Network engineering jobs can be among the most demanding in the computing sector but they are also among the most interesting, offering far more opportunity to be creative than most others. These positions involve a lot of responsibility and suit people who are patient, hard working, and willing to get up in the middle of the night if necessary in order to deal with a crisis. Because of the challenges they offer and the rewards they provide, these jobs are highly sought after. To qualify for a network engineering position it is usually necessary to have a specialist degree, and many people also go through internships in order to refine their skills.

Click here to view the latest Network Engineer jobs

Jobs in this area require a lot of teamwork, including work with managers who may have a limited understanding of technical issues. Network engineers need to be good communicators, able to translate complex concepts into simple language. As well as dealing with system maintenance, upgrading and troubleshooting, they often have some managerial responsibility for other IT staff and fulfil an IT training role within the organisations where they work, ensuring that everybody is able to make use of the system effectively.

Day to day activities

No two days are ever quite the same in this complex role, especially for those working in small companies, where the network engineer often doubles as technical support. Most people in this role, however, have daily routines including some or all of the following:

  • Undertaking network maintenance.
  • Checking for potential system faults.
  • Supervising other IT staff.
  • Monitoring network usage.
  • Providing training and assistance to staff.
  • Setting up and maintaining user accounts.
  • Identifying and costing potential system improvements.
  • Dealing with bugs or system malfunctions.

Variations in the role

The biggest variations in network engineer roles are between large and small companies. In the former, individuals in this role often supervise large teams and do relatively little hands-on work, but they can face much greater pressure if something goes wrong. In smaller businesses, they tend to have much more direct control over how the system is run, with the main barrier to upgrades being financial rather than ideological. It can be valuable to gain experience in a small company before moving on to enjoy the high salaries available from larger ones.

Click here to view the latest Network Engineer jobs

Opportunities for growth

After working for some time as a network engineer it is usually possible to progress to a senior engineer role, at which point many people develop a specialty such as performance optimisation or security. Roles like this can be found within large corporations that often have a good career ladder available for network engineers, but an alternative option is going into consulting. Because organisations have often been failed by their own teams at the point where they decide to bring in an outsider, consulting rates can be very high, and this is the easiest way to make really big money in the profession. Overall, though, rates of compensation are very good, making this one of the most attractive roles in the sector.