Network consulting is a highly sought-after path. How to become a network consultant? The good news is there are many ways to pursue this profession.
With the development of information technology, working as a network consultant is an appealing career. Yet, it isn’t easy to start if you are a newbie!
Don’t be stressed! This article will be helpful for you. Join me to explore the skills required and tips to advance your career.
Are you new to the networking consultant industry? If that’s the case, it’s best to take a quick look at the job first. Scroll down to learn a network consultant’s definition, roles, and qualifications!
Network consultants design, implement, and maintain an organization’s computer network. They collaborate with IT experts to make sure the network satisfies the company’s requirements.
Moreover, these specialists work with suppliers to choose and install practical networking solutions and strategies for the organization.
Network consultants are in charge of many different activities associated with building and managing computer networks.
Depending on the organization, network consultants may engage in different daily tasks. Yet, among the regular duties performed by network consultants are:
- Meet the clients to talk about their networking requirements
- Identify the client’s existing network architecture
- Design a brand-new network to meet the client’s requirements
- Identify the area where they can improve the network
- Install new network
- Configure networking equipment
- Access new network
- Train the clients on using the latest computer network
- Execute security measures
- Provide maintenance and support for the computer network
- Create systems to store data
These experts often spend most of their working time in front of their computer screens. But they may join meetings. Sometimes they may rearrange and move their computer equipment. So they should lift massive and heavy things.
I know some network consultants working as freelance contractors. They are often more flexible in their tasks. These experts may work for clients in various working environments. Besides, they feel free to set their work hours daily.
As a network consult, you should have the requirements and qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in IT or computer science
- CCNA certification
- Great communication skills
- Deep understanding of wireless systems and cloud computing
Are you determined to pursue a career as a network consultant? After working in this field for several years, here are my roadmap to success:
Most employers will seek experts in the network consulting industry with a bachelor’s degree in related areas, such as information science.
Courses in these programs may include data structures, programming, database management, operating systems, and computer networks and architecture.
Having a professional certification proves your aptitude for networking tasks. In particular, it shows your ability in managing, maintaining, configuring, installing, and troubleshooting network infrastructure.
Certifications in software, operating systems, securities, serves, apps, and tools are available. People with at least nine months of network administration experience and CompTIA A+ certification should pursue these certifications.
Besides, major companies can use CompTIA A+ certification in their certification pathways. Investigate your choices for certification as well. At various levels, there are several certificates offered.
By adding certification to your resume, you can prove that you own the expertise and knowledge required to be a successful expert.
If you desire to work as a network consultant, you need to focus on studying for a few extra certifications, such as:
- MCSA Certification
- CCNA Certification
- Management Consultant Professional
- Certified Network Computer Technician
- CCNA Routing and Switching Certification
- CompTIA Network+
Networking consulting jobs are available in many companies large enough to have a computer network. Some people may get into the workforce via specific positions like support specialists.
They provide technical support and manage computer systems. In addition, they help with infrastructure implementation, planning and maintaining computer networks.
Furthermore, employers appreciate candidates with real-world experience more than those with merely theoretical knowledge.
Thus, you must get ready with all your knowledge and expertise to find employment in the industry you love.
If you are a student, applying for an internship while studying is an excellent idea. It saves you time while helping you accumulate experience.
Skill and knowledge are two essential components that significantly impact the job you choose to pursue. You can’t succeed in this field without the following hard and soft skills.
Network consultants may benefit from learning various IT-related skills like computer infrastructure, cybersecurity, and programming.
These experts must have the ability to analyze data. They should think critically and know how to perform data analysis efficiently.
Strong analytical skills are helpful for these consultants. That’s because they must analyze systems regularly to detect issues.
If you work in this field, you must communicate complex data to other team members in your company or your clients.
For this reason, as a network consultant, I recommend that you develop good communication skills as they are helpful for your daily tasks.
As I shared above, one of the primary responsibilities of a network consultant is troubleshooting computer networks to address technical issues.
So they must develop the ability to detect technical problems, think of creative solutions, and determine the best practice method to solve these issues.
Network consultants never work alone. For instance, I am a part of my team. I work with my team members and other experts, like IT specialists. So, it’s crucial to have excellent collaboration skills for an effective working process.
I find that this position should be a valuable part of the whole team. So these experts must know how to communicate with others and listen to their opinions for successful projects.
Giving presentations is among the most effective methods to communicate information to members of an organization.
Thus, as a network consultant, you must have good presentation skills. In particular, you should know how to make presentations, including creating visual aids. You should feel confident when speaking in front of people.
Network consultants may sometimes manage a team of many professionals. If that’s the case, it’s advisable to have leadership skills.
Some helpful aspects of this skill include strategic thinking, creativity, active listening, and giving feedback.
Contrary to popular belief, network consultants must have good organizational skills. These experts must organize information and monitor different computer network components frequently.
It is a good idea to compile all of your most outstanding work examples in a portfolio. It can help show your expertise and abilities in network consulting.
When accessing your portfolio, your clients or potential employers can understand your skills, tools, and expertise in your field.
You can include your resume, references, testimonials, or proof of recognition and rewards in your portfolio. If it’s your first time building a portfolio as a network consultant, consider the following tips!
- Focus on the work quality instead of quantity.
- Avoid adding original work. Your portfolio should have the most outstanding representations.
- Attach links or samples to content that your employer requires so they can see the details.
- Keep the layout and design simple.
- Organize and share information systematically to improve readability for your clients and employers.
- Get other experts to review your portfolio.
- Build your portfolio in many formats.
After getting crucial certifications and building a solid portfolio, it’s time to apply for jobs in the network consulting field. You can browse job opportunities via online boards, networking events, or websites.
It is worth stating that you must research your potential employers carefully. Also, tailor your CV to the position you desire to apply for.
Apart from traditional job opportunities, you can explore several other paths. For example, you can work as a freelance network consultant. It’s a good idea to gain more experience and build your reputation in this industry.
You can start your career by providing your services and products to your family members. Besides, joining freelancing platforms like Upwork is a good choice.
Another way is to start your network consulting business. It may be challenging but also rewarding if you know the proper method.
If you follow this option, you must have strong business skills, a solid understanding of your field, and the client’s needs.
Gaining experience in the field is essential as it helps you advance your career and achieve a higher expertise level.
As a network consultant, I have opportunities to work on various projects and work with clients from several industries. Each presents unique challenges to help me develop skills and expand my knowledge.
Furthermore, gaining experience helps you become more valuable to potential clients and employers. It also opens up new opportunities in your field.
Advancement as a network consultant requires continuous learning and skill development. To achieve your goals, consider pursuing various options.
For example, by gaining a master’s degree, you can understand the subject matter deeply. It’s an excellent way to develop advanced skills to set you apart from the competition.
In addition, consider specializing in a specific network consulting area, like cybersecurity or cloud computing. So you can become an expert, increasing your value and opening up better job opportunities.
Continued education is a crucial aspect of a successful career in network consulting. It’s hard to overstate the importance of staying updated with the latest trends in the field.
Technology is evolving rapidly. So it is essential to keep up with the new tools and techniques that are constantly emerging.
One way to do this is by attending workshops, seminars, and conferences. These events can provide valuable insights into the latest developments and opportunities to network with other experts in your field.
Another way to stay ahead of the curve is by pursuing advanced degrees or certifications. You can deepen your knowledge and understanding of the field while demonstrating your commitment to your job and clients.
Ultimately, the key to success is being proactive about professional development. Also, seek new opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills.
Check the following pros and cons drawn from experienced experts in this field. After reading the reviews, you will better understand the role!
Many people are interested in working as a network consultant as it brings the following advantages:
- Learn many skills and knowledge
- Have chances to work with many people
- Develop problem-solving skills
- Discover new things
- Excellent growth opportunity
- High income
- Travel for work
- Can support team
Everything has two sides, and working as a network consultant is no exception. Apart from benefits, these experts may face challenges and difficulties.
- Strict time
- Constantly changing plans
- Many business trips
- Don’t balance between work and life
It typically takes five to seven years to gain the necessary qualifications and experience to become a network consultant.
The first step in becoming a network consultant is to get a degree in a related field. A bachelor’s degree generally takes four years. Meanwhile, a master’s degree can take two more years.
Besides formal education, network consultants must also get certifications. These certifications can take several months to prepare for and pass the exams.
Work experience is crucial in the field of network consulting. You may work for organizations for several years to gain work experience.
A career as a network consultant has promising futures. Thus, you need not worry about employment issues if you own the necessary abilities and expertise.
Hopefully, after reading the article, you will recognize your professional appropriateness. So you can decide to start your career more quickly.