If you are interested in informational technology, one career path you could take is to become a network engineer. Network engineer jobs are increasing, with an expected growth of six percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the steps you need to take in order to become a network engineer. But before we get to that, what exactly do network engineers do?
Network Engineer Job Description
Network engineers plan, build and manage networks within a company. They are in charge of the business’s IT system and keep it running smoothly. Network engineers may design new networks for a company or improve upon those already in place. These can be both physical and wireless networks. With the advances in technology, network engineers are foundational to the functioning of many companies today.
First, Get a Degree
The first step to becoming a network engineer is to get a bachelor’s degree in a related field. That means majoring in computer science, information systems, or computer or systems engineering. Some schools have specific network engineering programs. Depending on your career aspirations, you may also want to get a master’s degree in computer science or business administration before going into the workforce.
Next, Get Some Experience
A network engineer is not a job you can get right out of college, no matter how well you did in your schooling. Most engineers have five to ten years of related experience before landing the position. Any entry-level IT support job will help you gain important skills. Focus on clients and servers, IP addresses, network hubs, cables and switches, and firewalls and routers. These are all essential parts of networks you will need to be able to understand – and build – when you become a network engineer.
While you are working, you can start figuring out what you want to specialize in. There are many different networking roles, including:
- Network Administrator
- Network Analyst
- Network Engineer
- Solutions Architect
Even beyond these roles, there are specializations in everything from clouds to security to wireless. Finding what area of networking you want to work in and gaining skills in that area is an essential part of this time in an entry-level position.
At some point before, during, or after your experience-building jobs, you will need to become certified as a network engineer. This means taking an exam, or sometimes more than one. It can take anywhere from six to 18 months to complete the certification process. There are three certifications you can choose: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network +, and CompTIA Security +. Each one demonstrates slightly different skills. They are all vendor-neutral, meaning that the networks they require you to know about aren’t tied to any particular company.
Once you have some experience in the field and know where you want to apply to be a network engineer, you will take vendor-specific certifications. These vary from company to company and require you to know the ins and outs of the network that a specific business uses. Some examples of these are Cisco, SolarWinds, and Microsoft.
Find a Job
The last step in becoming a network engineer is finding a job. After working in the field, you should be more knowledgeable about the types of networking engineer jobs available and which ones appeal to you. The skills you have already gained will help boost your resume and give you content for your interviews.
Looking for Network Engineer Jobs?
Hacking Solutions can help network engineers find companies that need them. Visit their website to learn more.