Remote, work from home
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Successful network engineers are confident communicators and possess excellent attention to detail, analytical skills and problem-solving expertise
As a network engineer you'll have responsibility for setting up, developing and maintaining computer networks within an organisation or between organisations. You'll offer support to users, who can be staff, clients, customers and suppliers, and troubleshoot any problems that arise. You may, in some cases, also be involved in designing new networks.
Your aim is to ensure the integrity of high availability network infrastructure to provide maximum performance for your users. Networks can include:
Network engineers may work internally as part of an organisation's IT support team, or externally as part of an outsourced IT networking consultancy firm working with a number of clients.
Other job titles used for this area of work include:
IT/systems support engineer
Types of network
You could work with a variety of network types, such as:
LANs - local area networks, linking a limited area such as a home, office or a small group of buildings
MANs - metropolitan area networks, linking a large area such as a campus
WANs - wide area networks, which link nationally or internationally
WLAN - wireless local area network
GANs - global area networks, combining all of the above with satellite mobile communication technologies
SAN - storage/system/server/small area network
CAN - campus/controller/cluster area network
PAN - personal area network
DAN - desk area network
VoIP - voice over internet protocol network.
As a network engineer, you'll need to:
establish the networking environment by designing system configuration, directing system installation and defining, documenting and enforcing system standards
design and implement new solutions and improve resilience of the current environment
maximise network performance by monitoring performance, troubleshooting network problems and outages, scheduling upgrades and collaborating with network architects on network optimisation
undertake data network fault investigations in local and wide area environments using information from multiple sources
secure network systems by establishing and enforcing policies, and defining and monitoring access
support and administer firewall environments in line with IT security policy
report network operational status by gathering and prioritising information and managing projects
upgrade data network equipment to the latest stable firmware releases
configure routing and switching equipment, hosted IP voice services and firewalls
provide remote support to on-site engineers and end users/customers during installation
provide remote troubleshooting and fault finding if issues occur upon initial installation
undertake capacity management and audit of IP addressing and hosted devices within data centres
liaise with project management teams, third-line engineers and service desk engineers on a regular basis
speak to customers via email and phone for initial requirement capture.
Your role will depend to a certain extent on the sector you work in and the size of your organisation.
You'll typically work a standard week. However, you may be on call outside office hours, at weekends or in the evenings, and need to be flexible in case of major technical problems occurring.
Self-employment and freelance contract work are possible with experience.
You'll usually need a degree in a subject such as:
computer software/computer systems engineering
computer systems and networks
network security management
Employers may also accept candidates without a degree if they have significant experience.
You will need:
Networking training and experience
excellent communication skills, particularly the ability to communicate with staff who aren't technically trained
the skill to take on a variety of tasks and pay attention to detail
analytical and problem-solving ability teamwork skills and the ability to feel comfortable working with different teams, clients and groups of staff across an organization
organisational skills and the ability to prioritise your workload.
Relevant work experience, for example through vacation work and summer placements
Experience in related areas such as IT support, service and repair can be useful if you want to move into network engineering.