Network Engineer Certification and Career

Discover certification options in network engineering, and find out how professional certification can impact earning potential. Learn the employment outlook and median salary for network engineers. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You can complete certification to become a network engineer through a number of software companies. There are special training sessions designed for you if you want to complete certification exams. These programs prepare you to set up and take care of computer networks, allowing you to proceed in your career and maximize your opportunities.

Certification Available certifications include CompTIA's A+ or Network+, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Certified Novell Administrator (CNA), and various Cisco Certified credentials; the five levels of Cisco certification are Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert and Architect
Responsibilities Setting up and maintaining networks of varying sizes and complexities
Median Salary (2018)* $70,796 per year

Sources: *PayScale.com

What Would I Do As a Network Engineer?

Network engineers, also known as network architects, create and maintain wired and wireless computer networks, devices and communications software. In this field, you'll design and manage networks from integrated systems that span the globe to small, single-office networks made up of a few computer systems. In addition to maintaining and optimizing the transfer of data, you might also design telecommunications networking to incorporate voice data and presence into existing computer technology.

What Certification Should I Earn?

Certification is available from a variety of different organizations and companies. You can choose general certification that tests your knowledge of industry standards, or you can pursue specialized options offered through software vendors and networking device manufacturers. Some examples of certifications available for network engineers include:

  • CompTIA's A+ or Network+
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate
  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert
  • Cisco Certified Architect
  • Certified Novell Engineer

Cisco's Associate level of networking certification is foundational and offers a wide range of specific certifications, such as CCNA Cloud, CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless, CCNA Data Center, CCNA Collaboration, and others. These specialized certifications will increase your knowledge and marketability. This is especially true for employment in global organizations with complex networks.

How Do I Prepare for Certification?

There aren't any prerequisites to take an entry-level certification exam, though most organizations recommend that you have some instructional training or experience in networking. Advanced certifications typically require that you prepare by participating in vendor-authorized training sessions designed for a specific credential. Most exams require both practical and theoretical knowledge of several networking and technical components, including:

  • Network installation and operation
  • Troubleshooting
  • Vendor-specific software
  • Network types, devices and media
  • Routing and switching
  • Network security

How Much Could I Make?

According to June 2018 data posted on PayScale.com, the median salary for network engineers was $70,796 per year. However, the site reported that the salary range for network engineers with professional certification significantly increased earning potential. Those with the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert credential earned more than $118,000 per year as Senior Network Engineers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed network administrators as an occupation growing at an average speed, projecting a 6% growth rate in jobs between 2016 and 2026. However, those working in the computer systems design industry are expected to see much faster growth in jobs, with 20% growth projected for network administrator jobs in that industry over the same decade. Due to the ever-changing nature of technology, network administrators must maintain updated knowledge of the latest developments to remain competitive. The BLS stated that earning a college degree in a computer-related field and obtaining professional certification might increase your job prospects. There are also some employers who require a master'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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Tulane University

    Tulane University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Tulane University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »