What is Network Engineering? Courses, Colleges & Career Opportunities
Network connectivity is an essential part of running business operations in today's world. By establishing and maintaining network connections and operating systems, network engineers provide an indispensable tool to businesses and customers that allows for the conduction of operations.
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A normal working day in the life of a network engineer can include formulating system configuration; overseeing system installation; and defining, documenting and enforcing system standards. Maintenance of network systems is an important part of the duties of a network engineer. In this capacity, a network engineer is responsible for monitoring network performance, optimizing network performance, scheduling upgrades and working with network designers to make the system more efficient. Network engineers are also responsible for maintaining the security of a network system. They establish security and access policies, implement them in relevant network systems and also monitor them. Network engineers need to stay up to date with the latest technological developments. They are required to submit periodic reports on system performance and so must perform the task of compiling a report after analysis of the performance and potential of a given system.
Educational Qualifications for a Network Engineer
In order to become a network engineer, you need to have at least an engineering degree. In addition, you must have a proficient understanding of all the aspects of a network including network systems, designing and maintenance; network protocols; bandwidth development, deployment and support, among others. High-end companies may require that candidates also have a master's degree in their field of specialization. The greater the company, the more exclusive and stringent their requirements could be.
But those who do not have these qualifications can still make career by completing any of the short term courses offered by various private computer training centres.
Courses in Hardware and Networking offered by private institutes are generally short term ranging from 3 months to one year. There are several private computer training institutes in India offering hardware training. There is no requirement for a basic educational qualification for entering to this field. However an intermediate level of education is generally preferred.
- One of the most basic skills that a network engineer needs to have is the ability to conceptualize and devise network designs on the basis of the specific requirements of the client or the company. In order to be able to do this, they must have a good understanding of local area networks (LAN), proxy servers and the hardware that makes the system functional.
- Maintenance is another critical aspect of being a network engineer, requiring good networking knowledge. This could enable a professional to optimize hardware configuration and network operability, troubleshoot any fault, errors or inconsistencies, and be able to tune network performance according to the requirements of the given system.
- Network engineers also need to compile reports on the performance of systems and therefore they need to be able to track budget expenses, manage individual projects and be able to coordinate with colleagues to provide an accurate account of network performances.
- Network engineers need to get a licence (such as Cisco Certified Network Associate, CCNA) from the concerned professional body if they wish to operate privately or on a contractual basis.
Career Scope & Job Prospects
After gathering a certain amount of experience, network engineers can work at major corporations and international commercial enterprises. Usually, a network engineer has a focus such as designing, performance management or reporting. Career growth and opportunities are ample in the IT industry and consequently in the domain of network engineering.
As the world moves towards greater inter-connectivity, the demand for network engineers for development, maintenance and optimization of network systems is likely to remain stable, if not increase.
Employment and Salary
Network engineering is one of the highest paying job profiles within the IT industry. As with other engineering fields, it is education and experience that can determine the salary that any given network engineer will be eligible for. In fact, experience can be the deciding factor between any two candidates with similar skills and qualifications.
Depending upon your educational qualifications and your work experience, you could earn a salary of anywhere between about Rs. 1.2 lakh per annum and up to Rs. 6 lakh per annum, according to PayScale.
Bigger companies may give higher salaries, along with bonuses, increments and incentives. Such additional earnings are often subject to individual performance and capabilities.