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Career profile: Network engineer

An ethernet cable lying on a backlit laptop keyboard.Network engineers work on phone and computer networks for many different organizations.

What is a network engineer?

Network engineers install and maintain communication networks. This could include things like phone networks, computer networks and videoconferencing systems.

Network engineers have to:

  • Identify the best solution to a problem
  • Design and install the network
  • Identify and fix any faults
  • Make sure the network is secure
  • Communicate with clients and other engineers

They may also have to help out with other IT jobs from time to time.

Working as a network engineer

Network engineers might work in the IT department of a large organization, or at a consultancy working with a variety of clients. Salaries start at around £19,000 and can rise with experience to around £50,000. You may also be able to work for yourself as a freelancer.

Although you'll have normal working hours most of the time, you might sometimes be 'on call' in case of an emergency. This means that you can be called in to work if you are needed.

Becoming a network engineer

There are no specific qualifications you need to become a network engineer, but you will normally need a degree or an HND and your chances will be improved if this is in a relevant subject, such as computer science or electronic engineering.

You'll also need to stay up to date with changing technology. Getting certified can help to demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers and clients.

Experience of working in IT is also important, as are good communication and problem-solving skills.

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