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What is a Network Engineer?

Written By Gary McCauley
Author Gary McCauley


A position as a network engineer is something you may like if you enjoy working with a team to create complicated communication systems. The job lets you use analytical skills to design the best way to bring networks together. You can show your leadership ability as you guide a team to create a computer network. It is a higher-level position than network administrator, and it requires you to accept responsibility for the planning and architectural design of a communications system.

Network Engineer Job Description

As the chief systems architect, you design systems that integrate the network infrastructure to provide corporate voice, data, wireless and video services. The demands of the job require a level of education that qualifies you to specify the technical requirements for the networks that you plan and design. Analytical skills help you determine the locations in a building where users need access to electronic services.

The Cisco Learning Network cites traffic congestion, necessary upgrades to infrastructure, the introduction of new products, customer concerns and preventative maintenance as considerations that you face on the job. Excellent communication and presentation skills prepare you to explain your concepts to an executive team. A current understanding of the latest technological advances in the industry can help you identify the hardware and wiring for your networks.

A primary characteristic of your position as a network engineer is its technical instead of administrative nature. You get to plan and design while a system administrator provides day-to-day operational support. Field Engineer allows access to a global platform for freelance jobs in the IT and telecom industry to help network engineers find rewarding opportunities around the world.

How Do I Get Network Engineer Degree?

The complex field of network engineering requires preparation that starts with a college degree. On-the-job experience, training courses and certifications help hone your skills as you advance in seniority and responsibility, but a bachelor’s degree is the first step. Areas of study that teach you the technical knowledge and understanding that can qualify you to work in the industry include information technology, computer science, engineering, programming or a major that relates closely. Some companies may require you to have more than a bachelor’s degree for entry level network positions, and they may prefer applicants who hold a master’s in information systems. Experience in field work with network administration or IT systems may favourably impress potential employers.

What Are Network Engineer Skills?

Some of your characteristics may contribute to your potential for success as a network engineer. The job requires you to pay attention to the minutest detail in creating blueprints for a corporate network to make sure that its components work together. Patience and the ability to take the time that you need to develop a plan allow you to enjoy the job.

As a team leader, you need the ability to encourage others to like your plan and want to help you implement it. Analytical skills can help you detect flaws in a complex network system or an alternative design that improves it. Your organizational abilities give you an advantage in planning layouts, and they let you cohesively present your talents and skills.

What will be Network Engineer Salary?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for network engineers to increase at about the same rate as other occupations at about 6 percent. As businesses expand their communication capabilities, engineers can earn salaries that reflect the complexity of the job. At the low end of the pay scale, network engineers make less than $55,610 but more than $158,590 in the upper range. The average salary for an engineer makes $70,147.

What Are a Network Engineer’s Job Requirements and Responsibilities?

The extensive and wide-ranging duties of a network engineer require the ability to plan, design and test the components of a communication system’s infrastructure, including these among others:

  • clustering solutions
  • DHCP servers
  • DNS servers
  • firewalls
  • gateways
  • routers
  • switches
  • suitable

A network engineer jobs has the responsibility to establish a productive communications environment by designing a plan, directing its installation, preparing documentation and enforcing compliance with system standards. Network Engineer responsibilities extend to developing solutions to make an existing system work better by responding to the results of troubleshooting. The reliability of the network depends on the continuous monitoring of system performance of firewalls that protect a company’s security. The job requires frequent communication with users at all levels and a prompt response to reports of problems to ensure the uninterrupted flow of communications.

What is Network Engineers Job Outlook?

The future of jobs for network design engineers offers a positive outlook for applicants who have the appropriate qualifications. Statistics from BLS show that the job outlook for all computer jobs reflects an increase of 13 percent and 6 percent for network engineering positions in the years leading up to 2026. The demand for network security jobs comes from a range of employers:

  • business
  • emergency services
  • government agencies
  • hospitals
  • industry
  • retail
  • schools and colleges
  • transportation

The need for engineers who can upgrade existing networks or design and build new ones provides access to a challenging and financially rewarding career. A contributing factor to the growth of jobs in the industry is the expansion of healthcare information. The reliance of business, government and industry on connectivity points to a promising future for engineers. The service that Field Engineer offers to freelancers and job seekers provides convenient access to the employment market.


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Author Gary McCauley
About The Author Gary McCauley

Gary McCauley is responsible for management of ExterNetworks’ National Accounts. He has over 30 years of experience in providing technology services and enjoys providing insights to help business decision makers implement sound strategies.

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