A network engineer is responsible for managing a network system, monitoring its performance, and upgrading its features to optimize performance and boost efficiency. Network engineers also create new systems, designing them based on clients' specifications and business needs. They also check network defects, perform troubleshooting, improve data security systems, and install security updates. A network engineer must have excellent knowledge of the technology industry, as well as a broad understanding of system codes, programming languages, and network configurations.

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Network Engineer Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real network engineer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage UCCE deployments which include CUCM, IPIVR, CVP , 3rd party reporting and CUIC.
  • Manage UNIX's projects to meet project dateline while solving daily network crisis.
  • Perform the tasks of designing, implementing, supporting, and managing networking and telecommunication infrastructure.
  • Manage all domain registrations, SSL certificate management.
  • Create locally manage and centrally manage gateways on checkpoint firewall.
  • Manage and administrate security policy and procedures for all VPN network connectivity and accounts.
  • Implement and research network failures and set up system log monitoring servers for the switches and monitor DHCP server accounts.
  • Involve in design, documentation, planning and migration of data center fabric from legacy catalyst switches to nexus switches.
  • Install all the servers from the domain controller, DNS server, database server, application server and the firewall server.
  • Detect and solve the connectivity issue cause by DNS server down, and DHCP conflicts through the issue of double incidence.
  • Key contributions include troubleshooting of complex LAN connectivity issues that includes configuring and troubleshooting EIGRP.
  • Perform all wireless configurations for enterprise Cisco VoIP project including authentication, encryption and QoS.
  • Used VMWARE to share resources.
  • Apply QOS for nexus environment.
  • Establish the SOUTHCOM data center and telecommunication rooms.

Network Engineer Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a network engineer is "should I become a network engineer?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, network engineer careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a network engineer by 2028 is 18,200.

Network engineers average about $40.17 an hour, which makes the network engineer annual salary $83,557. Additionally, network engineers are known to earn anywhere from $62,000 to $111,000 a year. This means that the top-earning network engineers make $45,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become a network engineer, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a network operation technician, network support analyst, senior network administrator, and senior infrastructure engineer.

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Network Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 7% of Network Engineers are proficient in Switches, Troubleshoot, and Network Infrastructure. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Communication skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Network Engineers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Switches, 7%

    Lead technical in implementing Cisco IOS Security 802.1x authentication accounting and authorization protocol on 25 network switches across 6 different locations.

  • Troubleshoot, 5%

    Monitor and troubleshoot Wireless communication circuits to provide connectivity for the wireless end users modems in different regional geographic locations.

  • Network Infrastructure, 4%

    Redesigned and deployed network infrastructure that complies with Citywide Business Process Management objectives leading to further reductions in overhead and costs.

  • BGP, 4%

    Configured Multi-Homed BGP with different Service Providers, to provide internet redundancy.

  • OSPF, 4%

    Network configured with OSPF as the primary interior routing protocol encompassing a full-mesh topology.

  • Lan Wan, 4%

    Work on different networking concepts and routing protocols like OSPF and other LAN WAN technologies.

"switches," "troubleshoot," and "network infrastructure" aren't the only skills we found network engineers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of network engineer responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a network engineer to have happens to be analytical skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "administrators need to evaluate networks and systems to make sure that they perform reliably and to anticipate new requirements as customers’ needs change." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that network engineers can use analytical skills to "have assisted in the planning and implementation of high level projects such as data center migrations and mpls router upgrades. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many network engineer duties rely on communication skills. This example from a network engineer explains why: "administrators must describe problems and their solutions to non-it workers." This resume example is just one of many ways network engineers are able to utilize communication skills: "worked with paetec (isp) to configure mpls communication between sites. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among network engineers is problem-solving skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a network engineer resume: "administrators must quickly resolve problems that arise with computer networks." This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "resolved the asymmetric routing issues on the corporate backbone routers that were affecting all services routed over mpls. "
  • See the full list of network engineer skills.

    We've found that 62.1% of network engineers have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 10.0% earned their master's degrees before becoming a network engineer. While it's true that most network engineers have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every seven network engineers did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    The network engineers who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied electrical engineering and computer science, while a small population of network engineers studied computer information systems and business.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a network engineer. We've found that most network engineer resumes include experience from General Dynamics Mission Systems, Capital One, and Facebook. Of recent, General Dynamics Mission Systems had 244 positions open for network engineers. Meanwhile, there are 237 job openings at Capital One and 217 at Facebook.

    If you're interested in companies where network engineers make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at The Citadel, Meta, and Apple. We found that at The Citadel, the average network engineer salary is $157,205. Whereas at Meta, network engineers earn roughly $138,517. And at Apple, they make an average salary of $134,840.

    View more details on network engineer salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a network engineer include Verizon Communications, Cisco, and AT&T.; These three companies were found to hire the most network engineers from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    For the most part, network engineers make their living in the technology and professional industries. Network engineers tend to make the most in the technology industry with an average salary of $90,927. The network engineer annual salary in the finance and telecommunication industries generally make $90,519 and $82,583 respectively. Additionally, network engineers who work in the technology industry make 10.7% more than network engineers in the government Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious network engineers are:

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    What Network Operation Technicians Do

    A network operation technician is responsible for providing technical assistance with computer network issues. Network operation technicians repair and troubleshoot networks and routers, identifying the source of defects by listening to the customers and determining step-by-step guidelines for resolution. They also configure servers to optimize the network's performance and recommend strategies to improve the system's infrastructure. A network operation technician must have excellent organizational and technical skills, especially in explaining the network problems to the customers and addressing preventive maintenance.

