IT is everywhere, even trucking. Jonathan Dalia is the IT manager for Langer Transport Corporation and uses technology to facilitate the trucking business. We asked him to share his experience in the industry and any advice he has for people considering the field.
What does your company do?
I have worked for Langer Transport Corporation for more than three years now. We transport bulk chemicals – we pick up chemicals from large corporations like Dow and Exxon and deliver them to their customers. We deliver loads of bulk chemicals throughout the United States and Canada.
What do you do?
My job as the IT manager is to configure, setup and maintain all voice, video and data connections at our locations. I check our backups, server hardware and disaster recovery systems on a regular basis. I also fix and troubleshoot issues that arise each day. When I have free time, I look for ways to improve the systems by decreasing costs and improve services. I also manage our company’s data by writing reports, interacting with our standard query language (SQL) database and writing queries.
How large is your IT operation?
I am the sole IT staff. Our infrastructure includes 3 physical servers and 17 virtual servers at our data center in New Jersey. We also have four remote terminals located in Illinois, Texas, South Carolina and Louisiana. The offices are all connected back to our main office via redundant internet connections and secured using virtual private networks (VPNs). We use technology such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) for our phone systems and closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems for monitoring our locations and equipment, in addition to our data communication networks.
How did you get to where you are today?
I got started in IT 17 years ago, working as a network/computer consultant. After 14 years of consulting, I became Langer’s full-time IT manager. I started my education at the Chubb Institute, but found I wanted to further my education, so I went to college for network communications. When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I still wanted a deeper understanding of the technology I was working with, so I went back for my master’s degree in IT administration and security. Along the way I found CompTIA, and its certifications helped give me confidence in my skills. I obtained my CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications and also became a Microsoft Certified Professional, Certified Novell Administrator and Certified Ethical Hacker.
What does a typical day look like for you?
If you enjoy working with technology and learning about how it functions under the hood, then you have chosen the right career path.
My day usually starts by responding to any critical issues that I receive. Once I have those cleared up, I start to work on non-critical issues and requests. Toward the end of my day, I dedicate time to ongoing projects. For example, I’m currently implementing a system for drivers to update their orders and locations from units in their trucks. The units connect back to our database to provide real-time updates. I face challenges like remotely fixing issues at other locations and assisting users with ever-changing technology. I’ve identified power users at each location whom I rely on to be my eyes and hands.
How does your job and network compare to others?
Similar to a traditional network, we use virtualization technology and a storage area network (SAN). In today’s world, almost all communication is digital, which means the information looks the same on the wire and only differentiates on the output and input. We also use wireless communication via traditional wireless networks as well as long-term evolution (LTE) communication for redundancy. My job is unique because of the different systems I manage and how I adapt them to the trucking industry.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the constant challenges I face every day. People need to enjoy problem solving to be successful in this industry. I also love traveling to different locations and seeing the systems interoperate with one another. When I took this job, I had no experience with SQL, interacting with databases or mobile communications. I had to learn how to manage and implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system migrating from a DOS application on the fly. It was one of the biggest challenges to date.
Do you have any advice for people who are new to or considering a career in IT?
I found that I really enjoy working with data and technology. If you enjoy working with technology and learning about how it functions under the hood, then you have chosen the right career path. You must understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process, and you will make mistakes. The key is learning from them and figuring out what your thought process was when making the decision so you can correct it.
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