The network is the backbone of modern connectivity. Thus, almost every company needs it to operate. If you are curious about a career making networks run smoothly, you’re in the right spot!
I’m a network analyst, and I’m here to share my journey. So, are you ready to learn how to become a network analyst? Let’s explore the path together!
A computer network analyst is an IT expert who fixes network software and hardware issues. They are also responsible for network equipment, like switches and routers.
The analysts use their skills to do many different tasks. For example, they work with network traffic and address errors there. They also translate data packets in an easy-to-understand way.
Network analysts cover technical and business operations. They often work closely with programmers and other IT professionals to handle those tasks.
As I have said, there are many tasks for a network analyst to do. Thus, working in this role means you have a lot of responsibilities. For example:
Computer systems are complicated. They have many components. If one of the components stops working, the whole system will break down.
As a network analyst, I have to evaluate the systems’ performance regularly. I also identify security threats. All of those tasks aim for one thing: supporting the technological operations of my company.
My company needs a robust Wi-Fi connection to work. I’m the one that takes care of this aspect. To start, I install a secure and strong wireless system for my company. If there is any problem, I will analyze and fix the errors.
Setting the VPN (Virtual Private Network) is another part of my workday. My boss sometimes asks me to build network designs and routing protocols.
The network systems of my company need both software and hardware tools. It means I have to deal with everything.
For example, I set up routers, hubs, and modems. My job is also about modifying software to ensure it can work well with those devices.
I set up LAN and WAN, too. And if needed, I help computer technicians buy the right software and hardware components for better security.
Another part of my day is about datasets. I monitor, analyze, and find threats in the data. I also use it to document issues and conduct research.
There are other network engineers and support staff in my department. To ensure the best result, I collaborate with them. We often have meetings to brainstorm ideas to improve our network systems.
I also work with other technicians and end-users. Then, I know the network requirements to develop the most efficient systems for my company.
I teach interns and new network analysts, too. It’s exciting to see how they learn new things and develop their skills with my help.
Network analysts may have different paths to reach this position. To me, I have spent years studying and working hard to gain experience. Here are the seven steps I took:
A degree is not compulsory to work as a network analyst. However, you should have one because employers prefer it. A bachelor’s degree proves that you have been trained in the major.
If you want to become a network analyst, you can choose to study computer science. Other courses like computer engineering and information systems also help you get the core knowledge.
Schools may focus on different subjects. Hence, it would be best to read the curriculum of each major first.
Since your goal is network systems, aim for a curriculum that highlights all the network stuff. It can be network theory, network security, or something like that.
While studying, don’t forget to hone your skills. They will help you perform well in your job.
First things first, you must have technical skills. They ensure you can handle all the network systems correctly. So what are these skills about?
The world of networks is huge. Thus, you have many things to study. For example, you have to learn about TCP/IP rules. They help you identify problems related to how devices in the network connect.
Next, you should be able to sort through all the data packets within the network. This skill also helps you find the important ones and deal well with the rest.
Plus, there can be errors in the network traffic. So as a network analyst, you need to detect them as soon as possible. Then, learn how to fix them.
Repairing networking issues is not easy. It requires a lot of analytical thinking, which helps you figure out the cause of the problem. Then, you can come up with the best solution.
Analytical thinking is also about checking patterns in the networks. They are complicated. Thus, you can only fix them after you understand how they work.
Network analysts do a lot of research. So if you want to work in this role, hone your research skills now. Then, you can gather information and analyze it efficiently.
Although you spend most of your time working with technological stuff, you must interact with others. For example, you will explain complex technological concepts to non-tech people. So try to make everything easy to understand.
Besides, your boss may ask you to write clear reports with tech info. Hence, written communication is also important.
You encounter problems every day. Tasks like improving and securing networks are difficult to solve. But you can tackle them fast thanks to your decision-making skills.
Monitoring networks is an important part of your future job. So you need to pay attention to detail. This way, you can catch issues and fix them quickly.
The next step is getting an internship. It helps you earn real-world experience that goes beyond school learning.
