UMIACS Networking Engineer Works to Keep Everyone Connected

Feb 05, 2021

COVID-19 has changed the way we learn, do work, conduct research, and so much more. With so many people working from home, network engineers are challenged to ensure that employees stay connected via videoconferencing, virtual collaboration tools and numerous other network-driven technologies.

“I like how network engineering connects the world, and it’s even more important during times like this,” says Jisha Jesudass (on right in photo), a network engineer for the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Jesudass says she became interested in science and technology at a young age, understanding that it was a booming field with lots of opportunities. In 2013, she received her Bachelor of Science in electronics and communication engineering from Anna University in Tamil Nadu, India, then went on to work as a senior analyst for HCL Technologies for two years.

After gaining experience in the field, Jesudass came to the University of Maryland for her master’s in telecommunications and technology, working part-time for the Division of IT Network Operations Center while earning her degree.

Jesudass started work as a network engineer for UMIACS in 2018. One of her first tasks was contributing to the design of the networking infrastructure for the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, where UMIACS is based.

Jesudass says the building has more than 90 networking switches that comprise the network. Each switch has around 48 ports, with the Iribe Center currently boasting both 10G and 40G bandwidth capabilities.

“The initial deployment and configuration of the network devices was very exciting as we got to do everything from scratch—upgrading the network devices; installing the UPS devices, switches, servers and networking printers; connecting the different labs and network closets; and more,” she says. “We currently have more than 150 workstations in Iribe that we’re responsible for.”

Derek Yarnell, director of computing facilities for UMIACS and Jesudass’s supervisor, says Jesudass is a valuable member of the UMIACS technical staff.

“Over the past three years, Jisha has shown amazing personal growth and has delivered on the qualities that make the UMIACS Technical Staff great—high character, exceptional expertise and a willingness to grow every day,” he says.

Before the pandemic, Jesudass could be found helping faculty and staff at their workstations or working on equipment in the building. Now, she mainly works from home, but is occasionally onsite when needed.

A typical day for her involves working on network tasks or end-user issues. If there is a network issue, it will involve more troubleshooting, she says. When there are no issues, her work involves mostly planning and optimization projects.

Even though the technical staff is physically separated right now, Jesudass says she enjoys the spirit of collaboration and support, and appreciates all of the hands-on experience she is receiving.

“I enjoy the unique challenges the job presents and the exposure to new technology,” she says. “It’s an environment where I can push my boundaries. I have learned so much since I started working at UMIACS and there is so much more I have yet to learn.”

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld