A Network Engineer is one who designs and implements the computer networks. He is also known as network architect and his core responsibility is to focus on high-level designing and planning the computer networks. He basically works with the company’s computer network, uses information technology and makes network systems operational for every employee. The data networks may include LAN (Local Area Network), WAN (Wide Area Networks), intranets and extranets.
The role of a network engineer varies significantly. It ranges from day to day upkeep of the networking of small businesses to designing hyper scale data centres which are operated by the internet giants like Google or Facebook. Due to technology advancements, a network engineer needs to be apprised of the networking fundamentals and possess a certain range of skills for a successful career.
Advancement in the field of technology and expansion of digitalisation has created a wide scope of jobs for a network engineer, but if you prefer, you can always engage in any one of the following business options:
- Networking Business
Business of network engineering may sometimes also be known as the business of computer consulting. A network engineer works to support, design and implement wide area and local area networks within a firm. In the start, small companies can be contacted to see if they require network management. You can also hire a salesperson with great marketing skills to make your job easier.
Starting up a business of network engineering requires managing business activities including:
- Determining the target customers
- Tracking of customer information
- Day to day maintenance and management
- Dealing with requests that go out of scope
- Business evaluations
- Business structure designing
For a flourishing network engineer business, you must document whatever you are doing and dig deep into a setup or technology on which you are working.
- Mobile Network Operator
You may also start your own business of a mobile network operator and provide services to individuals or companies. Other than providing retail services in wireless communication networks, you can also trade in selling access of network services to mobile virtual network operators at wholesale prices. This business requires huge capital though; you may start this venture in association with other individuals or companies who may finance you on partnership terms.
- Hosting Cloud Computing Services
The purpose of cloud computing is to use the network of distant servers hosted on the Internet and store, manage, and process data instead of using a personal computer or a local server. It increases the capacity and efficiency of the companies without buying new tools or infrastructure. You may start cloud computing hosting services and provide them to several companies as there is an increasing demand for such services.
- Network Security Provider
Service providers in network security are popularly known as Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP). There are different kinds of security services which you can provide like antimalware and antivirus software, access control, prevention of data loss, security of applications, firewalls management, security of e-mails, detection of abnormal network behaviour, network segmentation, security of mobile devices, web and wireless security and various others. There is a huge scope for network service providers in the industry because of the rapid evolution of threat environment. Hence, taking up a career in such field will prove highly lucrative.
- Telecommunication Network Engineer
As the spending on telecommunication networks is getting higher, there are immense opportunities of growth for a telecommunication network engineer. You can design, install and operate a company’s voice, video and data communication systems. You can look after data centre migration with a varying array of systems within the business. Your IT knowledge and networking skill would help you to customize telecommunications hardware and software for clients’ particular needs. You can work for telecommunication companies, radio broadcasting firms and even televisions.
- Network Administrator
A network administrator is in charge of keeping a company’s computer network updated and ensuring that it is running smoothly. Organizations that use multiple software platforms or computers require a network admin in order to coordinate various systems. A network administrator does not only focus on maintaining, monitoring and installing the functioning of networks, but he can also supervise IT support experts and provide assistance to several engineers in the process of network designing.
- Cisco/ VoIP Administrator
You can also go for specialization in network engineering and opt to be a Cisco or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) administrator. A Cisco engineer is a kind of network administrator who specializes in those networks which are designed using Cisco products. Your job may include building and designing of networks, imparting technical support and resolving and identifying recurring issues. You can work for public as well as private firms that require building and maintenance of huge computer networks.
As a VoIP administrator you can install, design, maintain and test local VoIP systems at large networks and businesses to reach out the entire region. You can also work with system administrators and information technology experts and assist them in running VoIP systems in an efficient manner.
- Network Architect
Becoming a network architect is a great career option for those engineers who want to make a move. A network architect engages in designing various networks. Apart from implementing the network design, such architects also test the implementation of several communication systems of data. You may find business opportunities in the infrastructure design wing of various software firms. You need to perform several tasks including management of technology vendors, assessment of strategies for vendor development, performing models for network analysis, development of technology road maps, installation of hardware, upgrade of hardware and software components, and implementation of network troubleshooting etc.
- Network Consultant
If you desire to broaden your work title to multiple areas of networking then becoming a network consultant is an ideal option for you. A network consultant performs the job of a network architect, a security professional, a systems administrator or numeral other things. You can either choose to be self employed or work for firms providing networking services. Many network consultants even work from home but an office set up is required if you want to excel in your business. Such field of work is associated with a few risks but keeping up with the changes in technology, meeting deadlines of contracts and meeting client’s demand might bring good results.
- Specialist of Desktop Support
Specialists of desktop support are responsible for providing a high-end user experience that includes resolving actual or potential technical issues. Your work includes troubleshooting various hardware devices and software packages, maintaining operating systems, configuring computer networks and diagnosing problems and finding their solutions. An office set up is generally required to operate as a desktop support professional with computer being the main tool. You can even work with other specialists to expand the business operations.
- Data Centre Technician
You can offer personal services to governments and companies as a data centre technician. Your primary duties may include installation of new servers and other components of networking. You can also work towards upgrading the existing server software and operating systems. To become a data centre technician, one needs to have a complete knowledge about the configuration and layout of the equipment on which he is working and must be accustomed with the tools like cable tester, which are used in maintaining networks. Apart from this, you can also maintain the existing telecommunication systems of various organizations.
- Linux Administrator
A network engineer can also choose to become a Linux system administrator as Linux is amongst the easiest operating systems that has a cheap hosting space and an open database. Linux servers are mainly preferred by many firms and organizations for hosting and other purposes of web application. Such administrators are in charge of effective configuration, installation, maintenance and operation of systems software and hardware and the associated framework. He/she is accountable for application systems, Linux and Windows that supports the firm’s research and development mechanism.
- Repairing and Maintenance of the Computer
Technological devices such as computer, laptop, notepad, etc may devlop unseen problem any day. This opens up a good idea of starting own business in the field of computer repair and maintenance. Computer repair is the procedure of identifying, troubleshooting and solving problems in a faulty computer. Computer repair is a wide field encompassing several tools, techniques and processes used to repair computer software, hardware or Internet/network problems. Computer repair is also known as PC repair. Along with repair, you may also offer computer security and help clients to keep their gadget free from virus and malware.
You may either choose to serve individuals or may provide freelance services as a computer repair consultant and serve as many corporate clients as you may.
- Training School of the Computer
With the expansion in the employment field for IT (Information Technology) professionals, many people are selecting IT as a career option. Many companies also provide regular IT training to their staff so that they adjust with the changes in the fast paced industry today. You may start a training business for those people and companies who want to gain IT certifications or who only want to expand their IT knowledge.
Even though people may have computer, laptop, etc, but advanced knowledge of technology is still beyond reach for many people. You may flourish as a computer trainer by either providing freelance training services to corporate or you may own a training institute yourself. You may teach individuals and organisations how best they can use Internet and their computer programs and other features of computer.
You may have a diverse range of clients including children or seniors who aren’t updated with the latest technology. You may also be hired by the organisations which need help in learning particular programs or computer-related activities. You may also choose to work with groups if you have the sufficient space and are permitted to have clients at your home. Tutoring is a prosperous business; all it requires is patience, especially for this type of training as technology has its own set of rules that many don’t understand.
- Computer Sales
You may also consider selling computers and its accessories. As an entrepreneur, you may either choose to sell new computers or start a business of selling second-hand or used computers. Both types of businesses are lucrative but it is important that you do a proper research and analysis of your market to assess the category which has more demand.
The field of network engineering can be very exciting for those who are fond of technology and welcome the daily projects and challenges. The business ideas mentioned above are not only productive as well profitable, but also not all of them require huge capital to start one. The best part is that most of these businesses can be started virtually from anywhere you are; you may set your own business hours and work flexibly.