Network engineers may work internally as part of an organisation’s IT support team or externally as part of an IT networking consultancy firm working with a number of clients.
Other job titles used to refer to this kind of work include network support, support engineer, IT support engineer, helpdesk support, network administrator, first-line support, second-line support, security engineer and network architect.
The work is influenced by the size and type of the employing organisation. In a large investment bank for example, a network engineer may have specific responsibility for one area of the system. In a small company, the engineer may be troubleshooter for almost any IT-related problem that arises.
* There are different types of network, such as:
- LANs – local area networks, linking a limited area such as a home, office or small group of buildings.
- MANs – metropolitan area networks, linking a large area such as a campus or city
- WANs – wide area networks, which link nationally or internationally
- GANs – global area networks, combining all of the above with satellite mobile-communication technologies.
* The type of network will affect the engineer’s responsibilities. Typical tasks usually include:
- Installing, supporting and maintaining new server hardware and software infrastructure
- Managing email, anti-spam and virus protection
- Setting up user accounts, permissions and passwords
- Monitoring network usage
- Ensuring the most cost-effective and efficient use of servers
- Suggesting and providing IT solutions to business and management problems
- Ensuring that all IT equipment complies with industry standards
- Analysing and resolving faults, ranging from a major system crash to a forgotten password
- Undertaking routine preventative measures and implementing, maintaining and monitoring network security, particularly if the network connects to the internet
- Providing training and technical support for users with varying levels of IT knowledge and competence
- Supervising other staff, such as help-desk technicians
- Working closely with other departments/organisations and collaborating with other IT staff
- Planning and implementing future IT developments and undertaking project work
- Managing the website and keeping internal networks running
- Monitoring the use of the web by employees.