Qualifications for a network engineer
A number of universities and other institutions offer network engineer training programs. A network engineer may only need an associate degree to obtain an entry-level job, but most positions will require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or additional experience. Many network engineers are also drawn from fields such as electrical engineering, physics or mathematics. For many engineers, additional qualifications and training is closely tied to the Cisco engineering certification program, which offers five levels of career training. Other certifications are available from vendors and organizations such as Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Aruba, Alcatel-Lucent, Riverbed Technology Inc., SolarWinds, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Extreme Networks Inc. and the IPv6 Forum.
In addition to technical skills, network engineers need analytical skills, leadership skills and organizational skills. An attention to detail and the ability to problem-solve are also important. Engineers have to be able to understand complex networks and pinpoint problems or suggest ways to improve them. They must also be able to work collaboratively, as well as instruct other engineers and support staff to operate the network. And they have to be able to be flexible enough to work with both engineers and line-of-business colleagues who may not have any understanding of networking.
Increasingly, network engineers also need to know about applications and software development, reflecting the growing role of automation and software-defined networking. Therefore, engineers need to understand traffic flows, application priority and data transport. Additionally, engineers should also become acquainted with hyper-convergence, virtualization, security, containers, wide area networking and storage engineering.