Learning how to become a network engineer is in itself no easy task. The scope of topics ranges from learning where each appropriate plug goes into to mastering the use of Linux, Solaris and NetWare to optimise connections between servers and individual computers.
The rewards, however, are quite lucrative indeed, especially when you develop the latest skills and expertise in computer networking. Businesses need to stay up to date with the latest technologies, and networks are just one way for them to increase their productivity. Being a network engineer gives you employment opportunities with almost every high-tech establishment out there, which is in itself reason enough to learn the basics of network engineering.
Here are simple steps on how to become a network engineer:
You must always learn to walk before you run, and network engineering is no exception. Take a computer-related university course, with a bachelor degree in Information Technology or computer and software engineering coming highly recommended. They often contain the basic knowledge about computer networking, while the diploma serves as testament to your skills with computers. The structured learning process also helps to ensure your ability to network computers, especially if you are comfortable in an academic setting.
It is important to note, however, that university is not the only way to familiarise yourself with computers. The basic exposure necessary for you to learn the ups and downs of network engineering can be learned through self-study, but you have to exert a lot of time and effort to look around for resources to get your knowledge from in the first place. You can then gain network engineering credibility by obtaining certification from institutions like Cisco, Novell, or Microsoft. This will prove to prospective employers that you know your stuff, assuring them that you are up to the challenge.
Cultivate your problem solving and communication skills
Learning how to become a network engineer is not just about computers, connections, and operating systems. You are going to be bombarded with problems left and right and you are going to have to explain this to your not-so-tech-savvy bosses and customers.
Working under pressure, identifying potential problems and coming up with quick solutions are some of the more hands-on requirements of being a network engineer. Social skills, however, are essential to gain and maintain the cooperation of others around you. This means you need to resolve conflicts, deal with difficult people, and be a 'leader' of sorts in order to cultivate your communication skills.
Acquire as much on-the-job training as possible
If there is one last thing you need to remember about being a network engineer, it is to acquire as much practical experience as possible.
Internship in either your school's IT department or local companies looking for young blood is the best ways to learn how to become a network engineer. You will be able to hone your skills in a working environment, getting a grip on everything that a network engineer has to do. The pay may be less or non-existent at all, but the experience you'll gain from being an intern is something that will teach you all you need to learn about how to become a network engineer.
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