5 Network Engineer Jobs to Empower Your Future06 Oct, 20238 min
Network engineer jobs are in high demand, and for good reason. They play a crucial part in d...
Network engineer jobs are in high demand, and for good reason. They play a crucial part in designing, installing, and maintaining the networks that keep businesses and organisations running smoothly in a world where cybercrime is on the up. With the global market expected to grow to over $111 billion, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%, between now and 2031, it’s no surprise why so many candidates are seeking opportunities within the network engineering sector.
But what are some of the best opportunities in network engineering? In this guide, you’ll find out as we check out the top 5 network engineer jobs. We’ll explore what each position entails, including the responsibilities and earning potential, as well as the qualifications, skills, and career progression of each role.
1. Network Architect
Network architects design and implement communication networks, including wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs) and intranets, supporting organisations in various industries, from insurance, education, finance and telecommunications. A network architect will also play a significant role in ensuring the hardware and software of IP networks are securely maintained and work at optimum levels for a business.
Network architect responsibilities
From designing network architecture and data communication systems for businesses to maintaining the security of a network, here are some of the specific responsibilities of a network architect:
- Designing network architecture
- Planning and managing network implementation
- Overseeing and managing network implementation
- Documenting network infrastructure
- Providing technical support, including troubleshooting network problems, training users on how to use the network, and providing advice on network security
How to become a network architect
To become a network architect, most employers ask candidates to complete a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field or to obtain specific industry-standard certifications listed below. Additionally, many organisations prefer talent to have at least five years of experience within the network infrastructure space before transitioning into the role of a network architect.
Here are some of the qualifications and things that are often required for pursuing a career as a network architect:
- Bachelor's degree or master’s in computer science or a related field
- Network certifications, including
- CCIE Routing and Switching (CCIE)
- Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- CompTIA Network+
- Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr)
- Gain five years of experience working in network infrastructure
- Attend networking events to discover opportunities and build relationships with other network architects
- Keep updated with the latest networking technologies and trends
Additionally, if you’re looking to become a network architect, here are some of the skills you should focus on enhancing:
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Excellent communication and teamwork skills
- Able to work independently or as part of a team
- Deep knowledge of network hardware and software
- Ability to adapt to the constantly evolving technologies in the networking industry
Network architect career progression
As you grow in your network architect career, you can progress into senior and executive-level roles where you can expect a salary increase while also being responsible for managing budgets, overseeing the implementation of new technologies and leading the strategic direction of network architecture within an organisation.
How much do network architects make?
In the UK, the average salary of a network architect is £73,000, with the lower end of the pay scale being £50,000 and the higher end reaching over £100,000.
2. NOC Engineer
Network Operations Center (NOC) engineers are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the performance and availability of a network within an organisation. A NOC engineer will typically work in a centralised location and use a variety of monitoring tools to track the status of network devices, applications, and services. When problems occur, NOC engineers will diagnose the issue and provide solutions to combat them.
NOC engineer responsibilities
From deploying new hardware and software and configuring network settings to ultimately monitoring a network's performance through various tools, here are some of the primary responsibilities of a NOC engineer.
- Monitor network performance, security and availability using a variety of tools
- Identify and troubleshoot network problems
- Escalate critical issues to the appropriate personnel
- Deploy new hardware and software
- Work with other IT teams to ensure the smooth operation of the network
How to become a NOC engineer
If you're looking to pursue a career as a NOC engineer, you should first look to attain a bachelor's degree in computer networking, information science, or computer science. Additionally, you could gain specific certifications like the CCNP while also gaining experience using information technology service management (ITSM) tools.
Below are some of the requirements you need to embark on a career as a NOC engineer:
- Bachelor's degree or master’s in computer networking or a related field
- Network certifications, including
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- CompTIA Network+
- Learn how to troubleshoot network infrastructure and utilise ITSM tools
- Network with other NOC engineers on LinkedIn and other social channels
- Find volunteer work experience
Here are some of the additional skills needed to become a NOC engineer:
- A deep understanding of networking concepts and protocols
- Problem-solving skills with great attention to detail
- Knowledge of specific networking vendors, including Cisco and Juniper
- Excellent communication skills
- Experience with virtualisation technologies and cloud computing
NOC engineer career progression
With time and experience, progressing in the role of a NOC engineer could see you grow into a more executive-level position, specialising in network security or virtualisation. You could also transition into a senior systems engineer, IT manager or chief information officer (CIO), where you could play a prominent role in leading teams and overseeing the development of new network-related technologies and services.
