What is a Network Engineer? Basically, a Network Engineer is a computer professional who builds and maintains the networks that computers use to communicate. These networks may be small business networks or huge global networks.
While there are a couple of other major players in the manufacture of computer network components, Cisco is by far the largest force in networking. A majority of data is conducted from computer to computer via Cisco routers, switches, etc .. These gadgets make the internet work.
This equipment is so important that the industries key educational certifications are all Cisco specific. There are three tiers of certifications beyond the entry level: Associate, Professional, and Expert. In each of these tiers, there are a number of specialties, or tracks.
CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician)
This entry level certification is good for network support staff. Passing one test is all that is required to get it. It does not have a significant impact on earnings. Generally, it is seen as a forgotten step toward the CCNA.
CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
The CCNA is a popular certification for those involved in the administration of small to medium sized networks. The CCNA requires two exams. Having this certification increases employability and income potential.
CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
The CCNP conversations the planning and implementation of wide area networks with up to 500 devices. Passing three comprehensive exams are required to attain this level. Frequently, an experienced CCNP can fill the position of a CCIE, however, statistically, they are paid less for the job.
CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)
The CCIE is the king of network engineering certifications. Professionals at this level are expected to be able to do anything with networks of any size. The testing for this certification involves a comprehensive exam followed by an incredibly difficult hands on practical lab examination. Having this certification can result in as much as an extra $ 30,000 per year in annual salary compared to a professional of identical experience without the CCIE.
From the outside, Network Engineers seem a homogenous bunch, however factors such as experience and these certifications make a great deal of difference. These differences manifest in the form of responsibility and compensation.
University is just the beginning. This career both demands and rewards continual education. It is no small surprise that the cutting edge of technology keeps pushing the bar higher, and these talented professionals race to keep up.