The right skills for SAN projects

If your company has recently built or is planning to build a SAN, getting assigned to the project could be a nice career boost. According to Gartner Inc. analyst Robert Passmore, the skills that companies find toughest to acquire for these projects revolve around storage management. And often IT employees with systems management backgrounds possess those skills, which include a thorough knowledge of the operating system and database for each application on the SAN.

Business skills and "soft skills" are a must as well, hiring managers say. Communication can be especially important. "When working on a SAN, you can't just grab a project and run with it on your own or you'll configure yourself into a box," says Bill Voegele, manager of Supervalu Inc.'s enterprise storage group. "You've got to forward-think and work well with others, to ask if certain approaches will put you behind the eight ball as the technology and standards emerge."

The good news is that SAN expertise is a portable skill, according to Leah Blaylock, a recruiter at Atlanta-based Lucas Group, an IT search firm. While Blaylock finds few companies looking specifically for storage professionals in this economy -- "Everybody wants a generalist these days," she says -- job hunters with experience building and maintaining SANs possess a combination of systems administration and networking expertise that ensures their resumes will get a close look.

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