Network specialists are vital to the success of any data network. They have a wide range of abilities in troubleshooting issues, improving network speed, or bolstering security.
Before pursuing the career, you must acquire the appropriate set of skills. In this article, you will learn about the several steps to becoming a network specialist.
Professional network engineers create, update, and repair computer networks. They gather performance data, watch for security breaches, foresee any difficulties, and fix them to keep the networks running smoothly.
Duties and Responsibilities
Network experts are responsible for managing and maintaining networks. They also fix bugs in the system’s software and hardware and keep an eye out for disruptions.
A networking expert can have additional duties such as:
- Establishing the network and analyzing its workflow and security needs
- Assessing network performance problems
- Setting up, configuring, and testing hardware, links, and security measures
- Investigating any issues and fix them if you find them
- Maintaining complete and precise network records and documentation
- Assessing user’s needs to enhance input into new networking software
- Keeping an eye on the machinery to ensure your firewall and other network security measures are functioning
- Troubleshoot and fix issues with VOIP and VPN connections.
Where Do Network Specialists Work?
Network professionals are in high demand across a wide range of fields. Although most network experts spend their days in an office, others telecommute or visit clients across the country.
Most companies rely on their IT infrastructure for conducting day-to-day business. So, it is common for them to work late into the night and on weekends.
Most companies prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in IT, computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related discipline.
With these degrees, you may learn the ins and outs of setting up and maintaining a computer network, designing and programming its infrastructure, and maintaining its security.
While attending school, you may get practical experience, an internship, or work part-time. You may also get a master’s degree in networking if you want to focus on a specific field area.
Even if your dream job doesn’t need certification, you should get one to give yourself the best chance of being hired.
A wide variety of professional organizations offer certificates in specialized fields, including network setup, security, and troubleshooting.
CompTIA’s Network+ certification and Cisco’s Certified Network Associate certification are two examples of network specialist certifications. You will need ongoing training and testing to get these certificates.
Practical experience is essential to become an expert network specialist. When you enter a job, you will learn about it.
Building your networking initiative, aiding senior experts, or volunteering are great methods to get experience and boost your resume.
Network experts rely on various skills to carry out their job. It will help if you develop the following skills:
- Technical Skills
A network specialist’s ability to diagnose and fix technical issues with computers necessitates a solid technical background. You need to know network protocols and software fundamentals.
Knowing how to use Windows, Linux, other operating systems, and advanced software applications is essential.
- OSI Model
A successful network system relies on thoroughly comprehending the model’s underlying layers and interdependencies. With this OSI model in hand, you’ll be better able to solve problems in pre-existing networks.
Knowing how to establish links across networks and manage data transfer between them is crucial. It’s also necessary to set up a virtual private network, essentially a route between two computers or servers that prohibits others from accessing the data.
- Network Security
Knowing how to spot risks, set up appropriate safeguards, and evaluate an existing system’s security are all part of network security.
A network professional must understand local and wide area network technologies. Learning the ins and outs of these systems’ setup, configuration, and troubleshooting is essential.
Similarly, familiarity with the many networking protocols used in a business setting is crucial. Knowing Ethernet and IP addresses when setting routers and switches might be helpful.
The capacity to switch between several pieces of network hardware is essential.
This knowledge helps you quickly adopt cutting-edge innovation and provide your customers with the best networking services.
It would help if you used firewalls to prevent hackers from gaining access to a network. Since firewall technology constantly evolves, you must be abreast of the most recent firewall tools and techniques.
The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite of protocols facilitates online data exchange between computers. You should be familiar with TCP/IP to diagnose and fix networks effectively.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are applications that provide remote access to a local area network (LAN). It is helpful when dealing with customers in different places since it gives you access to their systems as if you were in person.
As an added security measure, VPNs encrypt your data before transferring it over to the public network.
- Cisco IOS
Cisco IOS is a tool network administrators use to control and maintain networks. It also helps you to debug and manage computer systems.
- Wireless Networks
Knowledge of wireless networking is crucial for network professionals since they often build and configure such systems for companies and households.
You should be familiar with wireless connection problems and their solutions.
- Problem Solving Skills
You need to think creatively to analyze and fix problems on your customers’ computers. It would help if you zeroed in on the root of an issue, considered the pros and cons of alternative solutions, then put those plans into action.
- Time Management
Effective time management is crucial for any professional who wants to meet deadlines and please clients. Customers would appreciate your promptness if you showed up to every appointment.
- Analytical Skills
As a network expert, you may have to examine software solutions, figure out the best way to deploy them, and establish what security threats or vulnerabilities exist in computer systems.
If you have excellent analytical abilities, you’ll be able to serve your customers by figuring out intricate difficulties and making well-considered choices.
Creativity is essential for a network specialist. Thanks to your imagination, you can think outside the box and devise novel approaches to problems.
This talent also allows you to outperform your peers in plan effectiveness, which may lead to professional advancement.
You may use robust tools to diagnose network and application difficulties. The list below goes through a few essential tools that get you started in this career.
Wireshark is a famous open-source packet capture and analysis program. You may use it to diagnose network connection issues, delayed applications, and dependencies.
- TCP Traceroute
This tool allows network engineers to track packets over a network by utilizing TCP instead of ICMP. It sends an SYN packet over a TCP port and may identify firewalls obstructing traffic.
Nmap is a widely used free application for network scans and security audits. It is a tool used by network engineers to scan a single host, an entire subnet, and a particular port.
From 2025 to 2035, the number of jobs for network specialists may rise by 9 percent. Over the next decade, there may be an average of 70,400 new jobs each year for this position.
The job market is robust, and there are many opportunities for promotion. Bachelor’s degree holders with solid technical experience will do well.
Support experts for computer networks earn a median salary of $62,760 annually. The top industries pay their network professionals from $ 69,100 to $ 94,630 per year on average.
The average annual salary for a Network Specialist in Florida is $67,740. Texas came out on top in this ranking due to its higher median income of $71 800, according to the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics.
These projections use data from businesses of all types, sizes, and locations throughout all US regions.
Pros and Cons of Being a Network Specialist
Each profession has its pros and cons. Here are the things you should know before being a Network Specialist.
- Access to new technology
There is always something fresh and exciting to learn in the realm of technology, which will help you expand your horizons.
- Be respected by others.
Many businesses consider your role crucial, so you may expect to shoulder a lot of responsibility. Everyday operations at an organization depend on PCs, and it will be up to you to ensure that everything runs well.
Any disruption to the system will affect the overall goal of the company. You will be an integral team member because of your responsibility to find and implement solutions to issues as soon as possible.
- Long working hours
Network specialists often work overtime, including evenings and weekends.
- Always ready for emergencies
If you’re in charge of a crucial support function at work, you’re probably always going to keep your phone with you. You never know when the problem will happen to respond to an unexpected crisis.
- Face the anger of others
Dealing with angry customers is one of the most challenging parts of working in IT. Almost every customer who contacts you is frustrated because they have an issue that needs to be solved immediately.
Is a network specialist a promising career?
The compensation, employment prospects, and possibilities are excellent for network engineers because of the high demand and lack of skilled workers.
Taking up the profession of a network engineer may be a stimulating and financially rewarding career move.
How long does IT take to become a networking specialist?
It may take four years to become a networking expert. Many professionals in this industry get their bachelor’s degrees and certifications to increase their marketability and expertise.
Is a network specialist in demand?
A greater need arises for skilled network administrators as more and more businesses upgrade to more advanced computing infrastructure.
Is a network Specialist the same as a network engineer?
A specialist works with daily maintenance, management operations, and real-time troubleshooting.
Engineers in this field are responsible for planning, developing, and maintaining networks and setting up and maintaining related security measures.
What do I need to become a network specialist?
To succeed in the field of network specialist, you’ll need extensive training and experience in IT.
Employers prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field like information technology, computer science, or computer engineering, as well as practical experience dealing with computer information systems or networking.
Is networking hard to study?
Skills in programming and computer science are needed for computer networking. A few examples of necessary skills are familiarity with OSes, mobile devices, PC hardware and software, and business apps.
Is networking harder than coding?
Programming is more challenging than networking but pays better.
Is networking a difficult job?
It can be challenging to find a job as a network specialist if you are inexperienced. Yet, it has become a highly sought-after career path.
One of the first things to think about if you want to work in the field of computer networks is how much schooling you will need to get there. A bachelor’s degree is the typical minimum requirement for a career in network administration.
Others have advanced degrees as well. The majority of the industry requires a bachelor’s degree, although those with a high school diploma or GED may also enter the field.
Entry-level roles at help desks and support services are ideal for a newly-minted network professional. A networking expert may get the hands-on experience and education necessary for more senior positions by starting in one of these positions.
You may find yourself in a position of leadership or more responsibility as your career progresses.