What Are Some Network Engineer Roles and Responsibilities?
Network engineers make and maintain network systems that all employees of the organization will use. This role involves many tasks and responsibilities that can vary, depending on the specific organization.
As a network engineer, you will likely be required to:
- Administer and maintain computer networks and related computer areas such as hardware, systems software, applications software, and configurations.
- Protect the security of hardware, software, and data by establishing, coordinating, and implementing network security procedures.
- Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations when necessary.
- Order and replace defective or outdated hardware components when necessary.
- Monitor system performance in order to determine when adjustments are necessary.
- Troubleshoot any software, hardware, or other system or network issues in order to diagnose and resolve the problem.
- Configure, maintain, and monitor email applications and virus protection programs.
- Work with network users to solve any systems issues.
- Coordinate access and use of computer networks.
- Operate master consoles for monitoring performance of computer systems and networks.
While the above are typical responsibilities for a network engineer, you may have additional duties depending on the organization you work for.
What Are Some Network Engineer Job Requirements?
At a minimum, network engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study like computer science, programming, or engineering, but many employers prefer to hire candidates with an MBA in information systems. Employers also prefer their network engineers to have previous experience in the field, either as working with IT systems or in network administration.
Some of the other requirements for network engineer positions are:
- A solid understanding of network infrastructure and hardware.
- The ability to implement, administer, maintain, and troubleshoot network infrastructure devices.
- An understanding of network infrastructure protocols and application transport.
- The ability to provide detailed information for software and hardware upgrades or purchases.
- The ability to produce detailed network diagrams and documentation for the design and planning of network systems.
- Excellent analytical skills that allow for finding flaws or areas for improvement in complex network systems.
- Strong attention to detail and organization.
- Leadership skill when the position requires the network engineer to work with a team of other engineers.
- The ability to work well with a team of both upper management and subordinates.
- Dependability and flexibility.
- LAN and WAN experience, as well as network security experience.
- Initiative to stay up-to-date on the latest technology.
- An understanding of the hardware and wiring needs of the organization.
What is a Typical Network Engineer Job Description?
As a network engineer, you will be responsible for administering and maintaining an organization’s computer networks. The most common duties for the network engineer role include the maintenance of software, hardware, networks, and other related systems. Additionally, you will be responsible for protecting information, hardware, and software from threats, and replacing any defective hardware components when necessary. You will also work closely with network users to identify any issues and resolve them.
Being a network engineer requires that you have a strong understanding of network hardware and network infrastructure. It’s also necessary to have the ability to implement, administer, maintain, and troubleshoot various network devices including firewalls, WAPs, switches, routers, and controllers. In most cases, a network engineer position also requires extensive knowledge of application transport and network infrastructure protocols.
Overall, as a network engineer, you need to possess the knowledge and experience that allows you to make and maintain network systems that all employees of the organization will use. The complexity of these networks can vary widely depending on the organization and may require that you work alongside a Chief Technology Engineer. That means that excellent communication skills are also a must.
A Day in the Life of a Network Engineer
A typical day for a network engineer can vary widely depending on the culture and industry of the organization. While some network engineers will work a regular 9-5 workday, there are others who may be required to work evenings and weekends or be on call should any network problems arise. However, there are some daily tasks and responsibilities that are generally common to most network engineer positions. Based on those tasks, a typical day for a network engineer may include:
- Review any downed devices, trouble tickets, and network monitoring tools
- Diagnose and resolve those network issues and continually monitor ticketing system for new trouble tickets entered throughout the day
- Monitor network performance tools and investigate any issues
- Review and perform scheduled maintenance on network systems, as necessary
- Review device configurations to ensure they are correct and up to standards
- Work on any ongoing projects including writing project plans, monitoring and documenting the progress of the project, communicating with other departments and upper management regarding the project
- Administrative tasks like inventory and documentation
While the network engineer position is not a cookie cutter job, and daily responsibilities and tasks can be very different depending on the organization, the overall goal is to maintain network systems for users so that they can work efficiently and productively.