what is a network engineer?

As a network engineer, you maintain the connectivity of networks in organisations. You ensure the data, calls, videos, voice and wireless network services are available. The role involves formulating, executing and implementing entire computer networks in a company. You ensure all the network systems are functioning correctly. You also provide quality network infrastructure, performance and security to end users.


Aside from installing and implementing network systems, you monitor the existing networks. You assess any network problems and devise a solution to improve connectivity. You also perform routine maintenance on critical systems. That involves evaluating performance and diagnosing and repairing network issues. Regular maintenance enhances network security for end users.

A successful network engineer relies on technical skills in cloud computing, programming and cybersecurity. Soft skills like analytical and problem-solving abilities help you excel in the role.

where do network engineers work?

Nowadays, most industries rely on network systems to optimise performance in various departments. You work in diverse business sectors that rely on computer networks to run business processes. For instance, you could work in the finance, banking or manufacturing sectors. You may work internally for a company or externally as an outsourced network engineer. The majority of network engineers work in technology companies or information technology consultancies.

Would working as a network engineer suit your computing skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a network engineer role.

network engineer jobs

average salary of a network engineer

According to National Career Service, the salary range of a network engineer is £21,000 to £52,000 per year. Compensation packages at the entry-level start at around £19,000 to £21,000 yearly. When you have a few years of experience, your earnings increase to £35,000 annually. Senior-level network engineers earn over £52,000 per year.

how to increase the salary of a network engineer

Network engineers' salaries vary depending on the job complexity and the employer. The size of the organisation influences your compensation package. For instance, if you work in a small start-up, you are likely to earn less due to the minimal resources. Working in large companies pays more since they have more significant resources.

The sector you work in influences the complexity of the role. Working in the technology or finance sectors provides better earnings. Finance companies require complex networks to safeguard their data. The scope of network installations also influences your compensation package. In some companies, you install the network in a few departments, while in other organisations, you install them in several branches. When you work on large-scale installations, your salary will be higher.

Two males talking. Both have beards. One wears glasses. One male in the background. Informal setting. Inside. Checkered shirt. Supporting color blue.
Two males talking. Both have beards. One wears glasses. One male in the background. Informal setting. Inside. Checkered shirt. Supporting color blue.

types of network engineers

Some of the specialisations for network engineers include:

  • cloud networking architect: as a cloud networking architect, you prepare an organisation for cloud computing using your understanding of the hybrid cloud environment. Your job involves cloud deployment and migrating the company's data. You also troubleshoot issues that arise with cloud services.
  • network security specialist: as a network security specialist, you search for network vulnerabilities and stay ahead of threats. Your job is to detect, prevent and resolve threats to a company's computer network. You constantly assess security measures and stay up-to-date on the latest threats to protect the company's network.
  • wireless network engineer: your job involves installing and configuring wireless equipment. You also maintain and troubleshoot issues that lead to downtimes and upgrade the equipment as needed.
  • voip engineer: as a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) engineer, you enable voice and video capability on one network. VOIP allows users to make phone calls, chat with colleagues and conduct online meetings. Your job is to install and maintain the VOIP networks.
  • data centre networking specialist: as a networking specialist, you set up and maintain the data centre that houses the organisation's critical data and applications. You manage the computing resources and network infrastructure to keep the data centre safe.



working as a network engineer

As a network engineer, you instal and maintain company network systems. Read on for details on the duties, tasks, work environments and job outlook.


education and skills

You require the following educational qualifications to become a network engineer:

  • university degree: to become a network engineer, pursue a higher national diploma or foundation degree in computer science, electronic engineering, network engineering or software engineering. You require 2 to 3 A Levels to qualify for the degree courses.
  • college courses: complete a college course and start as a network technician. When you complete a Level 4 Certificate in networking and architecture or network security, you can train further to become a network engineer.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities that help you excel as a network engineer include:

  • problem-solving skills: you require problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities to resolve network connectivity issues. Your diagnostic skills help you identify and evaluate problems in network systems to ensure they operate optimally.
  • time management: you require good time management skills to resolve network connectivity issues faster and minimise downtimes. Planning your tasks carefully and ensuring you complete the installation within the expected deadlines is essential.
  • project management: as a network engineer, you coordinate several aspects of a project. You take care of the network selection process to final implementation and configuration. Your job is coordinating the installation process and ensuring minimal network disruptions and downtimes.
smiling man holding a laptop in computer room
smiling man holding a laptop in computer room


FAQs about working as a network engineer

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