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How to become a Network Manager

network manager careers

What does a Network Manager do?

Network managers have a range of responsibilities including evaluating, designing, implementing and administering computer network systems within an organisation or between organisations. They may manage a company's in-house network support team or may work for an IT consultancy firm, dealing with a number of client accounts.

There are four types of computer network:

  • local area networks (LANs), which link offices in one building or branches of the same company within a limited area
  • metropolitan area networks (MANs), link offices across a region
  • wide area networks (WANs), which link nationally or internationally
  • global area networks (GANs), combine all of the above with satellite mobile communications technologies.
Main duties include:
  • analysing and evaluating a client's network requirements
  • designing and testing proposals in line with those requirements
  • ensuring compatibility and interdependencies with other network features are met
  • supervising technical staff
  • implementing network security measures
  • planning preventative maintenance schedules
  • monitoring and reporting on network performance and usage
  • managing the growth and development of network systems.

Network managers work closely with other IT professionals and business managers to ensure systems work efficiently. See profiles for Network Engineer and Project Manager: IT.

What's the working environment like working as a Network Manager?

Network managers normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They may need to work outside of office hours when installing systems to minimise disruption to a client's service. They may be on call if breakdowns occur outside normal working hours.

Work is normally office-based, and may be at one site or, if involved in a large network operation, may involve travelling between sites.

What does it take to become a Network Manager?

As a network manager, you should:

  • have excellent IT skills
  • possess strong analytical skills and an innovative approach to problem solving
  • have good negotiating skills
  • have good communication and presentation skills
  • be decisive
  • be able to work within a team
  • be able to plan and prioritise effectively
  • have project management skills
  • be able to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • have an appreciation of the client's wider business demands
  • keep up-to-date with IT trends and developments
  • be able to work within budgetary constraints.

Network Manager Career Opportunities

Prospects are good, as any organisation which relies on IT systems to function will employ the services of network managers and engineers. There is a trend towards convergence of the IT and telecommunications sectors, so there will be opportunities within that area for networking professionals.

Network managers also work for companies that manufacture computers and associated equipment; others are employed by companies that specialise in the supply, installation and servicing of computer networks. It is possible to work abroad for a UK or an overseas company.

Options for progression include wider project management and strategic planning for information systems; business analysis and process improvement; and systems architecture and freelance consultancy.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Network Manager that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

e-skills UK
1 Castle Lane
London
SW1E 6DR
www.e-skills.com

British Computer Society
1 Sanford Street
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN1 1HJ
www.bcs.org.uk

The Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)
www.comptia.org

Cisco Systems (UK and Ireland)
www.cisco.com/global/uk

Microsoft UK
www.microsoft.com/uk

Skills Framework for the Information Age
www.sfia.org.uk

Facts and Stats:

  • There are 76.5m Internet users in the USA.
  • The Apple iMac holds the record for the shortest instruction manual, which amounts to only 36 words and 6 pictures.
  • Computer software and hardware are the items bought most often over the Internet, followed by books and CDs.