How much do NOC engineers make?
On average, a NOC engineer will make £32,000 in the UK, with starting salaries being £23,000, with the earning potential rising to £48,000 for more senior NOC engineers.
3. Network Administrator
Otherwise known as a network systems administrator, a network administrator oversees a company's computer network's maintenance and security. They help install and configure hardware and software, troubleshoot problems, and monitor network performance; a network administrator collaborates with other IT staff to design and implement new network infrastructure.
Network administrator responsibilities
A career as a network administrator comes with a broad range of responsibilities, so to give you an idea of what to expect from the role, we’ve listed some of the main ones below.
- Install, configure, and maintain network software and hardware
- Troubleshoot network problems and identify solutions
- Monitor network performance and identify areas for improvement
- Design and implement new network infrastructure
- Document network configurations and procedures
How to become a network administrator
Becoming a network administrator typically begins with completing a bachelor's degree in network engineering, network security, computer science or a related degree. Alternatively, you could go down the apprenticeship route and gain hands-on experience combined with an education in the industry to get your foot in the door. You could also get certified by completing courses such as CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Network+ and Cisco's CCNA.
Here is a list of requirements you should be aware of if you’re looking to pursue a career as a network administrator:
- Earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, network engineering, network security, or a related field
- Complete a certification including CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Network+ and Cisco’s CCNA
- Enrol in a network administrator apprenticeship
- Gain 2-3 years of experience in a related networking or technical troubleshooting role
- Attend networking events and connect with industry experts on LinkedIn to gain valuable advice and potential opportunities
Below are some of the skills of a network administrator you should develop:
- Strong knowledge of network hardware and software
- Experience with troubleshooting network problems
- Ability to work independently and with other IT staff to ensure the security of the organisation's network
- Excellent communication and problem-solving skills
- Great attention to detail with critical thinking skills
Network administrator career progression
After spending multiple years in the industry as a network administrator, there is excellent career progression for professionals looking to embark on a career in the network engineering space. You could one day work your way up to the role of a senior IT manager, director of IT services or vice president of IT - the possibilities are endless.
How much do network administrators make?
Salaries of network administrators in the UK start at £22,000, rising to £53,000 for more experienced professionals, with £34,000 being the average network administrator salary.
4. Network Analyst
Working in industries such as e-commerce, finance, and government institutions, a network analyst plays a crucial role in optimising the network components of a business, from developing, implementing, and maintaining computer hardware and software. Network analysts will analyse and monitor the performance of a network, from LANs and WANs, and provide expert IT support if issues occur.
Network analyst responsibilities
Supporting global businesses of various sizes, a network analyst has a range of duties. From configuring network communications to training the wider IT team, we’ve listed some of the primary responsibilities of a network analyst.
- Implementing, analysing and maintaining network requirements
- Configuring hardware and software to optimise network communications
- Performing system administration tasks and ensuring network security is in place
- Documenting processes and monitoring network performance metrics
- Consulting with internal departments and training IT support staff with network security procedures
How to become a network analyst
The role of a network analyst is a relatively senior position; therefore, employers typically require candidates to have a degree in a relevant IT-related subject, such as computer science. Additionally, if you’re looking to become a network analyst, employers often look for candidates with experience in SAP, SQL, Java and C++, and certifications including Cisco’s CCNA, CCNP, and CompTIA Network+.
We've listed some of the requirements you should know if you want to become a network analyst.
