Information is one of the most valuable assets of a modern business. This is why virtually all businesses today rely on computer systems to one degree or another. As a result, a network engineer, the individual responsible for designing, installing, and upgrading computer systems, has a wide variety of employment opportunities in today’s economy.
Becoming a network engineer can be a lucrative career with good, long-term prospects, but in order to pursue this career you must start with some specialized training, and then expect to update your knowledge throughout your career.
Job requirements for network engineers
Since network engineers are often dealing with both hardware and software across entire information technology systems, they need a broad range of knowledge that includes electronics, programming, data storage and retrieval, and security. They need to have strong enough analytical skills to match an organization’s needs with the appropriate network capabilities, and they must be good enough problem-solvers to identify and address any system shortcomings. Communication skills are also helpful, since network engineers may have to meet the needs of several different department managers.
A network engineer is generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in information science or a related field, and some employers favor a master’s degree. In addition to making you eligible for a wider range of jobs, a master’s degree may also help improve your advancement potential.
Career opportunities for network engineers
Network engineers may play a variety of roles within an organization. Some may specialize in the design and set-up of new systems, while others may take ongoing responsibility for the administration of a system. Network engineers may have system-wide responsibilities, or might focus on a particular aspect of computing, such as telecommunications or database management.
In addition to being able to play a few different roles within an organization, network engineers have plenty of variety when it comes to types of potential employers. Besides computer equipment and service providers, network engineers might work for organizations as diverse as investment companies, schools, manufacturers, and telecommunications firms. The highest-paying jobs in the profession tend to be in companies that make computer and peripheral equipment.
The employment outlook is excellent, with job growth expected to be much faster than the overall national average for employment growth. Wages for this profession are especially high in New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, California, and New York.
With variety, high wages, and a strong employment forecast, network engineering is a career path that can offer you an excellent return on the investment in education necessary to qualify for this profession.