A Guide to Building a Personal Brand as a Network Engineer20 Nov, 20238 min
When it comes to career mobility, a personal brand is often just as important as the skills ...
When it comes to career mobility, a personal brand is often just as important as the skills you possess, with 71% of professionals believing that a strong personal brand can lead to an increased range of career opportunities. As a network engineer, the way that you showcase your qualities and skills can help you stand out from the competition.
In this guide, we’ll explore what a personal brand is before exploring four real-world examples that have seen success from the perspective of your online presence, thought leadership, and community involvement. We’ll then look at how you can build a personal brand as a network engineer, focusing on discovering a niche, engaging with professionals in your field, and writing a clear statement.
What is a Personal Brand?
Your personal brand plays a crucial role in illustrating the unique blend of attitude, experiences, and skills that define you as an individual and professional. In short, it’s not only how you present yourself to the world but how you’re perceived by it.
Developing your personal brand is a long-term, continuous process, in which you reflect on your values and expertise alongside other components, including:
- Communication style. Expressing yourself clearly and professionally, with the ability to simplify complex concepts, is an incredible skill to develop as a network engineer, helping you collaborate with clients and colleagues.
- Consistency. Making sure you’re consistent in your actions and presence helps you build trust and recognition with your customers and all members of your team, reinforcing your personal brand.
- Principles. Defining your ethical stance will support you in making critical decisions throughout your career while making it easier to connect with other professionals by demonstrating integrity.
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You’ll need to bring this to the table whenever you’re looking for a raise or promotion, helping to set you apart from other engineers.
- Reputation. This is what makes you sought-after when it comes to network engineer jobs. Possessing a strong, positive reputation opens doors to networking opportunities.
As you can see, a personal brand is relevant to experts in all fields, including network engineering. When you’ve spent some time considering yours, you’ll be better placed to differentiate yourself from your professional competitors and able to showcase your strengths and values through clear examples of your past experience.
If you’re a network engineer who’s interested in learning more about how to paint yourself in the best light in interviews and applications, see our recent guide to The Top 5 Soft and Transferable Network Engineer Skills for more insights into the often-overlooked skills that professionals in the field possess.
Personal Branding: Examples from the Experts
It’s not much good to understand what a personal brand is in theory without having some examples of how engineers and technologists have been able to build their own. So, in this next section, we’ll do exactly that.
Looking at three professionals for personal branding examples, we’ll explore the importance of online presence, thought leadership, and community involvement, illustrating how all three can be crucial components when it comes to building a personal brand.
Online Presence: Shirley Wu
Her creative use of online channels has seen her collaborate extensively with writers and other data scientists, which led to the publication of a Guardian article which would go on to win numerous accolades, including Gold in Politics and Global from the Information is Beautiful Awards, and a Winner in the Best Data Visualisation category at the World Digital Media Awards.
Wu’s brand showcases the powerful uses of data for good in the modern world, empowering others within the data science community to communicate openly and effectively with their research.
Thought Leadership: Linus Torvalds
Torvalds could fit anywhere on this list of personal branding examples. Creator of the Linux kernel and Git, this open-source evangelist and technical expert continues to express his opinions on software development and contributes actively to the development of Linux.
From interviews to the Linux mailing list, Torvalds critiques and praises practices, tools, and the broader software development industry, sparking discussions and debates within the community and providing mentorship and guidance to those new to working with the Linux kernel.
His reflections on the future of technology at conferences have allowed him to share his thoughts on the potential for open-source technologies and software development as a wider field, spreading his thought leadership to a broader audience.
Community Involvement: Rahul Panicker
The co-founder of Embrace Innovations, a start-up which helps premature babies through the production of a low-cost infant warmer, Rahul Panicker’s conscientious and community-focused developments have seen his products distributed across India and fifteen other developing countries.
Embrace was set up as a non-profit to ensure that these infant warmers could be donated to any organisation that had a need for them.
His continued community involvement in recent years comes by way of discussing the positive impact of AI, as well as his involvement in professional arm wrestling, through which he continues to advertise his social enterprise and other entrepreneurial ventures.
Building a Personal Brand as a Network Engineer
Network engineering is an ever-evolving field, with emerging technologies and new software development practices disrupting the industry with regularity. As a result, establishing a robust personal brand can be a game-changer, helping to set you apart from the competition.
However, knowing how to craft a compelling personal brand can be a challenge. This section will show how you can best showcase your skills, experiences, and attitude and secure senior network engineering jobs and salaries.
Find Your Niche
Network engineering is a broad field, and determining the specific passion or area of expertise you’d like to be most knowledgeable in can help you build thought leadership in that area.
Whether it’s security, the cloud, wireless technologies, or the impact that AI and machine learning will have on the field, you’ll also be able to keep up with the latest developments if you focus your interests on a particular niche.
The Importance of Continuous Learning
Staying up-to-date with emerging technologies and the latest trends as a network engineer will require you to embrace an openness to continuous learning throughout the course of your career.
Whether you choose to take part in online courses and workshops, earn qualifications from organisations such as Cisco, CompTIA, and Juniper, or discover a mentor, it’s important to evaluate your knowledge and measure it against your career goals.
By tracking the skills and knowledge you’re gaining, you can network successfully and open up more professional and personal opportunities.
Speaking and Writing
There is a broad range of platforms for sharing your knowledge and thought leadership, from a personal website or blog, to penning articles for industry publications, websites, or journals, alongside presenting research and work at conferences, webinars, or networking events.
By speaking and writing about your work, advertising it through your social media channels, and engaging with the network engineering community, your personal brand will be enhanced, building trust and establishing you as an expert.
Networking for the Network Engineer
Our role is more than just cables and routers. It’s about building relationships with others. As a network engineer, your professional network is a catalyst for knowledge, career growth, and other opportunities.
Leveraging networking can be an excellent way to build your personal branding. Examples abound of online channels for engaging with professionals in the field, from X (formerly known as Twitter) and LinkedIn to YouTube. Optimising your profile to highlight your skills and professional experience and actively contributing to the communities you’re in with content and ideas can be a valuable way to build those connections.
Beyond seeking mentorship opportunities from others to enhance your knowledge, you can also consider offering your skills and experience to assist newcomers to the field. This not only contributes toward the longevity of the field but it also boosts your reputation as a helpful and experienced network engineer.
Writing a Personal Brand Statement
Your personal brand statement is everything we’ve discussed in this article, encapsulated within a few clear, concise sentences. It should be a shorthand way to convey who you are, what you do, and what you bring to the table as a network engineer.
You need to ensure that this brand statement reflects your true professional and personal self. Consider your messaging: are you being genuine in the values and goals you’re expressing? It’s important to be authentic since it allows you to build trust.
Likewise, authenticity ensures consistency, giving you the confidence to know that you’ll be able to carry across the principles and messaging in your statement to all interactions, whether online or offline.
Experts in Sourcing Talent for Network Engineer Jobs
Whether you’re looking to acquire network engineering talent or you’re a time-seasoned professional looking to take the next step in your career, you need a partner who can offer you expert recruitment support by your side. That’s where Hamilton Barnes comes in. We’re committed to connecting ambitious, high-performing candidates with market-leading organisations of all sizes.
Contact us today to discuss your needs with our specialist consultants.