- Achieve a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a relevant IT-related degree
- Get certified with qualifications such as Cisco’s CCNA, CCNP, and CompTIA Network+
- Build your knowledge of SAP, SQL, Java and C++
- Gain valuable experience in an entry-level position like an IT support specialist or help desk technician
- Network with other professionals on online forums and social platforms like LinkedIn and by attending networking events to build relationships that could lead to job opportunities
To help further your understanding of the role, here are some of the skills of a network analyst:
- Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
- Technical skills, including extensive knowledge of network hardware and software
- Strong communication skills with the ability to work as part of a team or independently
- Great attention to detail
- Self-learning skills, with the eagerness to stay updated with the latest trends within the networking industry
Network analyst career progression
Career progression for a network analyst is vast, with the potential to move into a more senior and director-level networking opportunity once you have gained greater networking experience. Your transferable skill set and experience as a network analyst could see you transition into other roles in the networking space, including becoming a penetration tester, network architect, web developer, or a job title coming up next, a network engineer.
How much do network analysts make?
Network analysts in the UK can expect a starting salary of £25,000, with an earning potential of £56,000 for those at a more senior level. On average, a network analyst's salary in the UK is £37,000.
5. Network Engineer
Our final entry in our top 5 network engineering jobs is that of a network engineer. A network engineer is a professional that develops, implements, and maintains an organisation's computer networks, including WANs and LANs. Network engineers also help install, configure, and troubleshoot hardware and software for companies while ensuring network security measures are in place to protect the organisation from cyber threats.
Network engineer responsibilities
As a network engineer, you could find yourself working internally for a company's IT support division or externally on behalf of an outsourced networking agency; you will be responsible for the following duties:
- Design, implement, and maintain our company's computer networks
- Troubleshoot network hardware and software and find ways to resolve these issues
- Develop and implement network security measures
- Monitor the performance of the network and identify areas for improvement
- Document network configurations and procedures.
How to become a network engineer
If you're looking to become a network engineer, employers will often expect you to have completed a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer software, computer engineering, or a related subject. You could also obtain industry-recognised certifications like CompTIA Network+, Juniper Networks Certified Associate (JNCIA) and Cisco's CCNA. Enrolling in a government-approved network engineering apprenticeship is another route to becoming a network engineer.
We’ve summarised some of the things you can do if you want to become a network engineer:
- Gain a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related network engineering subject
- Earn a qualification with certifications such as:
- Juniper Networks Certified Associate (JNCIA)
- Cisco’s CCNA
- CompTIA Network+
- Complete a network engineering apprenticeship
- Get involved in networking communities to gain career advice and potential job opportunities
- Stay up-to-date on the latest networking technologies and trends
Here are some of the network engineer skills you should look to develop if you want to pursue a career in this space:
- Deep knowledge of networking concepts and protocols, including how to work with network hardware, software, and network security
- Excellent troubleshooting and problem-solving skills
- Great attention to detail with the ability to adapt to the ever-evolving network engineering environment
- Strong IT networking skills, including knowledge of cyber compliance laws
- Ability to work independently and as part of an IT support team
Network engineer career progression
With opportunities in a range of industries, from finance, transport, education, retail, and government departments, your career as a network engineer could see you progress into more senior positions. You could transition into roles such as network architecture and project management, where you could be involved in the strategic planning for the network with responsibility for managing budgets and teams of IT specialists.
How much do network engineers make?
With a starting salary of £34,000, network engineers can progress to the earning potential of £61,000. In the UK, the average network engineer salary is £45,000, making it a lucrative career you could embark on.
Is network engineering a good career?
Now you know what the top 5 network engineer jobs are, it's safe to say a career within this space is worth pursuing. Network engineering is a challenging but rewarding sector offering excellent salaries and earning potential with a broad range of job prospects and career potential in various industries.
What's more, you'll get the chance to power the future of IT teams for some of the world's fastest-growing organisations and work on some of the latest projects in the network engineering space. So, with the right skill sets, qualifications and hunger to progress in the industry, you, too, can reap the rewards of a career in network engineering.
Power your future with the best networking engineering jobs
So what are you waiting for? If you’re a candidate looking to kickstart your career in network engineering or are seeking a new challenge with the latest network engineer jobs, now is the time to get started. With our expertise and extensive network of opportunities, our specialists will guide you through your future job search to help connect you with the perfect role most suited to your aspirations.