There are two things I want to remind you before applying for the internship:
- First, you don’t get paid well as an intern.
- Second, the internship often lasts a few months.
Even so, you can have many benefits from it. For example, you can apply what you have learned to real situations. Complex concepts like TCP/IP and network security will become much easier to understand.
During the internship, you can also develop your technical skills because you have many tasks to complete in a day. But don’t worry! With the help of professionals in your company, you can handle them well.
In addition, after the internship, your resume will become more impressive. Employers like candidates with experience. And trust me, what you have learned when working as an intern can help you stand out from other beginners.
Another benefit of the internship is networking. You can build a network with many people when working in a company. These connections will lead to more future job offers.
Moreover, you can learn a lot from them. They will show you the industry’s trends and demands that you don’t find anywhere else.
Any degree beyond your bachelor’s is a postgraduate degree. It offers advanced technical skills. Then, you can be an outstanding candidate for the job.
Many high-level positions require this degree. For example, you can use it to apply for a senior network analyst job.
This step is optional. You can consider it if you want to level up. And if you just want to start as a junior analyst, a bachelor’s degree is enough.
A resume is a crucial tool in your job hunt. This document summarizes your education, skills, experience, and achievements. Then, when you send it to the employers, they will know more about you.
A well-crafted resume requires some details, such as:
- Basic information: Mention your name and contact at the top of the resume. Then, the employers know how to reach you.
- Education: List your educational background. It should include the school you went to and the degrees you got. You can also mention awards you have received.
- Work experience: Highlight your internship experience here. In this section, you should write the job title, company name, and dates of employment.
- Skills: Choose the skills you are confident about. They should also match the requirements of the employers.
After crafting the resume, you need to proofread it. Grammar or spelling mistakes will ruin your effort.
Then, ask your friends, family, or colleagues to review it for feedback. They may catch mistakes you may have missed.
It’s time for the job hunt! You can search for job openings online. Networking comes into play in this case, too. Your acquaintances may know and give you some opportunities.
If you find your favorite job, send your resume to the employer. They will look at it and contact you if they like it.
In 2023, network analysts can earn around $85,585 per year. This salary is quite high, and you can even raise it with your experience. The location and company size also affect your wage.
Moreover, there can be a huge increase in these jobs. In other words, you have more job opportunities. So why is network analysis on demand?
As you can see, businesses have become reliant on technology. The network is part of it, so they need experts to handle their network systems.
Moreover, many people work from home now. Thus, network analysts are essential for maintaining the connectivity needed for remote work.
Yes. I’m a network analyst and feel proud of my work. The work I do every day helps my company operate smoothly. So I can stay motivated and keep doing my best at my job.
Furthermore, finding a job in this industry is not too difficult since you can work in different industries. Many companies from different sectors need experts to care for their networks.
A good salary is another plus. As I have discussed, you can get generous pay for working as a network analyst.
Last but not least, this career is stimulating. Although you will work with computers all day, the challenges can keep you engaged. And when you can solve the problems, you will feel excited.
But aside from those benefits, you should expect to work a lot. Stress can come at any time. Thus, be ready to work under pressure.
Even so, I believe that every job can be stressful. But with technical and soft skills, you can fight the stress and stay productive.
No. Some people confuse network analysts with network engineers. So check the differences between these two jobs to ensure you follow the right path.
- Primary tasks: Network analysts conduct network research and offer improvements. Meanwhile, network engineers design the networks. They also maintain the networks to ensure their optimal performance.
- Work environment: Network analysts work mostly in an office environment. On the contrary, network engineers may work in the office or on-site.
- Physical demands: You don’t often perform demanding tasks as a network analyst. But if you want to become a network engineer, expect to climb ladders or lift equipment.
As a network analyst, you contribute to your company’s network security. But before you can do it, keep studying and working. Once you are confident about your skills, you will succeed in your job.
So don’t wait anymore! Take your first step and stay curious. Who knows? We can be co-workers someday.
Good luck with your choice!