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How to Become a Network Engineer Everyone Wants to Hire
So you want to become a professional network engineer? Here is good news – this profession is in a high demand today. Many companies are investing in newer and faster technology all the time, so they need highly trained network engineers.
To be hired, you should write a perfect resume. If you have some problems or questions, you can read network engineer resume tips or consider the help of the professional writing companies.
Yet, a perfect resume is not a 100% guarantee of success. We have created a list of 10 network engineer skills that will make you a dream worker.
The Fundamentals of Networks
The heading speaks for itself. But what are the “basics”? An engineer should have knowledge at the CCNA or Comptia Network + level.
A certificate is not required, but it is good to have it (this will help your career develop). You can also try courses from CBT Nuggets (paid) or Cybrary (free). There are interesting courses on the Udemy site.
Here, everything is obvious as well. It’s hard to imagine a network engineer who does not know how to use Cisco Packet Tracer or GNS3.
UNetLab (now EVE NG) will also be very useful. You just have to be able to quickly deploy the layout.
The skills of working with VirtualBox and VMware Workstation are also mandatory.
Fundamentals of Network Security
Many people forget about this point or simply avoid it. In general, the network security is a separate direction, but not an independent one. It is impossible to deal with network security without understanding how the network works.
You can also say the opposite – you cannot build a network without thinking about security at all. That is why we highly recommend you study the protection of networks at the CCNA Security or Comptia Security + level.
Fundamentals of Cryptography
This point follows from the previous one. Almost all companies are actively using VPN, the Internet is switching to https, and passwords are used everywhere…
It is very sad to see a network specialist who does not understand the difference between the pre-shared key and certificate-based authentication.
You should at least distinguish between symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption, understand what a hash is and be able to explain the basics of PKI.
Coursera proposes good courses on cryptography.
Fundamentals of Network Design
A good engineer should not only be able to administer existing networks, but also create the new ones. These are completely different things. To do this, you definitely need to know the basics of design.
The majority of the engineers don’t like this point. Configuring and testing networks is fun, but developing documentation is terribly boring. Structural diagram, L2 / L3 circuits, IP addressing, description of settings…
Each engineer must be able to develop such documentation. If you created and configured a network, but after that did not leave a single document with a description, you simply did not finish your work.
It’s hard to imagine a company that does not use virtualization tools. In many organizations, firewalls, routers, intrusion prevention systems are also represented as virtual machines.
You should have basic skills to work with VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V. You need to understand what a virtual switch or virtual adapter is.
You can search for courses on CBT Nuggets or Udemy.
The Basics of Working with Linux
A huge number of routers and firewalls are based on Linux. Proxy, Anti-Spam, IPS, DLP systems… all of them are based on Linux. Therefore, it is very important to be able to navigate the file system, perform simple troubleshooting commands (ip route, tcpdump, traceroute) and edit configuration files with the built-in text editors (vi).
The CentOS basic course will be a good start.
The Basics of Working with Windows Server
Almost any company has Windows Server that organizes such important services as NTP, DNS, DHCP, etc. And it would be very good to be able to configure at least these services, without which the network will not function.
Basics of Programming (bash, python)
One day, a network engineer should automate routine processes. Here, scripts come in handy (most often bash or python). There is a great variety of free courses on the basics of python.
From our point of view, the list of necessary network engineer skills looks like this. This is the necessary foundation for the further professional growth.