During my stint in working in data centers I did independent contracting for an overseas Content Delivery Network (CDN). The work wasn’t steady as it was “as-needed.” Sometimes I worked once a week or once a month. And my tasks were rack and stack, upgrade servers with more memory and/or hard drives, and troubleshoot hardware and networking problems. How was the work? Why did I sign up for it? I’ll tell you why in this post.
What Is A CDN?
Before I get into my experience let me explain what a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is for those unaware.
According to Akamai a CDN is “a group of geographically distributed servers that speed up the delivery of web content by bringing it closer to where users are. Data centers across the globe use caching, a process that temporarily stores copies of files, so that you can access internet content from a web-enabled device or browser more quickly through a server near you.”
What is the benefit of using a CDN? Akamai states CDNs “allows you to do things like watch a movie, download software, check your bank balance, post on social media, or make purchases, without having to wait for content to load.”
My Independent Contracting Experience
My independent contracting experience started in 2014 when I needed some extra money because I wanted to pay off my debt. At that time I lived in the Atlanta, GA metro area. I had good luck finding part-time gigs on Craigslist so I looked there. During one of my searches I found a job posting for a “as-needed” data center technician for a company called DataCamp Limited. So I looked up the company and saw it was an overseas CDN provider. The job posting looked real so I contacted them via the email.
I got a response pretty quickly and eventually I ended up speaking to one of the managers during a Skype call. Turns out their current data center technician was about to move and the company needed another to take his place. My job duties would be to rack and stack, do hardware troubleshooting, connect servers to the network switches via Ethernet or fiber, upgrade server hardware, and other normal technician tasks.
The pay rate was $50 per hour, but again the job was “as-needed.” The pay rate was good and I could fit their work around my full-time work schedule so I took the job.
A Rocky Start
Unfortunately, my independent contracting for DataCamp Limited got off to a rocky start. The other tech left before I started so I didn’t get any training. And it took me awhile to get the hang of things. Thankfully the data center technicians working at the data center were a big help. They helped me find the racks and the equipment.
Also, parking was an issue because since the data center was in Downtown Atlanta it didn’t have its own parking lot. Thus, I had to park on the street which costs money. And I did receive a $35 ticket because I forgot to extend the time on my meter. Eventually I would travel to the data center via MARTA to save on parking and that worked out much better.
The Job Improves
After getting situated the job improved and I enjoyed the work. Usually I would work on the weekends and would do anywhere from two to four hours of work. I would get knowledge of my tasks beforehand via email so I wasn’t surprised by the company.
The company was happy with my work that they paid me to fly out to Los Angeles to set up some new racks at another data center. So I got a free trip to LA even though I spent most of the time working. However, I did get to see a few sites, including Skid Row at night via my Uber driver.
I also traveled to Chicago to train the new technician supporting the servers in that data center. That was a fun trip too as I got to see Chicago somewhat. I spent most of the time working just like my LA trip.
Time For A Change
By mid-2018 I didn’t have time for my independent contracting due to my job at Twitter. My job took more and more of my time and I didn’t have the time for DataCamp Limited anymore. I finally told the management I would have to stop after three years of assisting them. Thankfully I found a replacement for the company who was one of my Twitter coworkers. He needed some extra money and lived close by the data center so he was happy to take on the job.