WHAT DO NETWORK ENGINEERS DO?
Also known as computer network architects, network engineers work with a company's computer network, using information technology to make network systems for all employees to use. These data networks can include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), intranets and extranets. Network complexity can vary depending on the organization, and the company may have one dedicated engineer or many globally connected engineers working together with the Chief Technology Officer.
Network engineers must have skills to analyze where communications are going to be needed, create plans for the network, present it to senior management, be up-to-date on the latest technology, understand and determine the hardware and wiring needs for buildings, and make sure Mike in Accounting doesn't accidentally forward his Star Wars fan fiction to all staff.
HOW MUCH DO NETWORK ENGINEERS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) a Robert Half Technology survey estimated that network architects made between $85,000 and $117,750 a year.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
You must at least have a bachelor's degree in a computer related field, such as programming, computer science, engineering or similar, and many employers prefer applicants to have an MBA in information systems. Employers also look for experience in the field, either working with IT systems or in network administration.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Analytical Skills: Network engineers have to look at complicated network systems to find flaws or room for improvement.
- Attention to Detail: Network engineers have to create complex blueprints for communication networks, and must make sure the systems will work together.
- Leadership Skills: Network engineers may be a leader of other engineers to create the network.
- Organizational Skills: Sometimes many different networks come together at once. Keeping them all organized will take skill.
- Teamwork: Larger firms have many employees and many engineers working together.
THE FUTURE OF NETWORK ENGINEERS
According to the BLS, network engineer jobs will decline between 2010 and 2020, as the rise in cloud computing will create less demand for in-house networks.