How Can I Become a Microsoft Network Engineer?

Research what it takes to become a Microsoft network engineer. Learn about the education requirements, certifications, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Networking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Microsoft Network Engineer?

Microsoft network engineers are IT professionals who have become certified in various Microsoft programs. They are qualified to install and monitor systems as well as to troubleshoot when technical problems arise. They are often tasked with researching new technologies and upgrading hardware. Sometimes they create new networks. This involves creating layouts of a proposed network and presenting it to managers for approval. If approved they then assemble the network hardware and software. The table below lists the general requirements for a career in this field.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree; master's degree preferred for managerial positions
Education Field of StudyComputer science, engineering, information systems
CertificationSome employers require industry certification
Key ResponsibilitiesInstalling, monitoring and troubleshooting computer systems; design computer networks; suggest hardware and software programs
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 9% (for all computer network architects)*
Median Salary (2015)$100,240 (for all computer network architects)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Programs Are Available for Microsoft Network Engineers?

To begin a career in this field, you could consider getting a bachelor's degree in computer science. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program will generally take four years to complete and will teach you the fundamentals of computer architecture, programming, software engineering, computing systems and more. Some courses that you could take in this degree program are:

  • Computer applications
  • Java programming
  • Algorithm design
  • Programming languages
  • Database systems
  • Object oriented design
  • Web development

In addition to taking traditional classroom courses, you will also get practical training working with computers in labs. These lab experiences allow you to practice working with different operating systems, hardware devices and software programs.

At the master's degree level, you could enroll in a Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS). Master's degree programs are generally more research oriented than bachelor's degree programs and consist of advanced coursework and lab activities in computer science.

Master's degree programs are generally offered with a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis option means that you would have to write a major research paper. The non-thesis option generally means that you would take comprehensive exams at the culmination of the program. A master's degree program can be a good degree option if you want to move in to a supervisory or management position.

What Certifications Are Available?

After you get your degree, you can prepare for professional certification. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE) designation to those who pass seven rigorous exams (www.microsoft.com). If your degree program did not fully prepare you for all the sections on the exams, you could enroll in training courses through Microsoft. These classes can be taken at on-site locations or via the Web. Another Microsoft certification you can earn is the Microsoft Certified IT (information technology) Professional (MCITP)-Enterprise Administrator designation.

Some companies require network engineers to have certifications in Cisco technologies (www.learningnetwork.cisco.com).You could earn this credential by taking the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) exam. After three years, you will have to take another CCENT exam to maintain certification. One year of professional experience qualifies you take the Certified Network Professional (CNP) exams for CNP certification.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer and information systems managers can be the managers that network engineers show their proposed designs. These managers are responsible for knowing what the technology needs of a company are, setting goals to meet those needs and coordinating computer-related projects. They may start their career with a bachelor's degree, but many have an MBA. Computer hardware engineers design the physical components of computer systems and networks. They also conduct extensive research and develop new components. They typically have a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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