The IT industry has proven time and time again that it’s almost recession-proof. This makes it a lucrative career to pursue if you’re considering becoming a network engineer. The market is always in demand for network engineers of all experience levels and skill sets.
Michael Nunoo from Watervliet, New York, is an expert network engineer for a large organization where he is putting all his education to good use. Presently he is ensuring that all communication systems for his organization are operational and running smoothly. He is also in the department that makes sure that all employees are able to access work files over the internet. As an experienced network engineer, Michael shares his insights with people looking to build a career in networking.
What is a Network Engineer?
As you can tell from the wide variety of job obligations that Michael Nunoo performs at his current job, the duties of a network engineer are varied and far-reaching. Whether you call it a network administrator or a network planner, the job of the network engineer covers a lot of ground in the IT industry. Part of your day-to-day job is to plan and manage IT networks. This includes optimizing the network and securing it against outside threats.
Unlike other network staff in the department who handle the minor issues that arise on a daily basis, the network engineer maintains the overall structure and security of the network. Their job involves integrating new technologies, finding flaws in the current system, and improving the overall performance and integrity of the network.
Education and Certifications
A successful career in networking always starts with the right education degree. According to Michael Nunoo, without a recognizable degree from an established institution, one can’t get a job as a network engineer. This is a very demanding job, and you need to have the right qualifications to start a successful career in networking.
By the right qualifications, Michael means you need to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science. An alternative would be a degree in computer engineering or information systems. Any of these degrees will give you the basic foundation to handle the tasks given to you as part of your job. In addition, you will also need to get a certification such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, or CompTIA Security+. Furthermore, being certified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) will greatly benefit you in this field. These certifications improve your chances of landing a lucrative job as a network engineer with a large company.
Soft Skills and Qualifications
When working as a full-time network engineer, it’s important to understand that neither the degree nor the certification alone is enough to get you ahead. You’ll also need soft skills. These are skills that are not closely related to networking but are nonetheless crucial for your success. These may include critical thinking, teamwork, and excellent communication skills.
It goes without saying that you’ll need to be a good team player to thrive in a work environment that requires a team of qualified professionals to work together for long hours. The ability to communicate well is also important. When it comes to IT and networking, anything can happen in a fraction of a second. So, you need to be able to alert your coworkers about any issues and communicate the right steps to take to remedy the situation.
Michael Nunoo on the Career Path for a Network Engineer
Once you have the right degree in the field closest to networking, you need to think about your next steps. The field of networking, Michael Nunoo elaborates, covers many subcategories. You have many paths to choose from and they all are legitimate network engineering career options. But no matter what role you choose, you have to make sure that the certification you acquire aligns with that role.
For example, if you are considering the role of a network security specialist, then you should get a CompTIA Security+ certification or something similar. However, that doesn’t mean you should focus only on a narrow subcategory at the cost of building a strong foundation in IT networking as a whole. On the job, you can never tell what kind of issues might come your way. The more comprehensive your knowledge and skill set, the better you’ll perform in your job as a network engineer.