Network engineers, also called network architects, are in high demand today. They are the professionals who plan, construct and manage a network and optimize it to perform as intended. A network engineer is the one who is responsible for laying the foundation of an organizational IT system. While network technicians assist in handling issues and troubleshooting, engineers take on high-level network challenges. If you consider a career in network engineering, your roles include creating and implementing wireless networks with troubleshooting. Other key roles include researching and integrating new technologies and improving networks.
What Do They Do?
A typical working day in a network engineer’s life includes formulating system configuration, documentation, system installation, and enforcing standards. Another part of their duty is to maintain a network and ensure it remains operational at all times. They monitor performance, optimize the web, work with designers, and schedule upgrades to enhance efficiency. They have to establish security protocols and implement them in a system to protect it. Network engineers also need to stay updated with the latest developments to upgrade the system as required. They have to compile a report based on their observations and analysis of a system’s potential.
How to Become a Network Engineer?
Before jumping on the steps and guide to become a network engineer, you first have to understand the idea of pursuing the career. The salary package of network engineers is much more than other good and reputed jobs. The career comes with a reputation and demand that one needs to understand before embarking on the profession. Most include the field in their debate of electrical engineering vs computer science to make the right choice. However, the field of network engineering is somewhat similar yet different from both these areas.
With a basic understanding of the field, you can review the following points to become a network engineer.
- Attain Necessary Qualifications
The essential step to becoming a network engineer is to obtain the required qualification. Companies the seek network engineers generally require a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, information system or computer engineering. Depending on an organization, you may also need to complete a master’s in the relevant field. Some institutions offer a program specified only for network engineering with additional certifications in the process. An associate degree can also work, but most organizations prefer at least a bachelor’s.
- Build a Foundation of Networking
Networking is necessary. Take some days off from your schedule to build a suitable networking base. If you are zero in networking, you need to pursue some training courses introduced by firms like Microsoft or CISCO. The training courses will help you get ready for a professional experience where you have a chance to start and grow your career.
- Earn Relevant Experience
A degree and training are to get your foot out of the door, but it is not enough. The next thing you need is to learn on-the-job IT skills critical for a network engineering career. Start fresh by building a network foundation. Initiating with an entry-level support role is a great way to develop the foundation and gain them. You must have tried for many opportunities and have realized that the first thing employers notice is your experience. Starting from entry-level or internship (even if unpaid) builds your resume and gives you the confidence to progress. Your expertise adds to your overall skill set and gives you an advantage over others.
- Obtain Certifications
After you have started gaining experience in any organization, you need to obtain vendor-neutral and vendor-specific certifications. Vendor-neutral certificates give you knowledge about the IT field without in-depth instruction about company devices. These certifications include CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+. Vendor-specific certificates provide you with knowledge about company devices or products and their working.
Choose the right certification according to your interest and add it to your resume to make it more valuable.
- Identify The Path
Once you have gained entry-level experience, the next step is to choose your career path. Depending on the industry, technology, and company, the positions of network engineers may vary. Some of the most defining career pathways for network engineers include network specialists, administrators, technicians, analysts, managers, or architects. If you have a query for ‘how to become a network architect‘ or any similar one, choose a path accordingly.
- Specialize Your Role
Even if you have gained experience in a specific path, you can further gain specialization. These roles include cloud networking architects or security specialists. Other functions include VoIP specialists, networking quality assurance, and VoIP engineers. You can also choose to experience a little of everything as a full-stack network engineer (FSNE). You can reach out to other professional engineers in the field and seek advice regarding your progression.
- Get Started
You can get started as a fully developed network engineer after gaining the necessary skills and experience in the field. Your certifications and expertise have added value to your resume, and you have built yourself from entry-level to a professional. Now you can approach various organizations and pursue your dream career.
Skills Needed For Network Engineering
- One of the necessary skills is to conceptualize network designs according to a client or an organization’s requirements. It would help if you understood LAN, proxy server, and hardware to make this skill functional.
- Maintaining hardware and optimizing network configuration is another critical skill for a network engineer. You need to understand the issue and come with a solution for troubleshooting. You need to fine-tune the system performance according to requirements.
- Network engineers also need to compile reports on the system’s performance and align it with the budget allocated. Network engineers have to manage that budget and coordinate with colleagues to provide an accurate account of network performance.
- Network engineers have to acquire certification like CCNA (CISCO Certified Network Associate) if they wish to practice privately.
Becoming a network engineer is a rewarding career choice with a reputation, better salary, and growth opportunities. They can work at major corporations and other commercial enterprises with a chance to establish a lasting career. They are ones to develop, maintain and optimize the system according to the organizational needs.