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Network Systems Specialist

Date: May, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Manager, Infrastructure Support
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering


Main Campus


USG 10
37.5 hours per week

Primary Purpose

The Network Systems Specialist (Specialist) is responsible for the management, daily operation, security and performance of the information technology infrastructure and systems. The Specialist provides infrastructure support for complex system and interconnected technologies that require day-to-day support and administration in order to maintain optimum performance and utilization. S/he configures and manages LINUX/UNIX operating systems, troubleshoots, maintains integrity and configures network components along with implementing systems enhancements to improve reliability and performance. The Specialist is also responsible for maintaining the department’s website presence as a key marketing and communications tool.

Key Accountabilities:


Administration of Department Network Infrastructure

  • Provides technical services including systems design, planning, hardware/software installation, operations, maintenance, and upgrades to systems and infrastructure components which support the department’s daily operating functions;
  • Serve as a senior systems administrator for UNIX/Linux servers and services;
  • Monitor system performance and utilization;
  • Install, configure, and document new servers and applications;
  • Maintain and audit user accounts
  • Manage fileserver utilization (shared folders, quotas, etc.)
  • Track vulnerabilities and apply appropriate patches and upgrades;
  • Generate statistics for operational review and planning;
  • Monitor the design of the network and recommend improvements;
  • Connect various computing platforms to the network and configure for optimum performance;
  • Install and/or configure network servers, switches, network printers, and other network appliances;
  • Diagnose and troubleshoot hardware, software and other network problems, including resolve system emergencies;
  • Manage backup, storage and retrieval functions.



Network Security

  • Manage network security across the department and research groups;
  • Maintain servers and system security according to campus standards;
  • Install and monitor malware, anti-virus software and SSL certificates to ensure secure connections from web servers;
  • Proactively apply patches for hardware and OS;
  • Implement network security measures to maintain the electronic security infrastructure.




  • Act a resource person and advisor to faculty, staff, researchers, and students on matters relating to the network and other general computing hardware matters;
  • Provide advice and direction maintenance, upgrade and/or repair of hardware;
  • Manage software CMC Microsystems licensing agreements for entire University to enable multi-disciplinary research and complex prototype microsystems;
  • Work with researchers and CMC to resolve product problems and investigate solutions.



Maintain the Department Website

  • Acts as Site Manager for the department website and controls user access for content editing;
  • Provide advice and direction relating to the design, creation, maintenance and presentation of web pages;
  • Monitor the ECE website to assure it stays online, functions without flaw and assures users a rich online experience;
  • Liaise between IST, the Faculty and department users to ensure consistent uWaterloo branding and image are preserved;
  • Stay up to date on the web’s latest technologies and make sure the site and its products are always mobile-friendly and multi-platform ready.


Other Duties

  • Represent ECE on Engineering Systems Administrator Group to discuss upgrades and long-term planning;
  • Undertake research and development activities to maximize the use of systems and software including integration strategies.
  • Maintains appropriate professional designations and up-to-date knowledge of current information technology techniques and software;
  • Develops, documents and implements technical support operating procedures;
  • Stays current with technological developments related to computer hardware, software and networks;
  • Special projects and other duties as assigned by the Manager or Lab Director Research & Special Projects.

Position Requirements


Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering/Computer Science/Information Systems or equivalent combination of education and related experience.
Knowledge about web navigation design, search engine optimization and information architecture.
The incumbent must keep pace with technology, departmental, Faculty, and institutional requirements and the evolving nature and scope of information technology


5-10 years’ experience providing Unix/Linux systems administration support for large scale complex environments. Programming experience and experience with backup systems necessary.




Expertise with Linux/Unix operating systems and the application software associated with it.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Proficient Basic Not required

Expert - Operating Systems: Linux/Unix

Intermediate - Website management: Linux server set up, Adobe Dreamweaver, Flash, Contribute, Photoshop, Fireworks, Lightroom

Expert - HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, WCMS 
Proficient - Mac OS -OS X

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, works closely with faculty, staff, students and researchers within the department to resolve their network issues. Works with other departments e.g. Engineering Computing, Information Systems & Technology (IST), as required. S/he must be able to understand and communicate complex technical concepts effectively to clients or groups with a wide range of technical knowledge that is at a level consistent with user’s proficiency.

Works collaboratively with IST and Engineering Computing staff to resolve technology issues and ensure the appropriate support for systems and core processes. Attends a variety of meetings to convey and/or gather information required to perform job functions.

Externally, liaises with software vendors.

Level of Responsibility:

The Specialist manages a department-wide function that is highly specialized. The decisions and actions taken by the incumbent will have a direct impact on how efficiently and effectively the research systems will perform and function. S/he must ensure that these technologies are adequately supported within a technically diverse environment with conflicting priorities. S/he recommends solutions or enhancements to systems and processes, and provides guidance on. Coordinates user defined requirements between various departments for the purpose of ensuring integration and achievement of departmental objectives. The Specialist must understand the impact of technical changes on business processes and leverage common approaches and resources between areas.

Decision-Making Authority:

The Developer works independently to achieve objectives. S/he handles routine and non-routine inquiries that require independent judgement, technical expertise, and quick decision-making. S/he may decide when and how to affect the working environments of clients. Sophisticated problem solving and prioritizing abilities in a multi-task environment is required.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of a position operating within an office environment. Periodic need to lift and manipulate computing equipment, typically workstation class equipment up to 20 kg but occasionally servers, large printers, displays, etc.   Occasional exposure to hardware located in machine rooms. 

Working Environment:

The position requires balancing competing demands of short and long term projects, periodic interruptions when engaged in focused work, and the awareness that any errors may damage large numbers of computing systems and/or affect the ability of clients and peers throughout the department and in some cases the entire University to accomplish their jobs.  S/he must be able to deal with the pressure of multiple, concurrent demands for service in a fast paced and occasionally intense environment. Travel to faculty and staff offices, classrooms or labs is regularly required. Occasional work outside normal business hours may be required due to special events (Capstone Design Week), or to deploy new technology/maintain existing systems to minimize disruption to clients.