Network engineers, sometimes known as network administrators, are responsible for installing and maintaining computer communication networks within an organisation or between organisations. Engineers can be found in any area of commerce and industry which relies upon IT systems. For example, an engineer may be responsible for installing and servicing a bank's ATM network. They may work as part of a company's in-house IT support team or for an IT networking consultancy firm, working with a number of clients.
There are four types of computer network:
In setting up a network for a client, the engineer works with the network manager or general IT manager in designing and configuring systems that optimise performance and manage capacity to meet client business needs. Once installed, network engineers may continue to be involved in the day-to-day administration of the system.Typical duties include:
Network engineers normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They may need to work outside office hours when installing systems to minimise disruption to a client's service. Engineers are often on-call to cover breakdowns outside normal working hours.
Work is normally office-based and may be at one site or, if involved in a large network operation, involve travelling between sites.
As a network engineer, you should:
Networking engineers work in a variety of sectors including finance, retail, local and national government, the health service and utility companies. Opportunities exist within larger IT firms, either dealing with the company's own systems or working in their contract services.
With experience, engineers can progress to network management roles or, with additional training, move into other areas of IT such as project management.
A popular progression route is consultancy work as a network analyst, either with an IT consultancy firm or on a self-employed basis.
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