Posted by Clea Badion on Friday, January 15, 2016 - 08:00
“It’s one of just a few IT positions where candidates are hardest to find, and that generates strong demand,” said Cameron Morgensen, Salt Lake City division director.
Morgensen added that firms are seeking these masters-of-all-things-networking because networks have become increasingly complicated as technology has grown and advanced.
Going up: network engineer salaries
It’s no surprise given the demand for these IT professionals that a starting network engineer salary is projected to increase 5.7 percent in 2016, with compensation ranging from $96,000-$138,750.
You can use our Salary Calculator to adjust an entry-level network engineer salary for your city.
Interested in becoming a network engineer? Here’s a broad list of qualifications:
- Be detail-oriented and have in-depth knowledge of networking hardware and software
- Have five or more years of experience in areas such as network design and implementation, LAN/WAN interfacing, security, Internet protocols and TCP/IP, and server and network infrastructure
- Have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or electrical engineering
- A professional certification, such as Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), also is highly desirable
A typical network engineer job description includes:
- Engineering enterprise data, voice and video networks
- Establishing and operating network test facilities
- Maintaining a secure transfer of data to multiple locations via internal and external networks
- Working with vendors, clients, carriers and technical staff on network implementation, optimization and ongoing management
- Providing high-level support and technical expertise in networking technology, including LAN/WAN hardware, hubs, bridges and routers
Communication skills are key to success
Aside from technical skills, the ability to communicate with non-technical people is essential. “Network engineers deal with everyone in a company, and if they aren’t able to communicate effectively, they won’t be able to grow into senior-level positions,” said Morgensen.
Further, Morgensen suggests recent college graduates looking to break into the field get certified: “Companies will take a risk on candidates who may not have as much experience, but have their Cisco Certified Network Associate designation. They may start you in an entry-level help desk position, which is a great training ground, but you won’t be there long.”
In addition to information on a starting network engineer salary and job description, you’ll find information on starting compensation for 70 IT jobs in 150 North American cities in our Salary Guide.
More career resources:
Note: This post has been updated. It was originally published on 12/16/13.