Network Engineer Career Path
How To Become a Network EngineerA network engineer sets up, develops, and maintains the computer networks within an organization. If you are good at troubleshooting and have a strong background in computer systems, you might consider working as a network engineer. In this article, we discuss the steps required to become a network engineer.
Get your bachelor's degree.
Most employers seek network engineers who have at least a bachelor's degree in information systems, computer science, or computer engineering. Depending on the position and company, you might also need a master's degree in computer science or business administration.
What type of degree should you pursue to become a Network Engineer?
90% of people working as a Network Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree
What skills do you need to be a Network Engineer?
- Routing Protocols
- IPSEC VPN
- Operating Systems
Earn relevant experience.
After you obtain a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or a related field, you need experience working in information technology. Consider taking a job as a help desk or entry-level IT support officer so you can develop real-world IT skills. You'll likely assist senior engineers with networking tasks and work on a variety of projects.
Specialize your networking role.
Since network engineering is a highly technical and complicated field, companies opt to hire professionals who have cross-functional skills. Full-stack network engineers are trained in a variety of IT aspects, including automation, cloud, VoIP, and security. However, training for these types of engineers is more difficult since no certification is offered nor is there a clear-cut path. As a result, you might want to consider specializing as one or more of the following:
Obtain vendor-neutral certifications.
An excellent way to supplement on-the-job training is to obtain certifications. These certifications offer basic knowledge of the IT field, which simply means that you don't receive in-depth instruction regarding a particular company's devices. To receive any of these certifications, you need to pass one or more exams. Some of the more common certifications include the following:
- CompTIA A+: This entry-level certification gives you beginner knowledge about IT-related matters. It shows you can troubleshoot and problem-solve as well as support basic IT infrastructure and networking.
- CompTIA Network+: With this follow-up certification to the CompTIA A+, you gain additional troubleshooting skills and learn how to operate different types of devices. It's important to note that you don't need the CompTIA A+ certification to obtain this one.
- CompTIA Security+: This certification focuses entirely on network security and other related areas. It's a highly sought-after certification if you're interested in network security.
Secure vendor-specific certification.
After you get one or more vendor-neutral certifications and determine which track you desire, decide which entry- and mid-level vendor-specific certification is the best option. The following are some of the more popular choices:
- Cisco: This company offers beginner and mid-level certifications, but you need beginner certifications to qualify for the mid-level option. The mid-level also offers six different tracks.
- Microsoft: Microsoft's Security Administrator Associate program proves you have training in Microsoft 365, while its Azure Administrator Associate program shows that you know about Azure software.
- SolarWinds: This company has one certification with two tracks.
Network Engineer Career Path
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