Becoming a Voice / VOIP Engineer is a highly rewarding career path for those interested in communications. If you are interested in creating networks that enable people from all corners of the globe to have rich, multi-media communications.The title “Voice Engineer” or “VOIP Engineer” can imply different things. All of these variables are set by the industry you are working in. The work of an Enterprise VOIP Engineer and a service Provider VOIP Engineer greatly differ.
For example your job duties as an Enterprise VOIP Engineer may include creating VXML scripts for call centers, creating call flows, and running a small to midsize network. Your job may also require you to support the installation of new locations and taking support calls from end-users. Working for a service provider is a completely different ballgame. If you work for a large service provider your job role might be limited to a specific role. If you work for a smaller provider you may be expected to take a “jack of all trades” position that could encompass telecom, networking, and systems.
Most VOIP platforms run on a variant of Linux. Obviously Lync is an exception to this rule. I cannot emphasize learning the Linux CLI enough. You need to know basic commands such as “cp, cat, less, more, SCP, ssh, grep, egrep, vim, vi, ps, top”. I’m not going to provide an in-depth analysis of these commands in this guide. I’ll leave that to a Linux Expert. In terms of networking hardware Cisco is still the most common. I suggest learning at least CCNA level routing and switching. You will also need to have an understanding of how QOS works and how it can be utilized at different layers of the OSI model.
When I renewed my CCNA certification in 2008 I took a course from Chris Bryant. I believe I purchased a workbook for $99, and the video boot camp for $250. Nowadays you can get this for much less. Chris has a CCNA boot camp available for only $30. He does a phenomenal job of explaining concepts. I HIGHLY recommend this course to anyone interest in IT. Having some Cisco experience will not hurt you in your job search!
Getting your hands on Cisco gear isn’t difficult, but it does require some money. eBay is a great place to pick up older routers and switches. If you can get your hands on the right Cisco IOS you can also use GNS3 to emulate a network.In 2010 I used GNS3 to emulate a large service provider network. I spent hours building out BGP peering environments, multi VRF MPLS networks, and network segments that used every routing protocol possible. GNS3 is free and can emulate Cisco routers and firewalls. They have an active community on their site that runs contests to keep users engaged.
Some service providers utilize Juniper in their core networks. I have not come across an enterprise that uses Juniper yet, however, I’m sure they exist.When I was with Vonage we started to replace Cisco gear with Juniper. After logging into a Juniper switch I noticed that the command line is a lot like Vyos. Vyos is the Opensource community fork of Vyatta which was purchased by Brocade a few years ago.