Remember the rule? One thing at a time!
If you’ve decided to turn a new leaf in your career and shift to a highly competitive profession of a network engineer, you need to have a clear vision of the steps that will take you there. We guess you can already imagine what you will need to find your place in the new industry; take some courses, get certifications, practice.
All of those are right, but many starting programmers are still confused over the question “How to become a network engineer?”. Don’t worry, though; we’ve designed the easiest path for you to reach your dream profession. Scroll a bit to find it!
Step 1: Make yourself familiar with what you’re going to do
As simple as it may sound, the first thing you should do is get yourself familiar with the profession you want to have. Ensure you know what networks engineers do and what network engineering is in general.
Broadly speaking, a network engineer is responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of an organization’s computer network infrastructure. This can include data communication networks, LANs, WANs, and wireless networks. A network engineer may also be responsible for managing network security issues and ensuring that the network meets performance requirements.
To become a network engineer, you will need to have strong skills in networking technologies and protocols. You should also be familiar with standard networking hardware devices such as routers, switches, and firewalls.
Step 2: Get a university education in the relevant fields
An essential step on your journey to becoming a network engineer is to get a solid education. Many employers will require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field. If you don’t have a degree, you may get it by completing some college coursework or getting certifications in specific networking technologies.
A university degree in the above-mentioned fields will give you a strong foundation in the theoretical aspects of networking. You’ll learn about how networks work, how to design them, and how to troubleshoot problems. This knowledge will be essential as you begin your career as a network engineer.
Your professional diploma in the area close to network engineering will make employers sure of your basic theoretical knowledge. If you want to get employed by the top organization in the field, a degree from a well-known college is what you need to add to your resume.
Step 3: Get certifications to prove your higher qualification
While not all employers will require certifications, having them can certainly give you a leg up on the competition. Certificates show that you have a mastery of specific networking technologies and are up to date on the latest trends.
The most popular certifications for network engineers include:
- CompTIA Network+
- Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) Routing & Switching
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
- Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
- VMware Certified Professional — Network Virtualization (VCP-NV)
You can acquire those specifications in many universities or specialized learning programs offered by hiring companies. Earning a certification can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but it will be worth it when you land that dream job.
Step 4: Learn how to deal with the specific products you’re going to use at work
One of the essential skills for a network engineer is configuring and troubleshooting specific networking hardware devices. The most common devices you’ll need to be familiar with include routers, switches, firewalls, and wireless access points.
You can learn about specific networking products by reading manufacturer documentation, taking online courses, and attending vendor training events. It’s also essential to practice configuring and troubleshooting these devices in a lab environment.
Learning to deal with the proper devices is especially important if you have a clear image of what you want to work with. For example, if you’re going to get hired in a company that mainly requires working with Cisco products, why lose time? Prepare to work with Cisco items beforehand and show your expertise during the interviews.
Step 5: Get entry-level jobs or take internships
The best way to become a network engineer is to gain hands-on experience working with networks. This can be done by working as a network technician or administrator or volunteering to work on small-scale projects for your local community or non-profit organizations.
Getting experience working with networks will allow you to learn how to design, deploy, and troubleshoot network infrastructure. It’s also a great way to build up your portfolio and make industry contacts.
Networking companies are always searching for new talent and are willing to train inexperienced individuals. So, forget about beginner professionals’ difficulties in the employment market and do your best to get an entry-level job. If you manage to show enough potential and motivation, you’ll be hired and promoted in no time.
We know you might feel a challenging time right now, trying to get your foot in the door. However, let’s encourage you and tell you no height is unachievable with the right approach and hard work!
Just get patient and consistently move toward your dream career, and you will reach there sooner or later. We hope the steps presented above are going to help you with that!