Alex Houlton

CCNP Certified Network Engineer and web developer

Hi, I'm Alex Houlton


I'm a CCNP certified network engineer and web developer based in London, England. I have a professional background in Computer Networking, and have a First Class Honours degree in Computer Networks from Sheffield Hallam University.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Experience

I specialise in computer networking and web development.


Network Support Engineer

June 2017 - Present

At Cisco Meraki, my role focuses on providing quality support to our largest customers.

This requires me to:

  • Analyse packet captures to quickly diagnose the root cause of problems.
  • Effectively manage cases from start to finish, seeing every issue through to resolution.
  • Familiarise oneself with the entire product line, including the hardware and software feature sets. This allows questions to be answered without delay and establish expected behaviour.
  • Maintain deep knowledge of all Layer 1 through 4 protocols, including 802.11, Ethernet, IPv4/6, OSPF and TCP/UDP, in addition to application layer protocols.
  • Contribute towards public facing documentation, ensuring that it is up to date and as clear as possible.
  • Communicate professionally and precisely with customers and internal teams to ensure clear next steps are formed, which lead to a rapid resolution of the problem.

As part of my role, I am part of a small team responsible for management of our internal lab space.

Solution Validation Services (SVS) Intern

July 2015 - June 2017

In my position as an SVS Intern at Cisco, I have two main roles:

Programmer, Next Generation Tooling (Lions NG)

  • Ensure HA through the use of load balancing (nginx, haproxy) and geographically diverse database and web servers.
  • Effectively use version control solutions (Git) to track code changes, issues, branch code and develop efficiently within a team.
  • Familiarity with both server side technologies (PHP, MySQL and Nginx in a Linux environment) and client side technologies (jQuery, DataTables, Bootstrap).
  • Hardware control (Smart PDUs, networking equipment) through SNMP get, set and walk, allows us to power schedule projects, averaging a 70% power saving.
  • Design, Implement, Test and Deploy new features to enhance the tools used on a daily basis by Lab Administrators and Engineers.
  • Maintain and refactor the existing codebase as issues arise and workflows change.

Lab Administrator, Advanced Services

  • Monitor case queues for new requests, acting upon these in line with SLAs. This could involve troubleshooting a faulty link or provisioning a new device into a topology.
  • Asset Management, including assignment of devices to projects, e-wasting of old equipment.
  • Work with Engineers to deploy a topology into the lab, including sourcing hardware, racking + stacking, configuring management and console access.
  • Establishing layer 1 through 3 connectivity between devices as per provided topology diagram.
  • Provision of traffic generation capability (Ixia) to a test topology.
  • Maintenance of VMware/UCS-based virtual machine infrastucture for test purposes. Experience with Cisco UCSM, FI and vCenter.

IT Support Analyst

November 2013 - June 2015

In my position as an IT Support Analyst, my duties included:

  • Handle and take ownership of calls and support tickets that arrive from users which include 800+ retail branches, warehouses and Head Office personnel.
  • Support a broad range of hardware, from Point of Sale, handhelds, PC and Macintosh desktops/laptops to Cisco Routers, Switches and Access Points.
  • Systems software such as Windows Server 2008/2012 (inc. AD, DNS, DHCP), VMware vSphere, Citrix Xenapp, XenDesktop and SCSM 2012 for incident management.
  • End user software support includes Windows XP/7/8, Mac OS X, Office and Adobe CS6.
  • Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle Databases play a heavy role in a retail business, from transaction data to customer details. This requires me to understand how they work and be able to maintain them effectively.
  • Complex issues such as a network problem or a corrupt database have taught me teamwork skills.
I escalate the problem, working with others to resolve the issue quickly, ensuring minimal downtime.
  • Liaising with other companies, a courier for example, to ensure that a 4G/3G backup router is configured and shipped to a store whose MPLS link is down. Contact with the ISP is then made to fix the main link.

Education

I have a First Class BSc (Hons) degree in Network Management & Design.


BSc (Hons) Network Management & Design

September 2013 - June 2017

As part of my degree at Sheffield Hallam, I have studied a wide range of topics in addition to the core networking area, giving me a broad range of knowledge on many aspects of the industry.

Second Year Modules include:

  • LAN Switching + WANs (follows Cisco CCNA 5 curriculum) - 94%
  • Web Application Development - 89%
  • Database Administration + Security - 98%
  • Network Server Management + Administration - 86%

First Year Modules include:

  • Networking Fundamentals (follows Cisco CCNA 5 curriculum) - 89%
  • C# Programming - 82%
  • Computer Architecture - 93%
  • Information Security - 88%

Certifications