what is a network engineer?

As a network engineer, you maintain the connectivity of networks in organizations. You ensure the data, calls, videos, voice and wireless network services are available. The role involves formulating, executing and implementing entire computer networks in a company. You ensure all the network systems are functioning correctly. You also provide quality network infrastructure, performance and security to end users.

Aside from installing and implementing network systems, you monitor the existing networks. You assess any network problems and devise a solution to improve connectivity. You also perform routine maintenance on critical systems. That involves evaluating performance and diagnosing and repairing network issues. Regular maintenance enhances network security for end users.

A successful network engineer relies on technical skills in cloud computing, programming and cybersecurity. Soft skills like analytical and problem-solving abilities help you excel in the role.

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average network engineer salary

According to our Salary Guide, the salary of network engineers in Canada can vary depending on several factors, including the specific location, level of experience, and the employer. Entry-level network engineers with 1-3 years of experience can expect to earn an annual salary ranging from approximately $60,000 to $80,000. Network engineers with 3-5 years of experience may earn between $75,000 and $100,000 per year. Those with more than 5 years of experience and specialized skills or certifications can earn salaries ranging from $90,000 to $130,000 or even more per year. Network engineering managers or team leads with significant experience can earn higher salaries, often exceeding $100,000, and sometimes reaching well over $150,000 yearly.

how to increase the salary of a network engineer?

Network engineers' salaries vary depending on the job complexity and the employer. The size of the organization influences your compensation package. For instance, if you work in a small start-up, you are likely to earn less due to the minimal resources. Working in large companies pays more since they have more significant resources.

The sector you work in influences the complexity of the role. Working in the technology or finance sectors provides better earnings. Finance companies require complex networks to safeguard their data. The scope of network installations also influences your compensation package. In some companies, you install the network in a few departments, while in other organizations, you install them in several branches. When you work on large-scale installations, your salary will be higher.

download our salary guide

types of network engineers

Some of the specializations for network engineers include:

  • cloud networking architect: as a cloud networking architect, you prepare an organization for cloud computing using your understanding of the hybrid cloud environment. Your job involves cloud deployment and migrating the company's data. You also troubleshoot issues that arise with cloud services.
  • network security specialist: as a network security specialist, you search for network vulnerabilities and stay ahead of threats. Your job is to detect, prevent and resolve threats to a company's computer network. You constantly assess security measures and stay up-to-date on the latest threats to protect the company's network.
  • wireless network engineer: your job involves installing and configuring wireless equipment. You also maintain and troubleshoot issues that lead to downtimes and upgrade the equipment as needed.
  • voip engineer: as a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) engineer, you enable voice and video capability on one network. VOIP allows users to make phone calls, chat with colleagues and conduct online meetings. Your job is to install and maintain the VOIP networks.
  • data centre networking specialist: as a networking specialist, you set up and maintain the data centre that houses the organisation's critical data and applications. You manage the computing resources and network infrastructure to keep the data centre safe.
network engineer
network engineer

working as a network engineer

As a network engineer, you install and maintain company network systems. Read on for details on the duties, tasks, work environments and job outlook.


network engineer skills and education

To become a network engineer in Canada, you typically need a combination of education, training, and relevant certifications. Here are the general steps to follow:

  • high school education: start by completing high school with a focus on science, mathematics, and computer-related subjects. Strong foundational knowledge in these areas will be beneficial for your future studies and career.
  • bachelor's degree: many network engineers hold a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as Computer Science, Information Technology, or Computer Engineering. While a degree is not always mandatory, it can significantly improve your job prospects and earning potential. Consider pursuing a program that offers courses in networking, computer systems, and related technologies.
  • certifications: certifications are essential for demonstrating your expertise in specific networking technologies and platforms. Some of the most recognized certifications for network engineers include:
    • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
    • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
    • CompTIA Network+
    • CompTIA Security+
    • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    • Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA) or Professional (JNCIP)
  • practical experience: gain hands-on experience through internships, part-time jobs, or co-op programs. Practical experience is crucial for building your skills and understanding real-world network engineering challenges.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities that help you excel as a network engineer include:

  • problem-solving skills: you require problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities to resolve network connectivity issues. Your diagnostic skills help you identify and evaluate problems in network systems to ensure they operate optimally.
  • time management: you require good time management skills to resolve network connectivity issues faster and minimize downtimes. Planning your tasks carefully and ensuring you complete the installation within the expected deadlines is essential.
  • project management: as a network engineer, you coordinate several aspects of a project. You take care of the network selection process to final implementation and configuration. Your job is coordinating the installation process and ensuring minimal network disruptions and downtimes.


FAQs about working as a network engineer


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