-governance Projects (NeGP) accounts for the largest consumer vertical in India. NeGP hopes to connect various arms of the government apparatus at national, state and district as well local level through e-governance. It consists of 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) encompassing nine central MMPs,11 state MMPs and seven integrated MMPs that span multiple backend ministries/departments.
State Wide Area Networks (SWANs) are a part of the core infrastructure for supporting NeGP initiatives and the Department of IT has earmarked a significant outlay for supporting this activity which has covered the entire cost of establishment, operation and maintenance of state-based WANs.
Service Providers including BSNL and MTNL are planning an increased investment in WiMAX technology to facilitate the interlock between SWANs, Data Centre and Common Service Centre (CSC) centers across the country.
NeGP is slated to be the primary driver for growth in the government space. For example, Unique ID (UID) will set up an online database with identity and biometric details of Indian residents and provide enrollment and verification services across the country. The large size of the database would entail setting up of data centres and mirror sites as well as a large outlay in infrastructure to manage this vast data
The volume of the NeGP, SWAN, UID and other urban as well as rural projects amount to a huge prospect for networking professionals to make their mark.

Need for networking professionals:
The network plays a key role in the functioning of various sectors like government and defense, manufacturing, banking, finance, insurance and IT/ITES. Worldwide enterprise network infrastructure spending has significantly increased and IT networking is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the technology industry in the coming days. The government sector is increasingly becoming dependent on the network and requires all-rounders who can take care of various aspects of network management independently and can connect the dots spanning from data centres to storage to virtualization to network security and to backup and recovery.
However, despite this increased need for networking professionals, India like many other parts of the world is facing a shortage of qualified people. While networking forms the backbone of the ICT revolution, the lack of Internet-supported education and shortage of technology-savvy workers is threatening to place the nation at a permanent disadvantage in the new economy. The increasing shortfall of networking professionals in India and the increasing skills gap in verticals like Voice, Security and Wireless is likely to arrest the growing market and the economy besides having a detrimental effect on ICT adoption across all sectors in the future.

Addressing the skills gap:
As enterprises, especially in the government sector, seek specialists for their high-end technology solutions, the growth prospects for a professional within the diverse networking domain are high. Networking professionals who wish to maximize on this opportunity can secure their future with the right choice of specialization and certifications to compliment their core networking skills. A valid certificate from a networking technology provider company acts as a value-add to all the 'on-job experience' that professionals gain. Almost all domains accept professionals with networking education certifications for example, such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). A network professional needs to choose certifications at the right stages to boost his career and match his experience level. For a beginner it makes more sense to gain some experience before going for advanced level certifications.
Aspiring network professionals benefit from globally recognized training, good communication skills, and their ability to be 'goal driven'. Their capacity to innovate and adapt to any customer's demand and situation furthers the advantage. A career in networking drives high level satisfaction and self fulfillment for both professionals and experts. The challenge is to continue learning and keep a tab on changes in technology. Learning is vital, more now than ever before since the work environment and technology changes are taking place at a much rapid pace.

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