Network Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Network Engineer, or Network Systems Engineer, is responsible for creating IT networks for businesses. Their duties include using their IT knowledge to develop company networks, coordinating with company leadership to identify network needs and providing assistance to employees and other individuals on how to use the network effectively.

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Network Engineer duties and responsibilities

Network Engineers support and develop the networks used by businesses and organizations. They often have the following duties and responsibilities: 

  • Maintaining computer networks including mainframes, VPNs, routers and other physical hardware
  • Installing and configuring network equipment
  • Creating firewalls and updating virus protection software and data security systems to keep data and communications protected
  • Monitoring computer systems to improve network performance for all systems
  • Troubleshooting, resolving, and communicating networking issues to other employees and management
  • Implementing disaster recovery procedures 
  • Maintaining current knowledge and understanding of security and networking best practices to offer the best solutions and protection to company systems
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What does a Network Engineer do?

Network Engineers typically work for corporations across industries to help their employers maximize business communications, information storage and security. They work closely with department heads and IT staff to create and implement computer networks. Their job is to create code for new or existing networks. They may also be responsible for creating instruction manuals to help employees use the network and solve common problems.

Network Engineer skills and qualifications

Network Engineers use a variety of skills to provide the most comprehensive support to organizations, which may include:

  • Comprehensive understanding of network services and networks such as TCP/IP, OSPF and EIGRP
  • In-depth understanding and  practical knowledge of networking sytems such as LAN, firewalls, routers and printers
  • Ability to analyze and evaluate networks, identify issues and provide solutions to ensure networks are operating efficiently
  • Ability to design, implement and troubleshoot Wi-FI and security infrastructure
  • Time management 
  • Ability to manage several projects simultaneously from design to implementation
  • Ability to communicate technical information to other technical team members but also to coworkers in other departments who may not have knowledge of networking technical terminology

Network Engineer salary expectations

A Network Engineer makes an average of $98,316 per year. Salary may depend on the candidate’s education, level of experience and geographic location. The size of the business or organization may also determine salary rates.

Network Engineer education and training requirements

Network Engineers should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or a related field. Depending on the organization’s specific network configurations, Network Engineers may also be required to obtain additional certifications. Some certifications that may be valuable to Network Engineers include Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). A master’s degree isn’t required, but having an advanced degree may help increase a candidate’s employability. 

Network Engineer experience requirements

Many employers prefer at least 5 to 10 years of related work experience for a Network Engineer candidate with a bachelor’s degree. If the Network Engineer will be in charge of other staff, a candidate with supervisory experience may be ideal. 

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Frequently asked questions about Network Engineers

 

What is the difference between a Network Engineer and a Network Administrator?

The difference between a Network Engineer and a Network Administrator is their level of seniority and specific job responsibilities. For example, Network Engineers design and create computer network systems to reflect business needs. They also work on system updates to refine computer networks for their employer. In contrast, Network Administrators get involved after the creation of a computer system. They use their knowledge of information technology to monitor network efficiency and provide assistance to company employees.

Further, Network Engineers typically hold more senior positions when compared with Network Administrators because they require a few years of experience working as an Administrator before being able to qualify for an Engineer role. Network Engineers collaborate with Network Administrators to teach them about existing systems or upgrades. They also help Network Administrators address system issues and troubleshoot errors.

 

What are the daily duties of a Network Engineer?

On a typical day, a Network Administrator starts by checking their email and voicemail to respond to messages from upper management or lower-level company employees. Throughout the day, they meet with company Executives and other personnel to determine new networks or additional components necessary to refine company network systems. During downtime in their office, Network Engineers work on ongoing projects. They write instruction manuals for employees or code libraries for IT professionals so they can successfully navigate the company’s networking systems.

 

What qualities make a good Network Engineer?

A good Network Engineer has excellent verbal communication. These qualities enable them to speak with company Executives and other personnel to identify the best ways to structure a company’s computer networks. They also have superb written communication, allowing them to compose instruction manuals and employee training documents on how to use the system. They continuously look for ways to expand their skill sets and participate in certification programs for different coding languages or computer systems management techniques. 

Further, a good Network Engineer values constructive feedback from company Executives or employees and uses feedback to their advantage to develop even better computer networks.

 

Who does a Network Engineer report to?

A Network Engineer usually reports to the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or the Chief Information Officer (CIO) within a corporation. These individuals are responsible for overseeing a company’s technology systems and how they uphold daily business operations. Network Engineers refer to the CTO or CIO to learn more about company technology needs or receive feedback about existing networks. In smaller corporations, Network Engineers may report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

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