Top 13 Network Engineering Skills to be Effective on the Job
Network engineers need to possess the right skills and qualities that will enable them to deliver top performance on the tasks assigned to them.
This post helps you to discover and develop the needed qualities and skills to help you succeed in your network engineering career.
But first, let’s look at who a network engineer is:
Who is a Network Engineer?
A network engineer is a Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) technician whose job is to plan, implement, and support network solutions between various platforms.
A network engineer installs and maintains local area network software and hardware, and troubleshoots the use of network and computer peripherals. See detailed network engineer job description.
Now, here are major skills and qualities network engineers need to possess in order to be successful in their field of work:
13 Skills and Qualities to be Effective as a Network Engineer
1. Excellent Communication Skills
Network engineers should be able to communicate verbally and non-verbally with their clients and potential customers online or through phone calls when they work remotely.
This will help them to keep the workflow smooth, and create an opportunity for greater achievement.
With impressive technical skills and effective communication traits, network engineers will always get the best of what they want out of their job. It is not proper to abandon a client who is trying to figure out the message you are passing.
Network engineers have to relate well with team and seniors, and effectively discuss network conflicts and issues. Without the ability to communicate, they will have a tough time helping clients understand what is going on.
To handle remote support, network engineers need to be calm, patient and understanding to fully and easily communicate with end users.
Communication skills do not help only at remote support, but also important in the field when engineers need to talk to clients, and when they want to communicate with the home office.
2. Attention to Detail
Most network engineering projects are somewhat difficult to complete. One of the several aspects of each project has to go deep inside each of them to complete successfully.
The ability to give attention to detail will help you to spot even a minor error.
Giving attention to detail also helps you to ensure that everything you do, including changing the configuration of a router, is fully correct and does not cause a network failure.
Because you are likely to work under tight deadlines, it is important that you pay close attention to detail to see the very detailed picture of the system.
You should be alert at all times and take note to ensure that the equipment you work on is left in the same configuration as it was found.
Your schedule may be affected by some roadblocks such as running into problems with building access, network/server room locks, or cabling issues like a messy cable configuration and poor rack maintenance.
You need to maintain awareness of the environment to complete your work on schedule and prevent both present and future challenges.
3. Learning Skills
Network engineers should have the capacity to learn about new technologies through reading a lot of manuals and books.
They must consider the big advantage of the ever-changing technologies and why they need to take additional courses to know how to use and support them.
They must also learn many programming languages and how to use a wide array of computer software programs.
4. Great Problem-solving Skills
Fault-finding and problem-solving should take a larger part of a network engineer’s role. If possible, they can apply the eight disciplines of problem-solving, which is a highly effective scientific approach for resolving issues.
You can make a better network engineer if your main responsibility is to look at a problem and find the best way to rectify it. The solution must comply with safety standards, customer specifications, and designs that best suit the company’s requirements and capabilities.
As new and unique problems in your networking career can erupt without announcement, so you need to use innovation to design and implement immediate solutions.
You also need the ability to visualize, articulate and solve complex problems, and then make positive decisions based on available information.
Network engineers should be able to apply sound thinking to gathering and exploring information, making plans, devising and testing solutions.
Today’s technological environment is changing so fast that network engineers must implement internal changes in order to keep up.
They should demonstrate adaptability skills by proving they are able to think critically about potential problems, assess those problems and find lasting solutions.
Adaptability is also a willingness to change and find quality solutions within a given time.
Network engineers must feel comfortable enough with their abilities to maintain well-understood technology, and not replace it with a rising technology that will be difficult to figure out.
6. Planning and Organizational Skills
Network engineers should be able to define plans and organize activities necessary to reach targeted goals, organize and utilize resources in a way that maximizes their effectiveness; and implement and adjust appropriate plans as necessary as possible.
The planning process is important in deploying a complex network, or finding related solution applicable to documentation of how systems and infrastructure are configured, which is typically done after implementation and includes everything leading up to implementation.
Any set of tools can be used for documenting a solution, but tools like Visio is great for the process.
