What Are Data Centre Operations? (With Career Options)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 September 2022 | Published 2 May 2022

Updated 22 September 2022

Published 2 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Computer servers and networks store sensitive and critical information on these systems and it's essential for employers to safeguard them. Data centre professionals encompass a range of careers that work to ensure that hardware and technological equipment operate securely and properly. Understanding what data centre operations entail and the various careers in it can help you decide if this is the right field for you. In this article, we discuss what data centre operations are, explain why companies use cloud data centres, outline the various careers in the field and provide steps on how to pursue them.

What are data centre operations?

Data centre operations involve establishing and managing network resources, guaranteeing data centre security and monitoring power and cooling systems. Because of the rise of cloud computing, data centres are facing the pressure to modernise, including updated procedures that make use of virtualisation and automation. Components of data centre encompass network equipment such as a security system, routers and storage, computing hardware, management systems and power management equipment.

Data centres comprise real or virtual servers that have internal and external linkages via networking and communication equipment to store, move and access digital information. Each server has a storage space, CPU and memory which are comparable to a desktop computer but with greater capability. Data centres utilise various software programs to cluster computers and share the workload among them.

Related: Examples of Data Mining Applications and Selection Criteria

Work environment of data centre professionals

A data centre technician's work entails a variety of diverse activities while providing critical assistance to a team. Due to the non-stop nature of the data centre, it's not uncommon for data centre professionals to work shifts. These professionals may work evenings, weekends and public holidays. As emergencies can occur anytime, they're often on call and ready to return to work on short notice.

Related: What Does a Shift Manager Do? (With Requirements and Salary)

Why do companies use cloud data centres?

Businesses are quickly migrating to employ data centre and cloud considering that outsourcing IT and infrastructure provides several benefits to businesses, such as:

  • Lower startup costs: When a company builds its own IT infrastructure, the upfront fees and initial investment are some of the biggest expenses. Nevertheless, when they outsource their infrastructure expenditures, they become an operating expense rather than a capital investment.

  • Less expensive: It's costly to create and maintain the number of servers required to meet traffic surges or plan for crises. When businesses outsource their servers, they effectively share the costs with other businesses.

  • More adaptable and scalable: Data centres can manage traffic surges better, grow with your business and are simple to build for SaaS companies.

Careers in the data centres

Data centres often change to fulfil the expectations of both the industry and its clients. From sustainability to efficiency, the numerous disciplines involved are getting more complex, implying that job advancement inside the data centre environment is far from conventional. Demonstrating transferable talents that allow you to lend your services across a variety of areas is becoming increasingly vital, which can lead to speciality managerial opportunities. The following are some job roles in the data centre field that you may pursue:

  • Data centre environmental and safety technician: This technician examines any safety concerns when delivering environmental training while providing assistance and monitoring the numerous environmental, health and safety operations within the data centres.

  • Data centre test engineer: These engineers are in charge of setting up environments to test PC and network solutions within the data centre, while also revealing any faults and identifying main contributing variables.

  • Infrastructure architect: Infrastructure architects are normally in charge of any supporting services such as power and cooling.

  • Data centre technician: A data centre technician is essentially a computer hardware specialist who assists in the installation and maintenance of data servers and network equipment. They frequently have in-depth knowledge of data centre infrastructure and the capacity to handle any technical issues that may develop.

  • Data centre manager: Data centre managers are responsible for monitoring and managing the overall operation of the facilities. It's critical that data centre managers have a broad awareness of all things data centre-related, from the network and operating system comprehension to knowing the proper protocols and processes.

  • Data centre electrical engineer: Working as a hardware engineer in a team that helps design and create software, hardware and networking technologies, your career takes you from small scale initiatives to large volume manufacturing.

  • Data centre maintenance planner: As a data centre maintenance plan, you are to communicate both internally and with clients on a regular basis. You enable the smooth implementation of the different planning and scheduling processes by preparing needs for clients and managing complete project lifecycles and offering equipment knowledge and technical experience to improve preventative maintenance duties.

  • Data centre control systems staff engineer: This position typically requires at least ten years of experience, a suitable degree and knowledge of essential infrastructure. The typical responsibilities for the role include handling any procurement and vendor management concerns, addressing any significant electrical controls issues and providing technical assistance to the engineering and operations teams.

Related: What Is a Data Engineer? (With Guide on How to Become One)

How to find a job in data centres

With more individuals looking for desirable opportunities in the technology industry, many businesses have made the recruiting process more competitive. They do this by conducting rigorous evaluations and holding interviews in phases. Thus, it's necessary for candidates to broaden their knowledge in this field, have a great academic and professional record and hold distinctive abilities to distinguish themselves from other applicants. Discussed below are some steps you may consider taking when pursuing a career in the data centre:

1. Get an understanding of the job

The first characteristic you need is a strong interest in your field. Determine your strengths and limitations so that you may channel your abilities into the proper job. Being passionate about data centre infrastructure and servers and network equipment repair can substantially increase your productivity and help you become a stronger contender for employment as a data centre professional. You may consider taking courses, reading books or blogs and listening to related podcasts to learn more about the field.

Related: What Does a Data Analyst Do? Definition and Job Duties

2. Obtain formal training and education in data centre infrastructure

A diploma is often the minimal prerequisite for an entry-level job as a data centre professional. Note that many employers would prefer those with a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering or a similar discipline. You might also pursue higher education and study disciplines, such as computer programming and system design.

Related: 10 Most Essential Data Analysis Skills

3. Pursue certifications

Consider enrolling in and passing a data centre certification programme. A data centre certification may improve your grasp of networking technology and shows that you have up-to-date knowledge and training on data centre best practices. Passing a certification test demonstrates that you have the knowledge and expertise to instal switching and routing protocols, security features and overlay networks in a data centre. Because of the growing prominence of the technology industry, there's a myriad of learning possibilities accessible, both online and offline. Outlined below are two common data centre certifications to consider:

  • Certified Data Centre Management Professional (CDCMP): The certification encompasses important themes such as data centre management and fundamental design concerns, while the professional unit provides advice on management topics and commercial strategies. Other certificates offered via worldwide training provider CNet Training include Certified Data Centre Design Professional (CDCDP) and Certified Data Centre Energy Professional (CDCEP), among many more.

  • Data Centre Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP): Obtaining a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Data Centre certificate is one of the most sought-after qualifications available. This certification focuses on technological architecture and solutions.

Related: How to Become Data Scientist: Skills, Education and Salary

4. Look for training opportunities to gain hands-on experience.

You may consider looking for a training or internship programme that can provide you with hands-on experience with network and server maintenance. Data centre positions are competitive and companies frequently prefer individuals with direct expertise installing and testing data centre equipment and systems. Obtaining this technical knowledge through a training programme may help you secure a full-time job as a data centre professional.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles