So, you’re thinking of earning a networking major and are looking at your career options. One of these options is the network engineer, which is currently a profession that is in high demand. The demand stems from two main factors: the companies that currently have a network and need an engineer to manage it, and the companies that need an engineer to plan, construct, and then manage their network. In this article, we’re going to help you make the most out of your networking major in Chicago after you graduate.

What are the responsibilities of a network engineer?

Also known as network architects, network engineers will be responsible for the planning, implementation, and management of an organization’s computer network. However, as a network engineer, your tasks will be different from that of an IT administrator or network technician, who will be more focused on the day-to-day troubleshooting and IT operations. Network engineers mostly take on higher level challenges, such as designing and improving networks. As such, you will be working with various technologies in order to implement them or upgrade the existing network.

The steps to becoming a network engineer with a Networking Major in Chicago

The first step to becoming a network engineer is getting your bachelor’s degree in computer networking. Some companies will also hire engineers if they have degrees in information systems or computer science, and some may have higher entry requirements, such as an MBA or a master’s in computer science.

Along with your degree, practical experience will go a long way. A number of employers will allow you to earn this experience on the job, but if you want to have a leg up during the interview process, you will want to gain this experience during your studies. You can also work in an entry level position in IT support before you move on to the role of networking engineer.

There are several ways you can specialize after you’ve earned enough experience in your entry-level position. Some of these specializations include the position of network specialist, administrator, technician, analyst, manager, and solutions architect, along with the specialization of network engineer.

Specialization within network engineering has another dimension based on the technologies and methodologies you will use and the overall role you will play in the management of the network. For example, you may specialize in cloud technology, wireless or VoIP implementations, security, or quality assurance. You may also choose to become a “jack of all trades,” where you develop skills in all these areas and become a full stack network engineer or FSNE. Becoming an FSNE will make you very valuable to your company, but the training needed to develop all these skills can be complicated, simply because there is no one certification or beaten path.

Extra credentials for a Networking Major in Chicago

Extra credential and training courses are a great way to augment your CV and salary expectations. These training courses will allow you to develop the skills mentioned above, along with a host of others in related fields, such as operating systems and programming. Some organizations may require specific certifications and training courses before they hire a candidate.

The most valued certifications come from Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware, CompTIA, Citrix and Cisco. These certifications may be somewhat general or more specialized, as is the case with Cisco’s Certified Network Associate and Professional Level certifications in Routing and Switching.

Are you interested in pursuing a Networking Major Degree in Chicago?

Network engineering is an exciting technical field that will have you engaged in both conceptual and practical work. You will be able to work for both large and small organizations, or you can open your own business offering consultancy or networking services. If you are interested in earning your networking major in Chicago, contact us today for more information.