How to Become a Network Engineer
A network engineer is responsible for developing and maintaining computer networks. This article will provide you with everything that you need to know about entering into the field and igniting your career!
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Network Engineer?
The job description for an entry-level position for a network engineer will state that you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as computer science, mathematics, computer engineering or physics. These degree subjects have a similar skill set that is required in the role of a network engineer which shows employers that you have a solid knowledge of computer science. However, it is also possible to enter into the role without a degree if you have significant work experience within the industry.
Enrolling in an apprenticeship in network engineering is a good way to gain hands-on work experience while working towards a professional qualification. Many institutional bodies participate in the Cisco Networking Academy Programme which provides qualifications for both networking professionals and students. Upon completing this qualification individuals are known as a CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional).
Some additional qualifications that could help you on your professional journey are:
As a Beginner, Where Should I Start in Network Engineering?
As a beginner, it is important to gain relevant work experience through opportunities such as a summer placement to demonstrate to employers that you have on-the-job training and a sound knowledge of both information systems and IT systems.
As well as having a degree and work experience in the field, employers will also expect you to work towards getting professional IT certification qualifications that are specifically related to network engineering. For example, enrolling in the CISCO Networking Academy programme which provides certification at a range of levels and for both students and network professionals.
When seeking employment in the field it can be advisable to advertise your abilities by creating a LinkedIn profile. This is a good way to show employers the skills that you have such as the ability to work with computer systems and information systems and to build up a body of potential employers.
Skill Set Required for a Network Engineer
As well as needing a technical skill set for the role, network engineers also need to have the following set of transferable skills:
Excellent problem-solving abilities
Knowledge of computer operating systems
The ability to focus for long periods of time
Keen attention to detail
Project management abilities
The ability to explain technical issues easily
What Does a Network Engineer Do?
At a very basic level, network engineers are responsible for putting together, developing and maintaining computer networks in their place of work. Whether it be a big or a smaller organisation, network engineers are tasked with providing support to staff, clients and customers and seeing to any problems that come up.
Typical Duties for a Network Engineer
A network engineer is responsible for the following tasks:
Popular Career Pathways for Network Engineers
There are excellent opportunities to advance as a network engineer. With the necessary training and experience you can progress to become a senior network manager and work in other network management positions.
Network engineers can choose to broaden their careers into fields such as management or customer focused roles. Many become network architects or go into network infrastructure.
Where you work will depend on the particular career path that you choose to pursue. Network engineers can work within small businesses or for a large organisation as long as it has a sophisticated IT system. Some of the following potential employers include: