Data Engineer

Every business relies heavily on their network systems in order to run operations smoothly. With more businesses being shifted online and requiring the use of technology and digital systems, it is inevitable that companies need someone who is confident in keeping their networks up and running, whilst also being able to problem-solve should challenges arise. 

Network engineer is a critical role to fill for any organisation that wishes to achieve optimal performance every day whilst keeping their data stable and secure.

The role of a network engineer

Network engineers have the responsibility of planning, implementing, and maintaining a company's network infrastructure and computer networks. Their role is focused on ensuring maximum network efficiency and productivity for the whole team to get their work done, keeping internet connections stable and network security protected. These professionals can work for a wide range of businesses and industries, from larger MNCs to small companies, specialising in anything from government to healthcare. 

Network engineer job responsibilities and duties 

As network engineers are in charge of the overall computer networks stability, they should anticipate taking on a number of important job duties. Some of the responsibilities of a network engineer include:

  • Planning, designing, and installing new network solutions or equipment
  • Improving and optimising the efficiency of existing networks
  • Monitoring network traffic and analysing logs to improve overall network performance 
  • Consistent maintenance of network systems such as installing updates and patches in a timely fashion and troubleshooting for any new problems or outages
  • Implementing appropriate network security measures and keeping them updated to protect sensitive data
  • Testing new hardware, software, and devices which may benefit the network
  • Collaborating with vendors, network security specialists, and network providers to maintain good network quality and find the best possible solutions

What qualities are needed to be a successful network engineer?

Good network engineers will be natural problem-solvers who think quickly on their feet, as they have to deal with a wide variety of potential network problems such as systems going offline or performing very slowly, and even potential data breach problems which put the company at risk. They will also need proficient leadership qualities to assert their opinions on the best course of action if any problems arise. 

Having good time management is vital for network engineers as they will be coordinating multiple tasks to meet the schedule, such as routine maintenance, software updates, and so on.

Communication skills are also important, as network engineers work closely with a group of different people including internal teams and external tech support services vendors and suppliers. They may also need to explain very technical situations to stakeholders or individuals which are not tech-savvy. It  requires an ability to communicate effectively and concisely. 

What technical skills are needed to become a network engineer?

As network engineers focus on a number of technical aspects, they require a certain set of technical skills in order to succeed. They are expected to have a concrete knowledge of different networking concepts such as TCP/IP, UDP, DNS, DHCP, internet protocol network, and routing protocols. 

They should also have a sound grasp of different types of hardware, software, infrastructure, and configurations such as routers, VPNs, servers, and hubs, including hosted IP voice services.

Other beneficial network engineer skills include having knowledge of wireless network services and cloud networking. Experience with coding programming languages such as Java and Python will be an advantage. 

Do I need any qualifications or certifications to become a network engineer?

When hiring a network engineer, most companies will generally expect at least a bachelor's degree obtained in a relevant discipline such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Systems, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics or Physics.

Some companies often require the proof of specific certifications before they progress with your job application. These most commonly include a CompTIA Network+, CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional), CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), or CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certificate. These certifications can definitely give network engineer candidates a push in this career path and indicates their solid skill set.

Career development - what is the next step for network engineering professionals?

There are many promising career paths for network engineers, given they execute a wide range of transferable and desirable technical skills. They could potentially advance onto network management positions as Cloud Networking Architects, Computer Network Architects, Computer Engineers, Data Architects, Network Administrators, Network Managers, Software Engineers, and Systems Engineers. If one is interested in working specifically with wireless networks, they can also consider a career as a Wireless Network Engineer. 

Salary and remuneration - How much does a network engineer make?

As these job roles are very high in demand and can be applicable across multiple industries, network engineer salaries and benefits packages can be very competitive. You can refer to our latest Hong Kong salary guide for different professions.