Inside Network Engineer Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Not All IT People Work On Computers...
Many people are surprised by how much time I don't spend working on computers. Most of my day is spent designing networks and datacenters, not changing hard drives. They can also be quite surprised when I explain how much different an enterprise network is from their WRT-54G home access point." (Network Engineer; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Illinois in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

"Lack Of Experience In Engineers...
The amount of experience people actually lack." (Software Engineer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"IT Career Path And Time Commitment...
As an Sever Engineer I spend a large amount of time architecting very complex, highly available solutions to problems faced by the company I work for. I manage software, and hardware across multiple datacenters in multiple countries. One of the more surprising features of my career is that very few of my co-workers have IT related degrees and most never set out to have degrees in Information Technology. Most have technical degrees of some sort that help them develop a very logical method of solving problems, and moved to IT more because of a life-long interest in computers. Another surprise about my career is the number of hours I typically work. On an average week I work 50-55 hours, with some unusually busy weeks topping out at close to 70 hours." (Senior Server Engineer (IT); 2014)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Mechanical Engineering at Bradley University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 1997

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Network Engineer: "The best part of my job is the fact that I have access to the latest technologies and get to learn something new just about every day. We also have access to a lot of resources to help us do our job well. The worst part is that we also need to constantly keep learning to be able to fix whatever comes up. In the networking world new technologies come along all the time and it can be challenging and frustrating sometimes to have to, basically, relearn your whole job." (2010)

Career Background

Network Engineer

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Internships Are Great...
Get an internship" (Software Engineer; 2014)

"Career Passion Leads To Excellence...
If you want to be excellent in your job find something you love. Most Information Technology positions require a large time commitment, if you want to excel, it helps to have a passion for technology." (Senior Server Engineer (IT); 2014)

"You Learn Best When It's Broken And The Boss Is Yelling...
Go break your home network. Fix it. Then think about it overnight, and think about how you could have fixed it faster." (Network Engineer; 2013)

"Starting At A Help Desk Is A Good Path...
I started this job with no experience whatsoever of working on a help desk. This is normally the best approach as it provides a lot of hands-on experience. I then studied for the company's exams and once I passed them I applied for more complex jobs. There is a lot of information available on the web. I used quite a bit. I try to stay away from the dumps website. Although they may help you pass the exams, you will miss opportunities to really research certain scenario questions that would take the place of on the job experience." (Network Engineer; 2010)