Technical Support Engineer
Robert Johnson
Employer: Qwest Communications Corporation

Position description:
As a member of the Network Events Management Center, I am responsible for coordinating customer-impacting events on the Qwest Networks and submitting required regulatory reports. I accomplished the resolution of major outages through event correlation, coordination of people, conference call management, and cooperation with the groups within Qwest. These groups include the PSTN focus groups as well as the Ethernet and transport focus groups. I am also responsible for proactively monitoring inter-switch voice trunk groups for call blocking.

Photo: Robert Johnson
How They Got There
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Undergrad degree:  Electrical Engineering

Favorite class in college:  EE 345S Digital Signal Processing Lab

College to career:  I would not be on my current path without my Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. I used my B.S. candidacy to obtain an internship and it all went from there.

Career influences:  My choice to be employed with Qwest came through my internship with them. I was originally hired into Qwest it was into a Tier III (technical escalation) group. It was an awesome job. When that group went away, I was rolled into my current position.

The Ups and Downs
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Pros:
  • I am reactive to situations - as in if there is nothing going on, I have free time.
  • I have to watch the news all day so that I can figure out why we may have impact.
  • You get to know about, and be involved with, everything major that ever happens in 14 states.

  • Cons:
  • When you have a fiber cut that takes down thousands of customers and prevents a town from calling 911 it can get rather stressful.
  • I have to do a lot of mindless paperwork.
  • You have a wide audience watching your work, and are under intense scrutiny.


  • Recommendations
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    I was 6 months out from graduation and I had been interviewing with everyone possible - with no luck. I was freaking out because I had never had an internship, my grades were not that good, and the economy was starting to tank.

    All I can say is do not give up. Yes, this is easy to say for someone who got an internship his last semester (be it at the last minute) which turned into a full-time job in Austin. However, please never give up because even for the not so good GPA average student...things can still work out - but only if you keep trying.

    I would also suggest obtaining your CCNA Certification if you ever want to go into Computer Networks.