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

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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 their computer workstation smiling at the camera.

Are you interested in a career that involves designing, administering, and optimizing a crucial component of a business? Then you may be a great fit for a role as a network engineer. Network engineers are also called network architects. They 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

As of November 2022, the average base salary for a network engineer in the United States is $84,188 [1]. The amount you earn depends on factors like industry, company, location, and experience.

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. Consider obtaining a degree. 

Sixty-two percent of network engineers have a bachelor's degree, and 21 percent have an associate degree [2]. Relevant areas of study include computer science, information systems, engineering, and related fields. For leadership positions in network engineering, some companies may prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems.

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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. Examples include systems administration roles and desktop support. You can gain fundamental IT skills with IBM's online course, Introduction to Networking and Storage.

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course

Introduction to Networking and Storage

Designed for beginners, this course is for anyone new to networking and storage. Kickstart an IT Support role or network technician role, or enhance your ...

4.7

(156 ratings)

8,979 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Cloud Storage, Network Troubleshooting, Network Architecture, Networking Hardware, Wireless Networks

3. Learn network security. 

Information security is vital to network design. Network engineers must be familiar with cybersecurity concepts like threat intelligence, data protection, key compliance, and forensics. Consider earning a Professional Certificate in cybersecurity for your resume, like the one below:

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professional certificate

IBM Cybersecurity Analyst

Get ready to launch your career in cybersecurity. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand role in the field, no degree or prior experience required.

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BEGINNER level

Average time: 3 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

information security analyst, IT security analyst, security analyst, Junior cybersecurity analyst, Information Security (INFOSEC), IBM New Collar, Malware, Cybersecurity, Cyber Attacks, database vulnerabilities, Network Security, Sql Injection, networking basics, scripting, forensics, Penetration Test, Computer Security Incident Management, Application Security, threat intelligence, network defensive tactics, cyber attack, Breach (Security Exploit), professional certificate, cybersecurity analyst

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. Learn the right programming languages. 

It’s not always necessary that you know how to code to work as a network engineer. However, knowing certain programming languages can help you become a stronger candidate and perform your job more effectively. Different organizations have different preferences for programming languages, but popular ones to consider include Python, Perl, Bash, and 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

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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Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud Engineer

Start your career in the cloud.

4.8

(9,058 ratings)

37,250 already enrolled

INTERMEDIATE level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine (GAE), Google Cloud Platform, Cloud Computing, Virtual Machine, Network Architecture, Debugging, Cloud Storage, Data Store, Load Balancing, Virtual Private Network (VPN), Autoscaling, Google Cloud, GCP Infrastructure, GCP ACE Certification

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Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud Network Engineer

Advance your career as a Cloud Networking Engineer

4.8

(848 ratings)

12,517 already enrolled

INTERMEDIATE level

Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine (GAE), Google Cloud Platform, Cloud Computing

Article sources

1

Glassdoor. "How much does a Network Engineer make? https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/network-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm." Accessed November 22, 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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