**Key note before reading: Every job and role is different, even if the titles are the same. Different industries and businesses use their Network Engineers differently, so please note that while the outline below is accurate, it may vary based on the position.
High-Level Job Overview
A Network Engineer is primarily responsible for working on projects related to either new or existing network architecture, implementation and administration of enterprise-wide infrastructure and telecommunications systems. They are often responsible for the day-to-day operation of the overall LAN/WAN environment including all routers, switches, VPNs, Firewalls, and adjunct network devices. While this may seem like more of a “solo” role, Network Engineers must function successfully in both team and independent work environments.
What Should You Know?
If you are either looking for a Network Engineer or are thinking about transitioning into a similar role you should have experience with the following:
- Install, test, troubleshoot and maintain telecommunications hardware and software products
- Strong knowledge of Cisco-based products (this also depends on the vendor of the clients)
- Experience with intrusion detection and threat vulnerability management
- Managing hardware and software updates from vendors
- Support systems admins and service desk staff
- Proper maintaining of systems documentation
- Wireless technologies (Bluetooth, routers, switches, etc)
Most Network Engineers start their careers in support roles either on the systems or networking side and make the transition to network administration before reaching the Network Engineer career level.
Similar to most professions, this role does require a unique skill set. In addition to a niche experience, Network Engineers must be able to solve problems and communicate effectively with their team. Possible unique skills include:
- Strong written and oral communication
- Project management
- Driven, problem solver
- Work without direct supervision (self-starter)
- Initiative to learn and grow within the role
- Systems configuration and deployment
- Problem management and resolution
Talented Network Engineers are always in high demand. Currently, it is a candidate’s market as there are more open roles than there are qualified professionals, and based on the current demand, it doesn’t look to change anytime soon. Network Engineers often earn over six figures as well. Finding great Network Engineers is a tough challenge as both sides (client and candidate) must have a deep understanding of the role and the technology itself.
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