How to Get a Job as a Network Engineer | 6 Tips

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Network engineers design, administer, and optimize computer networks for businesses. Learn how you can get the education you need to get started as a network engineer.

[Featured image] A network engineer sits in front of her computer workstation smiling at the camera.

If you’re interested in a career that involves designing, administering, and optimizing something that is crucial to all aspects of a business, then you may be interested in becoming a network engineer. Network engineers, also called network architects, are responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring a company’s computer network. 

Let’s take a closer look at what this high-paying career involves and how you can get started. 

What is a network engineer?

Computer network architects and engineers design and build data communication networks and monitor network systems. These could range in size from a connection between a couple of offices to an intricate cloud infrastructure serving a multinational company. 

Network engineers are often also responsible for protecting these networks from all sorts of external threats—from phishing schemes to ransomware to denial-of-service attacks—with a process known as network security. 

At smaller companies, you may be responsible for both architecture and security. Working in larger companies often means specializing in one area of network engineering, such as architecture, security, or administration.

Network engineer salary

The average salary for a network engineer in the United States is $87,248, according to Glassdoor [1]. How much you earn will depend on the company and industry you work for, where you’re located, and how much experience you have.

Tips for getting a job as a network engineer

If you enjoy working with computers and solving problems, then a career in network engineering could be a good fit. Here are some tips for starting your career in the field.  

1. Get your degree. 

Most network engineering jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, or another related field. Some companies might look for candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems for leadership positions in engineering. Even if the job you’re applying for doesn’t require a graduate degree, earning one may serve to enhance your resume.  

2. Start with an entry-level role. 

Network engineers often have several years of experience working with IT systems. To gain relevant experience and build your technical skills, consider starting with an entry-level role in IT support, systems administration, or desktop support, and then apply to network engineering jobs.

3. Learn network security. 

Information security should be central to any network design. You don’t have to specialize in network security to benefit from knowledge of the latest threats and best practices for securing a network. 

4. Get familiar with the cloud.  

As more and more companies turn to cloud computing to meet their business needs, they’ll need network engineers who can design, optimize, and manage networks in a cloud environment.

Read more: 5 Cloud Certifications to Start Your Cloud Career

5. Speak the right language. 

It’s not always necessary that you know how to code to work as a network engineer, but learning a programming language or two can sometimes help you be more effective. Different organizations have different preferences for programming languages, but popular ones to consider include Python, Perl, Bash, or Golang.

Read more: What Are Scripting Languages? (And Why Should I Learn One)

6. Get certified. 

Some companies require that their network engineers and architects are certified in the products the company uses. Check job descriptions for the types of positions you’d like to apply for to get an idea of what’s required. Vendor-neutral certifications can validate your skills to potential employers.

Some popular options to consider include CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Read more: What Is the CompTIA A+ Certification? A Certification to Start Your IT Career

Get started with Coursera

The demand for network engineers is growing at a faster-than-average rate. Gain job-ready skills for this in-demand career by completing a Professional Certificate in Cloud Engineering with Google Cloud or Google Cloud Networking. If you don’t yet have your degree, learn more about earning a bachelor’s of computer science or an MBA online from a top university. 

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Article sources

1. Glassdoor. "Network Engineer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/network-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm." Accessed March 14, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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