The point here is to use up the time on developing an exhaustive plan for any solution you are participating in, and do it right the first time.
Network engineers should be able to deal with more than one task at a time in conjunction with colleagues working on other aspects of the project.
They should then be able to organize the workload, manage the deadlines effectively, plan and prioritize the company’s projects for quick result.
7. Business Acumen
To be able to demonstrate business value, network engineers need to have a good understanding of the company’s key business processes.
Understanding technology is important, but it is more beneficial to have a solid understanding of the business drivers within which computer engineers operate.
In order to have high business value, network engineers must be able to demonstrate the Return of Investment (ROI) of any organization they work for.
And for network management value, they need to have an understanding of the company’s business and have adequate business acumen to set up the link between network management and the company’s business objectives.
8. Teamwork and Co-operation
Network engineers should be able to work well alone and with others, because no one can complete a project all alone.
Some tasks must be completed alone while some others must be completed as a team. Therefore, it is your duty as a network engineer to try as much as possible to handle both situations without issue.
Furthermore, network engineers should do well in the leadership role, utilizing the resources of the company in a successful way and spending the budgets wisely.
They should also keep the necessary individuals well informed with budget reviews and milestones; communicate effectively with everybody in the organization; support everyone around them, and present an exact message concerning the bosses and the clients.
9. Stress Management
There is no job that does not have a fair amount of stress, which may appear as a result of too much pressure from work, working with unprofessional clients, facing rejection of work or bids, and lots more.
Network engineers need to possess the skill that will help them to handle all types of situations involving stress without engaging with clients or customers.
An impatient network engineer is destined for failure and is always unhappy. Engineers should know that they need to exercise patience in order to understand what other people are saying. They should understand that not everyone is as professional as they are in their area of specialization.
Things cannot always go as planned and certainly unforeseen challenges may arise during the course of any project.
When you find yourself in this kind of situation, you should keep a cool head and quietly work towards a solution in order to impress your clients.
It will be easier to keep your cool when you enter each project with the assumption that delays are inevitable.
When you feel frustrated, try to maintain composure in front of your customers. Your customers will be much more likely to hire you again in future when they are sure to remember your cool-headedness while under pressure.
11. Honesty and Trustworthiness
Every network engineer needs to possess the quality of honesty even if the situation is painful or will not favor them, and even if it contradicts the desires, beliefs, needs, and objectives of the organization.
Because projects are likely to fail with dishonesty, honesty is then regarded as one of the key personality traits of a network engineer.
Organizations that are built on trust will always execute projects that are most likely to have a positive result because team members are working better together. When there is absence of trust, people betray each other and thereby cause disputes among the team members.
Creativity is increasingly gaining recognition in the field of network engineering, and it depends on deep thinking, alertness, and the ability to channel those creative thoughts into useful action.
Employees who are creative and who can use their innovation to think out the best possible way that the future projects of their organization may have positive outcome are likely to win the heart of the employer during an interview.
Network engineers should maintain the market relevance of their organization in a constantly changing environment. They are expected to use their creative thinking skills to improve quality of service, utilization, processes, and networks for provision of the best business solutions.
13. Self Management
Good time management skill is very essential in the career of every network engineer.
You will have to juggle between your clients expecting you to deliver on time and the customers you are supposed to call who want their issues addressed.
You need to ensure nothing is left undone using your self-management ability to keep the workflow smooth.
You need to develop the ability to prioritize and complete assignments on time so as to deliver desired outcomes within any given time frame.
You should then independently pursue business goals in an organized and efficient way, and also prioritize activities in order to meet job responsibilities.
Network engineers should further maintain required level of activity towards achieving goals without direct supervision, and minimize interruptions of workflow and time wasters, to deliver high quality work within a given time frame.
Network Engineering Skills for Resume
if you are making a resume for a network engineering job, the skills and qualities given above can assist you in making the core competence or skills section of the resume.
This section of your resume enables you to state the skills you are coming with to effectively perform the role of a network engineer.
If you are looking to become a good network engineer that everyone wants to work with, this post shows you the skills and qualities you need to develop and apply in your work.