A career in Networking: The road less taken.
Networking as a stream of engineering is relatively lesser known to a large population. A career in networking is also a far cry for many, who aren’t aware, hence the talk of availing of this opportunity becomes harder. Before we dive into the know-how of NETWORKING. Let’s know what it is, and how one can start their journey in it. Then we shall have a look at the career path in the field of networking.
Networking: Networking often known as computer networking is a way of transporting and commuting data back and forth between nodes over a shared medium in an information system.
Now that we know what networking is, let’s try and understand how one can start a career in networking.
Which Courses to Get Started in Networking?
To begin a career in networking one has to be aware of the many lucrative options in the field. A smart way for a willing individual is to insert themselves into the field by acquainting themselves with the various educational opportunities. The field of networking is lesser known to laymen and somewhat experts alike. But this has also contributed to varied opportunities that haven’t yet been availed.
The best way to get started in this field is to know what level of knowledge you are currently on, and then go in for entry-level, associate or professional-level educational courses. Secondly, keep in mind if one is looking to get employment for themselves meaning to start their journey or they are looking to update their skill in their current job profile. There are multiple courses, let’s start by looking at courses that are best suited for various purposes but all willing to insert themselves into networking:
Cisco Certified Network Associate is pretty much an entry-level course that is best suited for candidates who are just looking to begin their journey in networking.
CCNA certification tends to act as legitimate proof of one’s capability to navigate through the ever-evolving landscape of information technology, like most CISCO courses.
Learning from this course:
- IP connectivity
- Automation and programmability
- IP services
- Security fundamentals
And much more once an individual begins learning with CCNA, the course has multiple job roles that one becomes capable of after starting their journey with CCNA:
- Entry-level network engineer.
- Help desk technician
- Network administrator
- Network support technician.
There are no specific prerequisites for pursuing the CCNA certification courses but it’s often recommended to have a year of experience in administering Cisco solutions.
Validity for CCNA is for a period of 3 years like most Cisco certifications. But one can recertify and redeem the status of their certification by passing an exam or by gaining 30 continuing education credits.
2. CCNP :
Cisco Certified Network Professional.
CCNP is a certification course that is considered at a more advanced level than CCNA.
The course is a way for people to begin their journey as well as upskill if they are working simultaneously. This is particularly very beneficial for people who are looking to upskill and upscale in their current job roles.
The certification has two sets of exams:
- The core exam: this is the first exam one has to take that covers topics that can be applied across technology inclusive of automation and programmability.
- The second exam is the concentration exam which covers a focus area of the candidate’s choice in that very technology.
Learning from this course:
The course ensures the learning of newer topics essential to networking and also upgrading the current knowledge of basics a willing candidate has from CCNA or be it from work experience.
The course covers the following areas:
- Data center.
- Service provider
The CCNP core exam also acts as the qualifying exam for the CCIE lab exam.
There are no such prerequisites for getting started with CCNP course training, one can begin with the training with sufficient knowledge of the technology.
The validity of the CCNP certification course like any other CISCO certification is for 3 years. The certification can be updated or renewed so to say by getting registered for and passing the similar level examination or any higher level Cisco recertification exam.
3. CCIE: :
Cisco certified internetwork expert:
This certification is a series of many technical certifications meant for senior networking professionals, who design, build, implement, maintain and troubleshoot networking infrastructure.
Learning from this course:
The course provides you knowledge on a scale like no other, it’s guaranteed to provide you extensive knowledge in the field hence the exam is considered as hard and the zenith of all things networking.
CCIE candidates are to pass a written exam and followed up with
CCIE candidates must first pass a written exam and then the corresponding hands-on lab exam. Though there are no formal requirements to take a CCIE certification exam, an in-depth understanding of the topics covered by the exams and three to five years of job experience are expected before attempting certification.
To recertify for CCIE the candidate needs to the following :
- Take Cisco’s expert level written exam.
- To pass the practical/lab exam.
- Take and pass 3 separate professional (CCNP) concentration exams.
Salaries in this domain:
The salaries in this domain are pretty high and alot of jobs in this domain are easily available as this field of engineering is relatively less explored. For each certification there are multiple job roles in the domain. We’ll assess a few job roles and the remuneration for them as well.
1. Network architect:
Network architect is a role that is reportedly paid a hefty remuneration all across the globe. The remuneration for this role goes upto a 100,200$ as per the research by BLS. In many countries this job role is often regarded as the highest paid job role.
2. Network security manager:
Network security management provides complete visibility into the network and creates data for assets, firewalls, applications, ports and protocols, VPNs, NAT and security policies and vendor devices. The average salary in the Indian subcontinent is 4 lakh to 12 lakhs per annum.
3. Network and computer systems administrators:
Network and computer systems administrators are the ones that have the role of day to day operation of these networks. They are meant to organize, install, and support any organization’s computer system.
4. Wireless network Engineer:
A wireless network Engineer job role is to include, installing and configuring and maintaining wireless network equipment. The salary for this job role is estimated to be around 2 lakhs to 15 lakhs. The average salary is estimated to be 5 lakhs.
Network Engineer Career Path:
The career opportunities in the field of network engineering are vast to say the least. A willing candidate can go in any direction depending upon the technology they have expertise in or the amount of experience they have. The liberty to pick a profession of their own choice is also huge as a candidate can decide to become a network analyst or network administrator. One Can also explore the option of being a network manager or a network solutions architect. The path so to say is liberal and pretty vast, one can take the chance to explore options with preference to their own technologies and also as per the experience they gain along the way.
Is Networking worth it?
The most asked and legit the most relevant question at this point, while diving into a career decision is, always, If it’s worth it or not? The question is often subjective as we are looking for different things from each job role for personal as well as professional growth. To precisely answer if a career in networking is worth the hype or not? The answer is a firm YES, it is worth all the hype and more. The career choice one has to make should always encompass certain criterias like; Future prospects of that career opportunity, the chances of growth, the remunerations in various job roles in that field.
We have discussed those criterias in detail above, the one yet to be discussed is, the futuristic aspect of a career in networking. As we can see how networking is rising to be the need of the hour and is constantly evolving, this domain of engineering has more opportunities than ever. The need for networking can be seen to rise in the near given future as well, hence the availability of jobs will also be on the rise constantly. The longevity of the life span of the career in networking is undeniably on the rise as far as the eye can see.
Networking is undoubtedly a wonderful start to a career in the field of information technology.
Networking is a hard job or not, is a subjective answer. But at the surface level it isn’t a very laborious job. The manual workload at entry level must be higher, but it still is one of the most sought after career choices.
Networking is in demand and continues to see a rise in the demand as the world is establishing connectivity more than ever. Data is becoming the newest currency and to facilitate that networking is needed more than ever.
The job roles available in networking are:
- Network Engineer
- Network administrator
- Network security manager
On the whole a career in networking is a very lucrative career for a candidate. A career in networking tends to open many options for an individual as the job opportunities are large. It’s a field of work that makes learning whilst working equally possible and an individual can upskill while making a livelihood as well.