Being a network engineer can be fascinating and fulfilling work, though many people aren’t aware of what qualifications they need to pursue a career in network engineering. It can be confusing since there are a number of paths you can take, but most people feel pressured into pursuing a four-year computer science degree.
After school, some people say it can take ten years to become a full-fledged network engineer. It might surprise you to know that there are other ways to get into the engineering field, even for non-traditional learners who don’t have a strong background in tech. If you’re interested in working in the tech sector, keep reading for more information on how to pursue a career in network engineering.
What is a network engineer?
First, let’s go over what exactly a network engineer does. As a network engineer, you’ll be responsible for creating, developing, and maintaining the integrity of a variety of computer systems on behalf of an individual or organization. You’ll also have to handle troubleshooting and user support, for both your business and for customers. Performing regular data backups is also essential no matter who your client is, given the increase in cyberattacks and specifically ransomware attacks.
Some network engineers work directly for companies that need their services, while others work as part of an external IT team that services multiple individuals or businesses. Some engineers even work on a freelance basis, which can provide flexibility for anyone who prefers a nontraditional work structure. For those who do want a full-time, salaried position, network engineering is a great field to get into. Since they require technical skills and qualifications that most people don’t have, you’re unlikely to have trouble finding a job as long as you perform well in your training and gain the certifications you need.
How can you start a career as a network engineer?
It may not be as hard as you think to become a network engineer. Many people will lead you to believe that your only option is to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science and spend years in low-level roles before you’re able to get a well-paid job doing the kind of work you’re interested in. Luckily, there are alternatives for those who are willing to put in the work. There are programs that will enable you to apply to engineering jobs in less than a year, even if you don’t have I.T. experience. It’s more than worth looking into if you’re interested in a career as a network engineer.
Once you have the skills you need to be able to work with complicated computer networks, you’ll be able to start looking for work that makes use of them. Skilled network engineers in high-level administrative positions can make well into the six figures, so it can be profitable work for those who want a career that pays well and offers material benefits. However, while you can make a good salary working in network engineering, it can be demanding work, so it’s important that you have an interest in it.
Network engineering is an engaging field where you’ll be doing meaningful and interesting work, and your technical skills will be valuable on the job market. While many people think you need a computer science degree or even a master’s degree to get jobs as a network administrator, architect, engineer, or analyst. There are a lot of specializations within the computer engineering field, so you can identify which areas interest you most. Since there is such a high demand for skilled network professionals, it’s likely you’ll be able to find an opportunity that you’re excited about sooner rather than later.