The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says network engineering job opportunities will grow by about 3% through 2031. While this growth is slightly slower than the average for other occupations, the BLS says, “Despite limited employment growth, about 23,900 openings for network and computer system administrators are projected each year, on average, over the decade.” If you’re considering a care as a network engineer, this blog will help you understand the role.
What Does a Network Engineer Do?
A network engineer is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining the computer networks that make it possible for computers and other devices to communicate with each other. This includes both local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). Network engineers may also be responsible for troubleshooting and resolving network-related issues and upgrading and maintaining network hardware and software. They also may be responsible for ensuring the network’s security, monitoring network performance, and making recommendations for future network expansion or upgrades.
Traditionally, network engineers work in a server room. But the role is changing as cloud and AI automation transform the entire industry into virtual servers and architectures.
How is Network Engineering Changing?
The old hub and spoke network architectures are evolving into wider arrays to support mobile, Internet of things (IoT), video, and voice—all in the cloud. Network engineers maintain this traffic and will continue to play a role in shoring up these infrastructures. Think about it: One network outage can cost companies up to $301,000 an hour. That makes the role of network engineer still vitally important now and in the future. But the role is changing. Some industry-wide evolutions to this job include:
- Companies investing in automation to eliminate costly human errors. Given that most network outages are caused by human error, this isn’t necessarily bad. Gartner says that companies that automate more than 70% of their network functionality will reduce outages by 50%. The writing is on the wall for automation, even though 71% of engineers say they still use manual interfaces to troubleshoot their networks. This will change in the future.
- Companies are increasingly moving to the cloud, so the network engineers of tomorrow will need to become cloud networking experts. This will include working with third-party provider remotely connected servers, virtual routers and firewalls, or virtual private clouds. It’s a game changer for any network engineer still stuck on prem.
- Network engineering will increasingly become a cross-departmental collaborative role. In the past, these professionals were viewed as lone wolves, working solo to keep a network running. Now that IT has moved from a basement server room to an integrated piece of how business happens, network engineers will become more collaborative partners with security, marketing, data engineering, and more.
Network engineers now more than ever, are the hub on the wheel of integrated IT services. The role is changing, and Blackstone Technology Group recruiters help network engineers find jobs where they can grow, build, and apply their existing skills. Call on us today to find out how we can help your career.