5 top junior network engineer jobs to launch your career

9 min

Network engineer jobs are in high demand from organisations looking to gain an advantage ove...

Network engineer jobs are in high demand from organisations looking to gain an advantage over their competitors to graduates seeking the chance to get their foot in the door of an exciting and fast-moving industry. As network engineer salaries have seen a 9% increase over the last five years and the market continues to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% from now to 2031, now is the perfect time to start your career in the sector. 

But what roles are available to help you get started? In this guide, we’ll answer this question as we explore the 5 top junior network engineer jobs to launch your career. 

We’ll delve into the below roles, outlining the main responsibilities, skills, and requirements for how to get an entry-level network engineer job.

  • Junior network engineer
  • Junior NOC engineer
  • Junior penetration tester
  • Junior cyber security analyst
  • Junior fibre network designer

1. Junior network engineer

A junior network engineer is an entry-level IT professional responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of various computer networks. With supervision from more senior engineers, they produce reports on the status of a network whilst managing network management programmes. Junior network engineers will also conduct diagnostics on local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) and respond to emergency issues as soon as they arise. 

Responsibilities of a junior network engineer

Here are some of the typical duties and responsibilities of a junior or graduate network engineer:  

  • Support with the installation, configuration, and maintenance of network hardware and software
  • Troubleshoot issues within a network 
  • Analyse network traffic and report on the findings
  • Design and implement network security measures such as firewalls
  • Document network configurations and diagnostics

Junior network engineer skills

Below are some of the primary skills you should look to harness as you begin searching for the latest graduate network engineer jobs: 

  • Excellent analytical skills
  • A critical thinker with great problem-solving skills
  • Technical ability with strong troubleshooting skills
  • Ability to work well in a team and under the supervision of a senior engineer
  • Solid written and verbal communication skills

Graduate network engineer salary

Entry-level network engineer salaries typically start at around £20,000.

How to become a junior network engineer

If you’re interested in finding out how to get an entry-level network engineer job, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field
  • Reach out to IT companies and gain experience with networking technologies, such as Cisco routers and switches
  • Enrol in network engineering courses, such as the CompTIA Network+ certification 
  • Network with other IT professionals
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest networking technologies

Junior network engineer jobs are an excellent career path to take. Within this role, you will learn the basics of networking and how to troubleshoot and maintain network issues while gaining experience with network security measures and designing and implementing them. As you gain experience by climbing the career ladder, you could progress to more senior roles, such as network engineer or senior network engineer.

2. Junior NOC engineer

A junior NOC engineer is another entry-level position in the network operations centre (NOC). Graduates entering this role are responsible for monitoring and troubleshooting internal telecommunication network and computer system problems for a business or on behalf of a company for a range of clients. Junior NOC engineers will help configure hardware systems for various network applications and devices, performing routine maintenance tasks and logging their findings.

Responsibilities of a junior NOC engineer

Typically, a junior NOC engineer will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Monitor the performance of network applications, devices, and services
  • Diagnose and troubleshoot network problems
  • Conduct routine network maintenance checks
  • Report on maintenance checks and any recent issues and solutions
  • Collaborate with senior NOC engineers on more complex and critical issues

Junior NOC engineer skills 

Here are some of the key skills you should develop as you embark on your junior NOC engineer career:

  • An understanding of network architecture, design, and configuration
  • Some experience working with network monitoring and diagnostic tools
  • Proficient  troubleshooting skills
  • Solid analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work under pressure with excellent communication skills

Graduate NOC engineer salary

Junior NOC engineers can expect a starting salary of around £30,000.

How to become a junior NOC engineer

If you’re looking to kickstart a career as a junior NOC engineer, here are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of getting hired:

  • Earn a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, computer science, information technology, or a related field
  • Gain work experience within the industry and develop your knowledge of network monitoring and troubleshooting tools
  • Network with people in the industry for opportunities 
  • Volunteer or intern at an NOC
  • Keep updated with the latest network engineering industry trends

The job outlook for NOC engineers is good, as the demand for these professionals is expected to grow in the coming years. As your junior NOC engineer career progresses, you could move to more senior and executive-level positions, such as a chief information officer (CIO) or IT manager.  

3. Junior penetration tester

Another of the top junior network engineering jobs that can launch your career is the role of a junior penetration tester. Otherwise known as a pen tester, graduate talent within this role is responsible for supporting network security. They do this by simulating real-world cyber attacks on the company’s networks, systems, and IT infrastructure to test for faults and vulnerabilities. By doing this, junior pen testers can advise on how to improve an organisation's infrastructure.

Responsibilities of a junior penetration tester

Junior penetration testers are accountable for a broad range of responsibilities. These specific duties can vary depending on the employer, but typically they include:

  • Conduct real-life scenarios and vulnerability assessments to identify security weaknesses within a business’s network, computer systems, and IT infrastructure 
  • Support senior pen testers in developing and executing pen-testing strategies
  • Exploit vulnerabilities to access systems and networks
  • Report on the findings of penetration tests
  • Recommend solutions to fix and optimise security within networks, systems, and infrastructure  

Graduate penetration tester skills

Junior penetration tester jobs require top graduate candidates to have the following skills:

  • Solid understanding of various networks, computer systems, and IT infrastructure
  • Great attention to detail when testing a network for security vulnerabilities 
  • Ability to think creatively and strategically to discover solutions to combat security faults
  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills
  • Eagerness to constantly update your knowledge of the technical aspects of network engineering

Junior penetration tester salary

The starting salary for junior pen testers is £24,000.

