How Much Do Network Engineers Make? 2024 Salary Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Network engineers ensure critical business technology is in place and operational, they provide support for wireless network services, infrastructure, and data services. Learn about the role and salary of a network engineer here.

[Featured Image] A network engineer talks on the phone and works to troubleshoot a network issue.

With so many companies relying on networking to keep them connected, network engineers remain important hires for many organizations. They carry out essential tasks such as planning, implementing, and overseeing the networks that support key business functions like in-house voice, data, video, and wireless network services. Not only is this a career vital for all types of businesses, it’s also a well-paying position with many options for advancement. If you’re interested in becoming a network engineer, learn more about their compensation and different factors that influence it.

Network engineer duties and responsibilities 

A network engineer is an information technology (IT) professional whose focus is to build and maintain an organization’s computing network. This can include working with computers, firewall needs, as well as network configurations. They also offer technical support to those in and outside the organization.

Some common duties you may encounter as a network engineer include:

  • Monitoring computer network performance

  • Software and hardware maintenance and operation

  • Troubleshooting issues

  • Diagnosing and resolving bugs

  • Managing security policies and tools

  • Collaborating with the internal IT team or outside vendors

Read more: How to Get a Job as a Network Engineer | 6 Tips

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Average network engineer salary 

According to Lightcast™, the average salary for network and computer systems administrators, which includes network engineers, is $96,300 [1]. However, this is a broad national average based on multiple roles. According to several job posting sites, the average network engineer base salary in the US ranges from $75,724 to $96,300. Let’s look at how other sources compare [2,3,4,5].

*All salary data as of October 2023


While these averages are good numbers to reference, your actual network engineer salary may vary depending on a range of factors. Some of these factors include your location, education, experience level, and other factors can play a role in your total compensation. To get a better understanding of how they can impact your potential earnings, let’s take a closer look at each.  


Whether it’s due to cost of living, taxes, or employee demand, your geographic location can impact your potential salary in many roles, including as a network engineer. Find some of the highest- and lowest-paying areas below. 

Highest-paying states 

If relocation is an option, moving to a state with a higher average network engineer salary may be beneficial. However, make sure an increased cost of living won’t depreciate the added compensation. The 10 highest-paying states for network engineers, according to Zippia, are [5]: 

  • California: $105,643

  • Washington: $99,767

  • Oregon: $98,236

  • Alaska: $94,460

  • Nevada: $89,860

  • Idaho: $89,093

  • Arizona: $86,433

  • Massachusetts: $84,380

  • Utah: $82,211

  • Wyoming: $81,386

Highest-paying cities

Average salary data by state gives you a rough idea of where to move, but you can fine-tune your potential relocation search by looking at the top-paying cities in the US. The 10 cities with the highest average network engineer salary in the US are [5]:

  • Menlo Park, CA: $113,611

  • Seattle, WA: $100,627

  • Phoenix, AZ: $86,661

  • Boston, MA: $84,392

  • New York, NY: $83,638

  • Middletown, CT: $82,714

  • Germantown, MD: $81,820

  • Englewood, NJ: $81,418

  • Washington, DC: $81,326

  • McLean, VA: $79,238

Education level

Typically, organizations seek network engineers with at least a bachelor’s degree. Typical areas of study include IT-related fields like network engineering, business, and information systems. According to Zippia, 62.1 percent of network professionals hold a bachelor’s degree, 21.3 percent have an associate, and 10 percent have a master’s [6]. 

Let’s review how education level can impact the average network engineer salary [5]: 

  • Associate: $82,204

  • Bachelor’s: $89,932

  • Master’s: $92,877

  • Doctorate: $95,341


The average network engineer salary will vary by years of experience. Zippia reports the average entry-level network engineer salary is $62,000 per year, whereas an average senior network engineer salary starts around $85,000 [5, 7]. As you advance in your career, you may expect to receive an increase in salary. 


Certifications help display your competence within your chosen field. Earning these credentials may boost your salary potential and improve your chances of being hired. Some certifications that can help you in your network engineer career, and the salaries associated with them, are as follows: 

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): The overarching CCNA course covers networking fundamentals, IP services, security fundamentals, and programmability. This certificate proves your competence in these critical networking areas. The average pay with this certification is $87,000 [8].

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Security: This certification showcases your knowledge of security solutions. This two-exam certification requires you to choose one core security exam and a second with your choice of focus, allowing you to customize your certification to your career. The average salary with this certificate is $106,000 [9].

  • CompTIA Network+: This certification demonstrates your expertise in configuring, managing, and troubleshooting common wired and wireless networks. It also touches on areas like virtualization and cloud computing. The average salary with this certification is $59,000 [10].

  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE): This series of expert-level certifications is intended for more advanced network engineers. You can choose from six CCIE specialties: Service Provider, Enterprise Infrastructure, Data Center, Enterprise Wireless, Security, and Collaboration. The average salary with this advanced certification is $136,000 [11].

Read more: CCNA vs. Network+: Overview, Differences, and Certifications

Skills required to become a network engineer

For network engineers, you’ll need both technical and workplace skills to succeed in the role. Technical skills are those that represent the practical aspects of your role, while workplace skills contribute to how productive you are in a work environment. To thrive as a network engineer, you’ll need the following collection of skills: 

Technical skills

  • Virtual private networks (VPNs)

  • Cloud architecture

  • Programming

  • Border gateway protocol (BGP)

  • Infrastructure

  • Local area networks (LANs)

  • Domain name system (DNS)

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

  • Wide area networks (WANs)

  • Voice over internet protocol (VoIP)

  • Firewalls

  • Virtualization

  • Monitoring and troubleshooting networks

Workplace skills

  • Communication

  • Adaptability

  • Organization

  • Creativity

  • Leadership

  • Analytical thinking

  • Teamwork

  • Problem-solving

Common career paths for network engineers

According to Zippia, after about five years as a network engineer, you may be ready to move on to a more specialized role or senior position within an organization. If you decide to advance your career, some of your options include the following: 

  • Network administrator

  • Network analyst

  • Systems engineer

  • Project manager

  • IT systems manager

  • Network architect

  • Senior systems administrator

  • Data center manager

  • IT manager

  • Information systems manager

  • IT operations manager

If you prefer staying close to the network engineering field, you can advance into roles like senior network engineer, principal network engineer, or network engineer IV. You can also progress to managerial roles, such as network engineer manager, VP of network engineering, or director of network engineering.

Read more: 8 Tips for Developing Your Leadership Skills

Next steps

Being a network engineer puts you on the front line of the organization’s computers and networking systems. If being a key part of a technology team is something you enjoy, learn more about the role through Akamai Technologies’s Akamai Networking Engineering Professional Certificate or the Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate course on Coursera. Upon completion of either program, receive a shareable Professional Certificate to include in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. 

Article sources


Lightcast™ Analyst. “Occupation Summary for Network and Computer Systems Administrator.” Accessed October 27, 2023.

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