Data & network

Network engineer

Network engineers install, service and repair computer data and communication systems.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Network engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • installing and configuring new software and hardware
  • setting up user accounts, permissions and passwords to allow access to the network
  • making sure security is at the right level to block unauthorised access
  • finding and fixing network faults
  • setting up a maintenance plan to prevent faults
  • giving technical support to people who use the network
  • providing training on new systems
  • carrying out day-to-day administration
  • planning and implementing future developments

These tasks may be included as part of a broader IT support or helpdesk role.

University

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • network engineering
  • computer science
  • electronic engineering
  • network security
  • software engineering

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

College

You could do a college course, which may help you to get a network technician's job. Once working, you could do more training to qualify as an engineer. Courses include:

  • Level 4 Certificate in Networking and Architecture
  • Level 4 Certificate in Network Services
  • Level 4 Diploma in Network Security

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a network cable installer advanced apprenticeship, a network engineer higher apprenticeship, or a degree apprenticeship in digital and technology solutions.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

Other Routes

You could start as a network technician and take industry-recognised training and certification on the job, like Cisco Certified Network Professional or CompTIA Network+.

Experience in related areas like IT support or computer service and repair could be useful.

£18,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £18,000 to £28,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £35,000

These figures are a guide.

37 to 40

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may be expected to work overtime or be on-call outside normal working hours.

You'll be based in an office, but may work across different sites if you're part of a large network operation.

With experience you could progress to network management jobs or you could move into other areas of IT like project management, information security or consultancy.

You can get more advice about careers in networking from Tech Future Careers and The Chartered Institute for IT.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • strong IT skills
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • the ability to explain technical issues clearly
  • organisational skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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