How to become a junior penetration tester

If you want to know how to get an entry-level network engineer job within the pen testing space, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Achieve a degree in cyber security, computing, and information systems, computer science, computer systems engineering, or a related field
  • Get certified in penetration testing by completing certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), the CREST Registered Penetration Tester (CRT), and the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Attend security conferences and meetups to meet other pen testers and  security professionals to learn from their experiences
  • Develop your knowledge of penetration testing tools and techniques through online resources and work experience 
  • Maintain your level of understanding by staying updated with the latest industry trends

With hard work and dedication, you can become a successful junior penetration tester and help the world’s most prominent businesses stay protected against cyber attacks. As you gain more experience, you could progress to leadership roles within this niche or even consider becoming a self-employed pen tester. 

4. Junior cyber security analyst

Following on from our previous security-related graduate network engineering job, next on our list is the junior cyber security analyst position. This entry-level role in the field of cyber security typically sees graduates working under the supervision of a more experienced analyst to perform various tasks. These tasks involve developing solutions for identifying and managing cyber threats to protect a company’s networks from online security breaches.

Responsibilities of a junior cyber security analyst

As a junior cyber security analyst, you’ll be responsible for the following:

  • Monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity and potential cyber threats
  • Investigate and report on cyber security incidents
  • Analyse and investigate malware and other network-related cyber threats  
  • Update cyber security policies and procedures for the network 
  • Recommend security solutions with technical and non-technical stakeholders in mind
  • Maintain cyber security documentation and help advise stakeholders on how to protect themselves and the company from malicious online activity 

Junior cyber security analyst skills

Below are some of the key graduate cyber security analyst skills you should have:

  • Solid knowledge of cyber security and networking technologies, including automation tools to support your day-to-day within the role
  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills
  • Ability to work under pressure to solve emergency cyber threats in real-time
  • Strong time management and organisational skills
  • Great interpersonal skills with an ability to work independently, as part of a team, and under the guidance of a senior cybersecurity analyst

Graduate cyber security analyst salary

Junior cyber security analysts can expect a starting salary of around £25,000. 

How to become a junior cyber security analyst

If you’re seeking to power your career as a cyber security analyst, here are some of the things you can do to get yourself ready:

  • Earn a degree in cyber security, computer science, or a related field
  • Utilise online resources to bolster your experience in using cyber security tools and techniques
  • Get yourself certified in cyber security. The Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) is a valuable certification for entry-level talent in this space
  • Network with other security professionals by attending relevant conferences and webinars to connect and build relationships with other cyber security professionals 
  • Keep a close eye on the latest developments in cyber security 

Cyber security is a major pillar within network engineering, and roles within this space are in high demand by both organisations and candidates alike. By applying for junior cyber security analyst jobs, you can set yourself up for a career that could lead you to the head of or director of cyber security positions where you could be responsible for protecting global organisations from increasing levels of online threats. 

5. Junior fibre network designer

Our final entry to our 5 top junior network engineer jobs to launch your career is the role of a junior fibre network designer. A junior fibre network designer is an entry-level role in the field of telecommunication networks, whereby talent is responsible for assisting the technical aspects of a fibre optic network. Under the guidance of a senior professional, graduates within this space support the designing, documentation, and general maintenance of fibre optic networks.  

Responsibilities of a junior fibre network designer

Entry-level fibre network designer jobs typically involve the following responsibilities:

  • Gather and analyse fibre optic network requirements from various stakeholders
  • Design and create strategies for fibre optic networks
  • Draw up documentation for the network design, such as schematics and budget of materials
  • Work with contractors to install the fibre optic network
  • Test, commission, and maintain the network

Junior fibre network designer skills

Typically, graduate fibre network designers will be equipped with the following skills:

  • Previous experience in network telecommunications
  • Experience in creating strategies 
  • Knowledge of applications such as Geographic Information System (GIS) and Microsoft Visio
  • Excellent mathematics and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to self-learn and grow within the field

Graduate fibre network designer salary

A junior fibre network designer can earn a starting salary of around £30,000.

How to become a junior fibre network designer

Below are some of the things you can do if you want to know how to get an entry-level network engineer job in this space:

  • Earn a degree in computer engineering or a related field
  • Gain experience in fibre optic networking through internships or voluntary work
  • Develop your skills in computer-aided design (CAD) software and fibre optic networking principles
  • Network with professionals in the field for junior network designer opportunities
  • Achieve certification in courses such as Certified Premises Cabling Technician (CPCT) or Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT)

Junior fibre network designer jobs are vast and come with the potential to work for some of the fastest-growing companies in the world of IT. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments within the industry and honing in on the skills mentioned above, you will quickly progress through the ranks to more senior fibre technician and fibre engineer roles.  


Rounding everything up

As the network engineering space continues to grow, with the global market forecasted to hit $111.7 billion by 2031, there’s never been a better time to kickstart your entry-level career within the sector, whether graduate network engineer jobs or junior penetration tester jobs, opportunities to progress in this field are almost limitless. 

If you want more advice on how to get an entry-level network engineer job, check out our guide on how to transition into a network engineering job.


Power your future with our top junior network engineer jobs

If you’re hoping to embark on your future career with the latest graduate network engineer jobs, we can help. Our expert enterprise network recruitment consultants have an extensive range of vacancies with some of the industry’s most innovative companies and are ready to connect you to them. 

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re a hungry candidate eager to find the best junior network engineer jobs, now’s the time to take your first step. You can take that first step with us by getting in touch with a member of our team today.