Career Profile: Damir Stilinovic, Senior Network Engineer
Employer: A large service provider in Croatia
In the 15 years that Damir Stilinovic has been in information technology, his career path has been characterized by his love of learning and change. With each new position, he has sought out opportunities to do great work and to be personally challenged by the tasks at hand. After spending some years searching, Damir has found the right balance of challenges and rewards (including pay) for his work. Born and raised in Croatia, Damir now works for a telecommunications company in Zagreb. He is also a part-time instructor for the Cisco Networking Academy in Croatia.
For the first eight years of his career, Damir worked as an administrator for IBM mainframes in a large financial services institution. From that experience, he realized he wanted a career in which he would be continually learning. "Cisco certifications offered me a systematic way to study, learn, and practice that the other technologies I'd worked with lacked," said Damir. In 2001, he attended the Cisco Networking Academy, and it changed his path.
"After I got my Cisco CCNA and CCNP certifications-a two-year process-my first actual networking position was a network support engineer with a financial institution in Zagreb," said Damir. For over two years, he administered and managed network security for a large enterprise network. Though he was closer to his goals, he found this environment didn't offer him the pace of change he was looking for. "In my search for more variety in my work environment, I started teaching Cisco networking courses for a small company, but the role lacked the stability and salary I was used to," said Damir.
In 2006, he started working in the telecommunications sector as a senior network engineer with a large service provider. His responsibilities included provisioning network equipment and offering services such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) L3 VPNs, remote access to MPLS VPNs, and firewall services on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 switch. "Working in telecom offers me more on-the-job challenges as an engineer than working for a large enterprise. It requires the development of my ‘soft skills' because I am interacting directly with the customer." Damir says his most important soft skills are relationship-building and being able to communicate effectively with customers.
Damir now has responsibilities for development and testing of new network services, doing technical education, and providing second and third lines of support for the network provisioning team. He also sometimes pitches in with presales support and professional services. All of this, combined with his part-time role teaching networking courses, has given his career the satisfying variety he's been looking for.
As a child, Damir was inspired by children's books to become a firefighter, but he ended up with a university degree in electrical engineering instead. Damir says his Cisco Networking Academy instructors were influential people in his life, and he learned a great deal from them. In the future, he would like to go into network consulting or become a network architect. Damir received his Cisco CCIE certification in 2011, and thinks that the Cisco CCDE certification also offers an attractive career path worth considering.
Damir Stilinovic spoke with Cisco Learning Network Community Manager Rachel Medanic in August 2008.