What is a Network Engineer?
A Network engineer or a team of network engineers is a group of technical professionals who are responsible for setting up high-level network infrastructures to ensure efficient communication and connection in terms of wireless network services such as data, voice, and video. These professionals implement, configure, administrate, and troubleshoot networks, ensuring the integrity of the network infrastructure with their expertise in networking. They are highly skilled at planning, designing, and managing different types of networks.
Network engineers are an essential part of any organization's IT team. They design, implement, and maintain complex infrastructures that enable communication and data exchange. They build secure and reliable networks and troubleshoot connectivity issues to ensure efficient and optimized network operations. This blog will guide you on how to become a network engineer and start a fulfilling career in this field.
The job description of a network engineer is as follows:
- They are required to provide necessary hardware and software tools for efficient, rapid, secure connection and communication across different areas.
- They offer support to network users such as staff, clients, customers, or suppliers.
- They troubleshoot every network problem.
- Some network engineers are also involved in network design.
- They ensure the integrity of the network infrastructure.
- They ensure the security of the entire network system.
A network engineer is someone who understands the in's and out's of a computer network system, hardware infrastructure, and other related systems. Therefore, the industry demands a professional with specialization courses that could validate their skills. Hence, one must strategize the whole process of learning, find their specialty, and then they could bag a network engineer job position for themselves.
"Network engineers are an unchanging presence in the dynamic realm of technology, responsible for maintaining connectivity and accessibility to the digital world for everyone."
What are the Pre-requisites to be a network engineer?
Becoming a network engineer requires a combination of education, experience, and certifications. Although there are no strict prerequisites, there are common steps and requirements that you should know about. Most network engineer positions require a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or a related field. Some employers may accept an associate degree or relevant certifications coupled with significant experience.
A strong foundation in networking concepts is essential. This means understanding TCP/IP, subnetting, routing protocols (such as OSPF and BGP), switching technologies, VLANs, VPNs, and basic security principles. Proficiency in network design, troubleshooting, and configuration of network devices (such as routers, switches, firewalls) is also essential.
Certifications play a significant role in demonstrating your expertise and commitment to the field. Common certifications for aspiring network engineers include Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), CompTIA Network+, Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA), Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate. These certifications validate your knowledge of networking fundamentals, and more advanced certifications like CCNP and CCIE can further enhance your credentials.
Entry-level positions may require some prior experience, often gained through internships, co-op programs, or entry-level IT roles such as help desk support or system administration. Hands-on experience with networking equipment and software is highly valued by employers.
In addition to technical skills, network engineers should possess strong communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills. The ability to work well in a team, communicate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, and adapt to evolving technologies are also essential.
The field of networking is constantly evolving, with new technologies, protocols, and security threats emerging regularly. Network engineers must stay abreast of industry trends, attend training sessions, participate in professional development activities, and pursue additional certifications to stay competitive in the job market.
By possessing these skills and staying current with the latest technologies, you can increase your chances of landing a job as a network engineer and excel in your career.
Courses and Job opportunities to become a Network Engineer :
Becoming a network engineer can be an exciting career choice for those interested in the ever-evolving world of technology. There are several educational paths one can take to become a network engineer, including pursuing a university degree, enrolling in college courses, or completing an apprenticeship program.
However, theoretical knowledge is only one part of the equation, and gaining practical experience is equally important. Aspiring network engineers can also benefit from obtaining relevant certifications, such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and CompTIA Network+. By acquiring both theoretical and practical skills, one can become a competent network engineer and contribute to the advancement of the technology industry.
1. Cisco CCNA (200-301) :
The Cisco CCNA (200-301) certification course is a comprehensive program designed for aspiring network engineers. It provides foundational knowledge and practical skills necessary for success in the field of networking. The course covers key areas such as networking fundamentals, routing and switching, network security, IP services, and automation, equipping students with a holistic understanding of networking technologies and best practices. Through hands-on labs and simulations, students gain practical experience in configuring, managing, and troubleshooting network devices, preparing them for real-world challenges. On completion of the course and certification exam, students earn the globally recognized Cisco CCNA certification, enhancing their credibility and opening doors to entry-level positions in network engineering roles across various industries.
If you are interested in learning more about Cisco CCNA Certification, please click here to access detailed information.
2. Cisco CCNP Enterprise- CCNP ENARSI (300-410) + CCNP ENCOR (350-401) :
Cisco's CCNP Enterprise certification program provides network engineers with advanced skills for designing, implementing, managing, and troubleshooting enterprise networking solutions. The program comprises two courses - CCNP ENARSI and CCNP ENCOR - that cover advanced routing, troubleshooting techniques, network design, virtualization, automation, security, and wireless technologies. By mastering these concepts, individuals can advance their careers and excel in senior-level network engineering roles. Click here to learn more.
