what is a network engineer?

As a network engineer, you maintain the connectivity of networks in organisations. You ensure that 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 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 solutions 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.

Successful network engineers rely on cloud computing, programming and cybersecurity technical skills. Soft skills like analytical and problem-solving abilities help you excel in the role.

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average network engineer salary

Network engineers perform a crucial role in maintaining computer networks in a company. Due to the nature of their tasks, they receive a generous remuneration. The typical salary of a network engineer in Australia is $120,000 per year. When you are in an entry-level position, you start with a salary of $110,000 annually. With experience and additional qualifications, you work senior roles in the company and take home a remuneration package of over $130,000 per year.

what factors affect the salary of a network engineer?

Your earnings mainly depend on your expertise. With additional certifications, like CompTIA Network+, you start with a higher salary. Your experience in computer networks also boosts your earnings.

Working in metro areas increases your earning potential significantly. Most technology companies and large organisations are based in metro areas, increasing the demand for network engineers. The high demand leads to higher salaries for network engineers.

The company size also determines your remuneration package. When you work for large companies, you perform complex duties since you are responsible for managing vast computer networks. Large organisations also have more resources and can afford to pay higher network engineer salaries.

Want to know what you will earn as a network engineer? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of network engineers

Network engineers have numerous specialisations, including cloud networking, network security and wireless networks. As a cloud networking architect, you use your understanding of the hybrid cloud environment to prepare an organisation for cloud computing. Your job involves cloud deployment and migrating the company's data. You also troubleshoot issues arising from cloud services.

As a network security specialist, you search for 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 engineers install and configure wireless equipment. They also maintain and troubleshoot issues that lead to downtimes and upgrade the equipment as needed. As a voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP) engineer, you enable voice and video capability on one network. VOIP technology allows users to make phone calls, chat with colleagues and conduct meetings online. Your job is to install and maintain VOIP networks.

A data centre networking specialist sets up and maintains the data centre housing the organisation's critical data and applications. Their job is to manage computing resources and the network infrastructure to keep the data centre safe.

male looking at tablet while standing beside servers
male looking at tablet while standing beside servers

working as a network engineer

Network engineers install and maintain computer networks and systems. If you are interested in the role, check out the duties, responsibilities and work environments associated with the role.


education and skills

To work as a network engineer in Australia, you require a bachelor's degree or a relevant qualification. Consider pursuing a degree in information systems, information technology or computer science. These courses equip you with the necessary skills to perform your tasks as a network engineer. If you have previous tertiary qualifications, consider a postgraduate degree in networking.

If you don’t qualify for a bachelor's degree program, pursue a vocational education and training (VET) qualification, like a diploma in IT or advanced networking. Aside from your educational qualification, complete industry-recognised certifications to improve your employability. For instance, you obtain Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), CompTIA Network+ or Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification.

network engineer skills and competencies

Some of the qualities that help network engineers excel 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 minimise 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. For instance, you take care of the network selection process, from configuration to the final implementation. You coordinate the installation process and ensure minimal network disruptions and downtimes.
  • basic programming skills: as a network engineer, you require basic coding skills to work on enterprise-grade networks. Your programming skills help you automate tasks and complete your work more efficiently.
  • communication skills: as a network engineer, you require excellent communication skills when answering questions and giving instructions to team members. With good listening skills, you can better understand the type of support that end-users need.

FAQs about working as a network engineer

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a network engineer.

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