Networking is the backbone of the Internet. In fact, business organizations depend on networks for their important operations. This calls for a huge demand for Network Engineers in the tech industry.
If you are just a beginner or you don’t know anything about networking, but you want to make a career in networking; you are at the right place. In this blog, we will talk about the networking career path, some good entry-level networking jobs and networking career salary.
Let’s talk about how to start a career in networking for two types of candidates: candidates from non-tech backgrounds and candidates from tech backgrounds.
Start a Career in Networking: For Non-Tech Peeps
If you are coming from a non-tech background, trust me, it is not impossible for you to start your networking career. Here are the simple steps that you need to follow:
1. Pick a vendor-neutral course:
To begin with, you need to clear your computer networking basics! For that, you can enroll in vendor-neutral courses (do not teach using a specific networking vendor) such as CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+.
The CompTIA A+ teaches you the fundamentals of hardware and computer. The CompTIA Network+ teaches you to install, manage and troubleshoot networks on different platforms.
2. Pick a vendor-specific course:
Next up, you need to choose a vendor-specific course. One of the most popular courses is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course. This course is the best to learn the basics of networking hands-on with Cisco labs using Cisco Packet Tracer.
You can learn the following topics in a typical CCNA course:
- Networking fundamentals
- IP Addressing
- LAN and WAN technologies
- Infrastructure security
- Automation and programmability.
3. Pick an advanced-level networking course:
After CCNA, it is very important to choose an advanced-level course to get in-depth knowledge about networking. This is important for two reasons:
- To land a high-paying networking job
- To stand out from the crowd with an in-depth knowledge
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is hands-down the best networking course to cover networking in detail. It is the best choice to cover both CCNP ENCOR and CCNP ENARSI certifications to become a full-fledged Network Engineer.
CCNP ENCOR is the core exam and is very important to becoming a Network Engineer. It covers virtualization, infrastructure and other important technologies such as DMVPN, VLAN, InterVLAN, etc.
CCNP ENARSI, on the other hand, is a concentration exam. It is one out of the six different exams to choose from. CCNP ENARSI is the best of all of them if you want a career in networking. You will learn routing technologies in this course such as EIGRP, MPLS, BGP, OSPF, RIP, etc.
Career in Networking: For Basic Tech Peeps
If you are from tech background, you can follow the following networking career path.
1. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA):
CCNA is the best course to begin with if you are from a tech background. For example, if you are from BTech/BCA/CS background, you can directly take the CCNA course.
You do not need vendor-neutral courses.
2. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP):
The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) course is the best course to learn networking in-depth. You can attract high-paying jobs with CCNP.
To become the best Network Engineer, you must take both CCNP ENCOR (core exam) and CCNP ENARSI (concentration exam). The first exam covers the important infrastructure and virtualization concepts; the latter covers routing protocols such as EIGRP, RIP, OSPF, MPLS, BGP, etc.
Entry-Level Networking Jobs:
Once you are done with certifications and CCNA and CCNP training, it is time to step into the field. Looking for the right jobs is very important. You can look for jobs on various job-hunting platforms such as Naukri, indeed, Monster, etc.
The most popular and in-demand job positions after CCNA and CCNP are:
- Technical Support Engineer
- Network Support Engineer
- Network Engineer
- Network Administrator
- Desktop Support Engineer
- Technical Support Associate
- Technical Support Executive
- L1 Network Engineer
- Service Desk Engineer
Note: The above-mentioned job roles are both for CCNA and CCNP certification-holders.
As a CCNA certification-holder, you can start your career with the basic networking roles such as Desktop Support Engineer, Technical Support Associate, Technical Support Engineer, or Network Support Engineer.
Later on, with CCNP, you can apply for high-level job roles such as L1 Network Engineer, Network Engineer or Network Administrator, etc.
Networking Career Salary:
A Network Engineer can earn a handsome paycheck. Your skills vouch for you as a Network Engineer. As a beginner, you can earn Rs. 5 Lakhs per annum in the networking industry.
With experience, you can excel in your career and earn even better. According to ambitionbox, you can earn anywhere between Rs. 1.8 lakhs to Rs. 7 lakhs per annum with an average salary of Rs. 3.3 lakhs per annum.
This number is only bound to go up with experience. You can earn much more with experience and specialization. You can even go for Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification for the highest salary packages in the networking industry.
Anyone can start a career in the networking industry irrespective of their professional/academic background. You do not necessarily need to have a college degree to start a career in networking.
Online courses can help you the most to kickstart your networking career. With Cisco certifications, you can increase your credibility by 90% and stand out from the crowd. This is the best decision you can take for your career in networking.
Even if you want to divert to cloud computing or cybersecurity later on, starting with the networking domain is the best that you can do. Learning about the networking fundamentals is very important to build a strong foundation for a successful career.
Cisco certifications are the best to stand out from the crowd. You can take courses that prepare you for Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. Later on, you can take up a course that prepares you for Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification.
We wish you the best!