Networking is one of the largest categories for IT certifications and careers. Individuals looking to have a career in networking require highly technical knowledge, training and have to constantly be keeping up with the current technology in this fast-paced industry. An individual working in networking would be purchasing, installing, configuring, maintaining and documenting everything from routers to servers. Depending on the size of the organisation the individual is working for, they might be responsible for a small network of routers and devices or a giant warehouse full of servers and millions of devices scattered around the globe.
One of the career paths in networking is a network engineer. Network engineers design computer networks for organisations or buildings. They analyse the infrastructure of an area and perform network modelling to plan for the use of hardware and software solutions that will meet their client’s networking needs. Their work involves everything from the theoretical planning and modelling to the physical running of cables, installation of routers and switches as well as installing software drivers.
Next, a network administrator will be responsible for maintaining and support the computer systems of an organisation. Network administrators use tools to monitor and analyse the networks they are responsible for. These networks can be as small as a LAN or they can be larger systems such as WANS and intranet systems. A network administrator ensures that their system is running efficiently and securely. A network administrator can also be responsible for administering users and their accounts such as ensuring that each user has their own login credentials.
A service desk analyst is the point of contact between customer and service provider. A service desk analyst assists users when they have problems with their devices and services. A service desk analyst may have contact with many different layers of the organisation as they escalate issues to their superiors or bring problems to the attention of their peers. Some of the things a service desk analyst may face could be assisting customers with user accounts issues or providing guidance on how to use applications. A service desk analyst is an entry-level position that can be suitable for most capable individuals in networking.
At the top of the networking department would be a network manager who is responsible for administrating the entire department. The network manager would not have to do much technical work but would still need an in0depth understanding of how each component under his command works and can be used. As such, a network manager should be a highly experienced person in the field of networking and have leaderships skills. a network manager would be in control of budgeting, personnel allocations, resource acquisition, negotiating with suppliers and procuring services.
Networking is a broad and rewarding career with many avenues for promotion and up-skilling. An entry-level service desk analyst has the opportunity to promote themselves to a network engineer, then a network administrator and possibly then be I charge of an entire department by becoming a network manager. However, there are many challenges to learning to become a networking professional as there are skills, knowledge and certifications that an individual would have to earn first.