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2020 Network Engineer Career & Interview Guide

2020 Network Engineer Career & Interview Guide

According to Glassdoor statistics in the United States, the average salary of a network engineer is $72,362, with an annual salary increase of 5% (US Bureau of Labor Statistics data). The minimum degree required is a Bachelor of Information Technology.

Network engineers often need to make decisions about the networks they are responsible for, including how much budget they want to allocate for infrastructure and maintenance, and they also need to design and build networks to meet business goals and strategies. Enterprise networks, and the skills that network engineers need to use, vary according to industry and business needs. For example, the manufacturing and retail industries rely more on IoT and need a stable network of large-volume data; medical institutions have higher requirements for network security. Therefore, when applying for the position of network engineer, be sure to keep in mind the needs of the company and adjust your skills to suit specific industries.

With the rise of automation, software-defined networking, and digital workplace transformation, the role of network engineers has also changed. Since the current network software can take over relatively simple tasks such as monitoring and traffic supply in network management, enterprises have put forward more advanced requirements for network engineers. Engineers no longer simply maintain a network, but actively contribute to the company's overall business tasks and use technology to generate more revenue.

Ten professional skills

Although automation is changing the role of network engineers, the skills of many network engineers cannot be replaced by automation. Having good communication skills and being able to apply modern network knowledge to the old network architecture is the key to the job.

1. Customer Relations

Depending on the nature of your company or organization, you may need to resolve network failures or deal with front-end network problems for your customers. At this time, you need excellent communication skills to explain technical problems to non-technical personnel, and even need to consider the problem from the user's perspective and establish a good cooperative relationship with customers.

2. Analysis and troubleshooting

The network engineer must solve the problems within the network before and after the problem occurs. The most important point is that the network engineer must have a certain analysis ability to find the source of the problem, and have a special troubleshooting process to effectively solve the problem and prevent the problem from happening again.

3. Firewall and security

Network security is crucial, especially when transmitting data with a relatively high level of security in the network. Although many organizations have dedicated IT security personnel, but want the network to maintain end-to-end security, which means that everyone in the IT team needs to participate in keeping the network safe. In addition, network engineers also need to deploy and maintain firewalls in the network.

4. Network technology

Network and routing technology is one of the necessary skills in the work of network engineers. Network engineers need to be familiar with different types of networks and architectures (including WAN, LAN, SD-WAN, SD-branch, etc.) and integrate them into existing systems. With the continuous emergence of new types of networks, continuous acceptance of new knowledge and continuous attention to new technologies are crucial for network engineers.

5. Programming languages

Network engineers should understand that some common scripting languages, such as Python, Ruby, and Perl, are used a lot in corporate networks. In addition, Java, Terraform and Ansible also need to focus on. As more and more network functions are automated, this type of automation language will also be very useful in the future. Similarly, as more and more networks are using open source resources, Linux Bash is also one of the must-learn languages.

6. Hardware and infrastructure

The network engineer's responsibilities also include calling the network and its functional hardware. In response to this, it is critical to understand mainstream network hardware vendors and their products. Although network workers usually do not directly participate in purchasing decisions, they need to understand the corresponding network requirements for deciding to purchase these devices. Similarly, the use and maintenance of network infrastructure is also the responsibility of network workers.

7. DNS

As we all know, DNS is the foundation of the Internet, it is essential to the operation of the Internet network, and this is the foundation of most modern enterprise networks. If DNS is down, the network will also be down, so it is critical to master how to troubleshoot in a connected environment.

8. Internet of Things

As more and more enterprises begin to rely on IoT devices, it is expected that the IoT will have a huge impact on corporate network traffic, infrastructure and security. The interconnection between IoT devices usually uses 4G or 5G networks, but network architectures such as SD-branch also use WiFi or other non-mobile connections to support their IoT ecosystem, so security is crucial because IoT devices are very Vulnerable to attack.

9. Virtualization and automation

Virtualization is a feature of SD-WAN. Network engineers must be able to use automated network functions to better allocate network and IT resources. In the work, although automation engineers usually play a major role in the development of automation functions, it is best for network engineers to have an understanding of related functions.

10. MPLS

Although the emergence of SD-WAN has partially replaced the position of MPLS in enterprises, many enterprises still rely on MPLS to ensure network reliability and security. Network engineers should understand how to use MPLS private networks and common hybrid wide area networks.

Top 10 interview questions

When it comes to network engineer interviews, different companies will have different processes and problems. Both corporate culture issues and technical issues may be asked. Here are some common network worker interview questions.

1. Briefly answer the troubleshooting process?

In this question, what the interviewer wants to see is your overall logic for solving the problem. What they want to see is a step-by-step process, a method of thoroughly analyzing the problem, or, when you encounter difficulties, What resources will be used.

2. What is the largest network designed/deployed?

As in the previous question, express your design process in a clear way. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) method to describe the problem and how you solved it. This is a good method for a comprehensive overview.

3. What is your opinion on cyber security?

Network security is a major issue facing companies, and companies want to see you have a correct understanding of end-to-end security. You can answer your previous measures to ensure network security, how to deal with previous violations (continue to use the STAR method), and you can also discuss why you think end-to-end security is essential for a protected network .

4. How to lead the team to deploy network resources?

Network engineers may lead other teams of engineers to work on large projects with other IT professionals.

5. How to deal with angry customers?

Customer service is becoming an important part of the responsibilities of network workers. Some interviews may even have scenario exercises for this situation. The interviewer will act as an angry customer to see how you react. When you answer this question, be sure to emphasize how to maintain a calm and calm attitude, how to listen to customers' problems, how to resolve tensions and how to know when to report the situation to higher management.

6. How to add more connections to an existing large network?

Consider the network type, security requirements, and hardware, and then express the work process smoothly and clearly.

7. How to grasp the development trend of the industry?

Network engineers must learn both at work and outside of work. Try not to list only websites and newsletters. Instead, emphasize how you participate in the industry, such as attending conferences or participating in an open source project.

8. What is the process of expanding the network?

Highlight the work process step by step, enrich your answers with examples from previous work, and explain which factors influenced your approach.

9. Describe a network problem you have dealt with.

No network is perfect, emphasizing the problems you encounter, the planned solution, what steps you have taken to solve it and prevent it from happening again, and its impact on the network and the entire company.

10. Design a network topology

When designing, make sure to take into account the size, network type, organization (using common terminology, that is, "large enterprise retail institution" instead of Wal-Mart pronouns), and other specific elements (security, IoT devices, large bandwidth requirements Wait).

An excellent network engineer needs to start from the bottom of network operation and maintenance, network testing, and network inspection, and has accumulated rich engineering experience. Then upgrade to network implementation, network support, network design.

At this time, not only has engineering hands-on experience, but also has rich theoretical knowledge. Can jump to a larger platform, professional network architecture design, salary is still very high. 

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