Map to becoming a Network Engineer


Here’s the good news — network engineers are in high demand. Companies are investing in newer, faster technology and mobile networks every day, increasing the need for highly trained network engineers.

What Is a Network Engineer?

Network engineers (also called network architects) plan, construct and manage networks to ensure they’re optimized and functioning as intended.

As a network engineer, you’re responsible for the foundation of an organization’s IT system (and by default, the entire organization).

While network technicians or IT administrators assist with daily IT and troubleshooting tasks, network engineers take on the high-level challenge of designing and improving networks.

Depending on the company, you’ll be creating and implementing physical and wireless networks, troubleshooting issues and researching and integrating new technologies. Here are a few common networking career questions:

  • Is networking a good career? Network engineering is a fast-growing occupation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that network engineer employment is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, above average for all occupations.
  • How much do network engineers make? The national average salary for network engineers is above $72,000. Junior network engineers make around $64,000. The average salary for network analysts is $59,000.
  • Experience level: Most network engineers have 5-10 years of experience.
How to Become a Network Engineer

Achieving CCNA certification is the first step in preparing for a career in IT technologies. To earn CCNA certification, you pass one exam that covers a broad range of fundamentals for IT careers, based on the latest networking technologies, software development skills, and job roles. CCNA gives you the foundation you need to take your career in any direction.

The CCNA certification validates your skills and knowledge in network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability.

Cisco® Implementing and Administering Cisco® Solutions v1.0 (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNP)

Achieving CCNP Security certification proves your skills with security solutions. To earn CCNP Security certification, you pass two exams: one that covers core security technologies and one security concentration exam of your choice, so you can customize your certification to your technical area of focus.

To earn CCNP Security, you pass two exams: a core exam and a security concentration exam of your choice. And now every exam in the CCNP Security program earns an individual Specialist certification, so you get recognized for your accomplishments along the way.

The core exam focuses on your knowledge of security infrastructure. The core exam is also the qualifying exam for CCIE Security certification. Passing the core exam will qualify candidates to schedule and take the CCIE lab within the validity of their core exam.
Concentration exams focus on emerging and industry-specific topics. You can prepare for concentration exams by taking their corresponding Cisco training courses.

Required Core Exam:
Cisco® Implementing and Operating Cisco® Security Core Technologies v1.0 (SCOR)

Concentration Exams (Choose One):
Cisco® Implementing and Configuring Cisco® Identity Services Engine v3.0 (SISE)
Cisco® Securing Email with Cisco Email Security Appliance v3.1 (SESA)
Cisco® Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks v1.0 (SVPN)
Cisco® Implementing Automation for Cisco® Security Solutions v1.0 (SAUI)

Other Skills You Need to Become a Network Engineer

Technical ability isn’t enough for a successful engineering career. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork and critical thinking are crucial.

In one study, over half of employers reported that communication and teamwork were more important than academic results.

A great IT project will fail if it’s poorly communicated. Network engineers can’t manage teams without leadership skills. Building optimized networks is impossible without creative problem-solving.

Luckily, soft skills can be learned. A recent study by Boston College, Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that soft skills training boost productivity and retention by 12 percent, and can deliver a 250 percent return on investment in productivity.

Check out the Center for Leadership and Development for leadership training courses that will supplement your IT skills. (There’s even an exclusive curriculum for IT service management.)

Get Started on Your Network Engineering Career With New Horizons Learning Group

Network engineering is an exciting, challenging field. But you can’t get there on your own. Whether you’re looking for an IT certification or just want to take a few networking courses, New Horizons training can help you develop networking skills to boost your career.

As the world’s largest independent IT training company, New Horizons offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date network training available. With flexible self-paced or instructor-led training options, you have access to real experts and resources to confidently advance your networking career in no time.


Mar 2021

By: Shelsey Salgado