    In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take network operation technician for example. On average, the network operation technicians annual salary is $19,285 lower than what network engineers make on average every year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both network engineers and network operation technicians positions are skilled in switches, troubleshoot, and network infrastructure.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a network engineer responsibilities require skills like "firewall," "eigrp," "network design," and "ios." Meanwhile a typical network operation technician has skills in areas such as "network operations," "customer service," "routers," and "trouble tickets." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Network operation technicians tend to make the most money in the retail industry by averaging a salary of $74,614. In contrast, network engineers make the biggest average salary of $90,927 in the technology industry.

    Network operation technicians tend to reach similar levels of education than network engineers. In fact, network operation technicians are 4.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Network Support Analyst?

    Network support analysts are professionals who provide technical support as well as maintain various network components for an organization's network system. These analysts are responsible for installing and configuring local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), internet systems, and other components of network systems. They are required to monitor the performance of networks and systems and align network use and access by using master consoles. Network support analysts must also organize and deploy security measures for the network so that they can safeguard software, hardware, and data.

    The next role we're going to look at is the network support analyst profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $364 higher salary than network engineers per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Network engineers and network support analysts both include similar skills like "switches," "troubleshoot," and "network infrastructure" on their resumes.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, network engineer responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "network design," "f5," "nexus," and "asa." Meanwhile, a network support analyst might be skilled in areas such as "routers," "problem resolution," "network security," and "vpn." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    Network support analysts may earn a higher salary than network engineers, but network support analysts earn the most pay in the technology industry with an average salary of $98,644. On the other side of things, network engineers receive higher paychecks in the technology industry where they earn an average of $90,927.

    On the topic of education, network support analysts earn similar levels of education than network engineers. In general, they're 2.3% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Senior Network Administrator Compares

    Senior Network Administrators provide system and network solutions for their organizations. They supervise the functioning of networking equipment and follow strict maintenance standards.

    The third profession we take a look at is senior network administrator. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher salaries than network engineers. In fact, they make a $5,612 higher salary per year.

    While looking through the resumes of several network engineers and senior network administrators we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "switches," "troubleshoot," and "network infrastructure," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from network engineer resumes include skills like "juniper," "network design," "ios," and "f5," whereas a senior network administrator might be skilled in "routers," "network hardware," "vpn," and "network security. "

    Interestingly enough, senior network administrators earn the most pay in the finance industry, where they command an average salary of $93,129. As mentioned previously, network engineers highest annual salary comes from the technology industry with an average salary of $90,927.

    When it comes to education, senior network administrators tend to earn similar education levels than network engineers. In fact, they're 0.9% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Senior Infrastructure Engineer

    A senior infrastructure engineer specializes in designing and developing systems and infrastructures based on client preferences and industry standards. They have the duty to identify and understand the project's needs, streamline project requirements, produce drafts, create prototypes and models, and establish tests to identify potential issues and ensure the projects' quality. Additionally, a senior infrastructure engineer has the authority to make decisions, train and supervise junior engineers, establish goals and timelines, provide technical support, and implement policies and guidelines.

    Now, we'll look at senior infrastructure engineers, who generally average a higher pay when compared to network engineers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $34,208 per year.

    While both network engineers and senior infrastructure engineers complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like switches, troubleshoot, and network infrastructure, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    Each job requires different skills like "ospf," "juniper," "eigrp," and "network design," which might show up on a network engineer resume. Whereas senior infrastructure engineer might include skills like "cloud," "aws," "customer service," and "powershell."

    In general, senior infrastructure engineers make a higher salary in the hospitality industry with an average of $123,360. The highest network engineer annual salary stems from the technology industry.

    The average resume of senior infrastructure engineers showed that they earn similar levels of education to network engineers. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 0.4% more. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.2%.

    What a Network Engineer Does FAQs

    Network Administrator Vs. Network Engineer

    A network administrator is a tech professional who focuses on maintaining a network, while a network engineer is a tech professional who focuses on the design and development of a network.

    Network Engineer Vs. Software Engineer

    A network engineer is concerned with designing, configuring, and deploying computer networks and networking infrastructure, while a software engineer applies engineering principles and approaches to software development.

    Do Network Engineers Make Good Money?

    Yes, network engineers generally make good money. The median annual wage for network engineers (also known as network and computer systems administrators) was $84,810 in 2020. That is higher than the average mid-tier annual salary in the United States of around $45-65,000.

    Is Being A Network Engineer Hard?

    Yes, being a network engineer can be hard due to the critical nature of the position and ever-evolving network technology.

    You are responsible for the critical role of maintaining the everyday operation of computer networks. So, you'll need to understand a wide range of complex networks and stay on top of the latest updates and upgrades to implement necessary changes to optimize performance and security.

    What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Network Engineer?

    The qualifications you need to be a network engineer are typically a postsecondary education and relevant experience.

    Although you can become a network engineer with only an associate's degree or a postsecondary certificate, most jobs require a bachelor's degree, typically in electrical engineering, computer science, or computer information systems.

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