3. Cisco CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure (ENCOR 350-401) :
The Cisco CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure certification program, focusing on the ENCOR 350-401 exam, is the pinnacle of networking expertise, designed for seasoned network engineers aiming to demonstrate mastery in planning, designing, implementing, operating, and troubleshooting complex enterprise network infrastructures. This intensive course covers advanced topics such as network design principles, advanced routing and switching technologies, virtualization, automation, security, and network programmability.
By delving deep into these advanced concepts and hands-on scenarios, candidates gain a profound understanding of enterprise network architectures and best practices. Achieving the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure certification signifies the highest level of proficiency in the networking industry, opening doors to elite career opportunities and recognition as a top-tier network engineering expert. For a detailed overview of this course, click here to access additional information.
4. Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (300-415 ENSDWI) :
The Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (300-415 ENSDWI) course is designed for network engineers to gain expertise in Cisco's Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions. This course covers SD-WAN fundamentals, deployment models, control and data plane operations, policy configuration, QoS, security, and troubleshooting. By mastering SD-WAN concepts and practical implementations, participants gain the skills to design, deploy, and manage secure SD-WAN infrastructures. To delve into the specifics of this course, click here for a comprehensive overview.
5. CCNP Data Center (DCCOR 350-601) :
The CCNP Data Center (DCCOR 350-601) certification course aims to equip network engineers with advanced knowledge and skills required to design, implement, manage, and troubleshoot modern data center infrastructures. This course specializes in data center technologies and covers key areas such as data center architecture, virtualization, storage networking, automation, and security.
By mastering advanced concepts and practical implementations specific to data center technologies, candidates can enhance their career prospects and gain recognition as proficient data center professionals. Achieving the CCNP Data Center certification demonstrates mastery in data center networking and positions individuals for success in senior-level roles within the industry. Click here to discover more about this course and take your understanding to the next level.
6. Cisco CCIE Security :
The CCIE Security certification course validates the expertise of experienced network engineers in planning, designing, implementing, operating, and troubleshooting complex security solutions. It covers advanced security technologies and concepts such as threat mitigation, secure access, VPN technologies, endpoint security, and security automation. By completing this course, candidates demonstrate their ability to secure complex network environments against sophisticated cyber threats, achieving the highest level of proficiency in network security. To learn more about what this course entails, click here for an in-depth exploration.
7. Cisco Devnet :
The Cisco DevNet certification course teaches developers, automation engineers, and network professionals to use software development skills with Cisco technologies. It covers topics like network automation, programmability, APIs, SDN, and cloud computing. Through hands-on labs and practical exercises, participants gain proficiency in leveraging APIs and SDKs to automate network tasks and enhance operational efficiency. The certification validates their ability to develop and deploy software solutions that integrate seamlessly with Cisco platforms. Click here to gain further insights into this course and enhance your understanding.
8. Python for Network Engineers :
The "Python for Network Engineers" course enables network engineers to automate network operations using Python. It covers fundamental programming concepts and Python libraries for networking. Participants learn how to automate tasks such as device configuration, monitoring, troubleshooting, and reporting, enhancing operational efficiency and scalability in network environments.
Job Opportunities :
As individuals enter the field of networking, they are presented with a vast array of courses and certifications that provide them with a comprehensive skillset tailored to meet the industry's evolving demands. The foundational courses in networking fundamentals and configuration offer an entry point for individuals to secure positions as Network Technicians or Junior Network Administrators. Upon completion of the CCNA (200-301) certification, they can progress to mid-level roles as Network Engineers or Systems Administrators.
For those seeking further specialization, pursuing CCNP Enterprise (ENARSI + ENCOR) or CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure (ENCOR 350-401) certifications opens up pathways to senior positions as Network Architects or Solutions Architects. These certifications enable professionals to orchestrate complex enterprise network deployments. Additional certifications such as Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (ENSDWI 300-415) and CCNP Data Center (DCCOR 350-601) provide specialized roles in SD-WAN engineering or data center networking.
The CCIE Security certification is the epitome of networking certifications and grants individuals top-tier positions as Senior Security Consultants or Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs). With unparalleled expertise, these professionals lead cybersecurity initiatives.
Furthermore, the Cisco DevNet certification empowers individuals to innovate and automate network operations as Network Automation Engineers or DevOps Engineers, leading the integration of software solutions with Cisco platforms.
These numerous opportunities cater to individuals at every stage of their career, providing paths for advancement, specialization, and leadership in the dynamic field of networking.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in IT networking, GNS Technologies offers a comprehensive course for Network Engineers. Click here to learn more about this course.