Profiles in Networking: Michael Martin

Here is the first in a series of profiles of networking professionals who stand out from the pack.

Network management is not for the meek or the mild.

In fact, good networking professionals are a lot like good surgeons They need to be bold, yet sensitive. They have to be brave enough to venture into the most complicated corporate computer morass, but take time to understand it. They must be able to see the big picture and all the painful little details. They have to figure out which technologies are going to last and which are just a marketer's dream.

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This is the first in a series of profiles of network managers who stand out in this already elite crowd. The series will include networking experts who also serve as site experts for SearchNetworking.com and other notable networking professionals.

Michael Martin, networking architect

Name: Michael Martin

Lives: Ridgefield, Conn.

Job: Information technology architect, site expert for SearchNetworking.com

Age: 32

Education: Manhattanville College, bachelor's degree in philosophy and history

Work experience: I began doing system support for personal computers, Apples and Unix systems in the early 1990s. As networks grew and became more complex, I learned on the job how to build larger scalable networks.

Toughest networking crisis: The bulk of my career has been cleaning up, fixing networks that were implemented by someone who didn't have a full understanding of what they were doing. My biggest challenge is convincing people to do things right, to start out building secure, scalable networks.

Favorite piece of hardware or software: The Unix work station. It's so versatile you can do anything with it.

Non-tech job experience: Roadie for bands like Jane's Addiction and Ministry.

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, sea kayaking.

Favorite movie: "The Godfather"

Favorite Song: "Anything," by U2

Favorite book: "A Prayer for Owen Meany," by John Irving

Favorite Web site: Google.com

Networking mentor: I look up to all of the people who develop open source tools. They are the people that drive the innovation for what we do. That is what drew me into computing in the first place.

Advice for new networking administrators: Be open to other people's opinions.

What do you like best about your career: Networking is like being a kid and playing with an erector set. When you build a new network, you're creating something out of nothing. And once you've created it, it's almost like a dynamic organism that changes and reinvents itself again.

What do you like the least: The vanity. Networking engineers tend to be a little arrogant.

We welcome nominations of your favorite networking experts for this series. Send your suggestions along to Jim Rendon, News Writer

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