An introduction to the Network Engineer profession
A career in IT today is most often associated with tasks in the field of software development. Programmer, tester, system architect, team leader, and similar positions are on everyone’s lips. Meanwhile, no less important area of modern digital solutions is represented by networks, where network engineers contribute to the creation and operation of the most advanced digital products. Almost any software designed for standard office tasks has a fairly simple interface, which, if desired, can be understood by any user. In practice, unfortunately, everything is not so rosy: different programs are very fond of conflicts with each other, and equipment – to fail. It is the job of a network engineer to get all the elements of the computer ecosystem in a company working smoothly.
Who is a network engineer?
A network engineer is an IT professional who provides support for an organization’s computer and communications network. They test system security and performance, design new networks, and develop disaster recovery plans in case of failure. They work with network software, all types of servers, firewalls, routers, gateways, switches, etc. Network Engineers create cable and wireless networks, troubleshoot, research, and integrate new technologies.
What are the requirements?
Knowledge of LANs, hardware and software solutions used throughout the company to manage the network component of IT systems is required. All this is provided only by a high level of qualification of the network specialist: gaps in education and practical experience can cost the company very dearly, and given the depth of integration of business processes in the digital environment, the scale of potential losses is sometimes quite difficult to imagine, and it is better to avoid them even in theory.
How do I become a Network Engineer?
Computer networking courses for engineers
Many universities and academies have degrees in Computer Network Engineering and Computer Network Engineering and Information Technology. It is also important to remember that you can choose other related careers in order to apply as a candidate for the position of Network Engineer, for example, Eng. In Telecommunications, Eng. In Information Technology, Eng. In Computing, Eng. In Mechatronics and Robotics Engineer.
Regarding the subject of the schools that offer these careers, a good number of them do so in a semi-schooled way, at a distance via the internet and not in school, which consists of fulfilling the credits of the degree throughout a school period (already either quarterly, quarterly or semi-annually) without having to dedicate a specific time to do it, but tasks and tests can be presented at any time while they are within the deadlines.
As the first, but intermediate goal on your career path is a certification from one or more vendors of networking equipment. Speaking of the most popular vendors, it is impossible not to mention Cisco and getting CCNA level knowledge (the first level in the vendor’s certification system). And this is an objective entry barrier to becoming a network engineer.
The CCNA test includes testing knowledge of computer networking theory, the TCP/IP stack, the OSI model, and the actual performance of common practical tasks that a network engineer must perform. The certificate is not proof of a high level of knowledge; rather, it shows a basic understanding of networking equipment. For newcomers, having an official paper will be a good help in finding a job. But before you take a course from any of the vendors, you should take the time to thoroughly learn the basics. Many professionals study the profession on their own. There are many forums, sites that offer their users useful guides which will be a good help to start learning.
Although it is true that companies will probably not ask a candidate to present their degree or professional certificate, it is almost a fact that they will ask for a certificate of studies, verifiable experience, and work references for the hiring process.
Where network engineers work
Large companies, which have complex computer systems that must run smoothly, have network engineers on staff. In small businesses, such work is usually outsourced to specialized firms engaged in the administration of multiple computer networks.
What is the salary of a network engineer?
The salary of a network engineer can vary between 36,000 and 50,000 euros per year (41,000 and 65,000 dollars per year), depending on their experience and the size and complexity of the company’s network.
Becoming a qualified network engineer is quite difficult. Employers are increasingly looking for professionals with versatile skills, and large companies usually require an advanced degree in computer science, information systems, or computer engineering. Keep in mind that becoming a network engineer at a better company is not the final destination, you can reach various higher positions such as – network manager, technical director, etc.