Network Support Engineer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Network support engineers, also called network architects, design, analyze and troubleshoot computer and data systems. These professionals generally hold at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field and may have earned voluntary certifications.

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Job Description for a Network Support Engineer

Network support engineers ascertain user needs and system requirements in order to design, monitor and maintain computer networks. Engineers may begin by gathering data on systems, routers and other hardware. In this stage, engineers may also be responsible for budgeting, including estimating costs of materials and labor as well as anticipating potential future expenses. Next, these professionals may configure networks, remote access systems, computers and periphery equipment including faxes, copiers and scanners into one system. Once the system is running, engineers monitor system performance to ensure that demands are being met.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted positions for network engineers in general, also known as computer network architects, would increase by 15% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the national average. The median salary among network engineers in general was $95,380 as of 2013.

Network Support Engineer Job Duties

Aside from setting up systems, network support engineers also monitor and maintain computer systems. This may include troubleshooting wide area networks, servers and routers, local area networks and switches. Additionally, these professionals may install or upgrade software and hardware. Other duties are responding to technical inquiries, logging service and repair, creating manuals and guides and training clients, staff and associates.

Requirements for a Network Support Engineer

Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or other computer-related field is generally required to be a network support engineer (www.bls.gov). Students enrolled in these 4-year programs typically complete coursework in routing concepts, wireless communication and database fundamentals. Some employers may prefer candidates who have earned an MBA with a concentration in information systems. MBA programs generally last two years and include courses in marketing and business operations, as well as information system planning and asset management.

Experience and Certification

Aside from educational requirements, network support engineers may be required to have several years of work experience. Additionally, some employers may prefer candidates who have earned voluntary industry or vendor certifications, which demonstrate proficiency in the field. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) designates candidates who successfully complete a certification exam with a CompTIA Network+ credential. Other certifications may include Cisco Certified Network Associate or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics