Network Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Network Engineer, or Network Administrator, is responsible for designing, installing and maintaining digital communication networks within an organisation. Their duties include establishing wireless networks, developing digital communication networks and improving cyber-security.  


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Network Engineer duties and responsibilities 

Network Engineers are responsible for all digital communication and the IT networks that allow companies to communicate both internally and externally. They are expected to install new systems to improve the company’s communication structure while maintaining the upkeep of existing networks. Other duties and responsibilities of a Network Engineer include:

  • Establishing and maintaining IT and digital communication infrastructure, including wireless or LAN networks
  • Establishing and maintaining digital communication software, including email, user logins and passwords; this includes setting up new employees with company email accounts and providing them with access to the network, as well as troubleshooting for existing employees.
  • Training new staff to operate within the company’s IT systems and ensuring that new staff are aware of company communication policies
  • Making sure that the networks are protected from malware and viruses, identifying areas that might be under threat and areas where security can be improved, keeping up to date on ever-changing cyber-threats
  • Installing and maintaining firewalls, establishing and maintaining company-wide access policies to the internet
  • Providing technical support and assistance to employees.
  • Performing analysis and collecting data to establish the potential for improvements within the communication networks
  • Working with third-party providers to keep the networks running efficiently
  • Maintaining the company’s phone system and working closely with the phone service provider to keep the lines active


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What does a Network Engineer do? 

A Network Engineer controls and maintains computer networks and any computer infrastructures that are related to hardware and software programs, configurations and software structures. They typically work in an office setting and spend most of their day at a desk working on a computer. Sometimes they outsource their service to two or more companies, requiring them to travel regularly to visit individual business locations. 

Network Engineer skills and qualifications 

A successful Network Engineer candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications including: 

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to make technical information easy to understand
  • Ability to work well both individually and in a team
  • Customer service skills if providing external support
  • Excellent logic and reasoning skills
  • Detailed computer and IT skills
  • Qualifications in computer sciences, communications, or mathematics
  • Cisco qualification or equivalent technical qualifications


Network Engineer experience requirements 

Network engineers are usually required to have several years of experience in the IT and communication sector. IT support experience, computer repair experience or experience developing software solutions is useful. Senior Network Engineers are typically required to have over five years of experience working within a Network Engineer role or IT support role. Those who want to work as Wireless Network Engineers need to have experience in wireless standards, protocols and equipment. They should be specialised in wireless technologies, including Wireless Access Point (WAP), Wi-Fi and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax). 


Network Engineer education and training requirements 

Network engineers need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in areas such as computer systems engineering, network security management, information technology or computer science. Continuing education is also important for Network Engineers, as this field continues to change with new programs and systems being released regularly. 

Network Engineers are also required to complete on-the-job training while working in entry-level IT positions, as most companies expect them to have an existing in-depth knowledge of a variety of systems and programs. Many companies also require Network Engineers to have industry-approved certifications, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate certifications and Professional CompTIA Network certifications. 


Network Engineer salary expectations 

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Network Engineer is £39,605 per year. Salary may be dependent on experience, location and company.  


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Network Engineer Job description FAQs


What is the difference between a Network Engineer and a Network Technician?

A Network Engineer is responsible for developing infrastructure and software within a company’s communications network. A Network Technician, on the other hand, is responsible for maintaining the network infrastructure and providing technical support, rather than developing software and systems. 


Are Cisco or CompTIA Network qualifications preferred?

Cisco and CompTIA Network qualifications are both industry-approved qualifications that provide relevant training and knowledge for candidates to work in a Network Engineer role. The Cisco qualifications are Cisco system-specific, whereas the CompTIA qualifications are more wide-ranging. The preferred qualification will depend on the system that the company already has in place. 


Who does a Network Engineer report to?

A Network Engineer is a part of wider communication or IT department within the company. They usually report to a Senior Network Engineer, or to a senior member of the department. In smaller companies, the Network Engineer works as the lead member, or only member of the equivalent department and consequently will have more freedom and flexibility. 

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