How to become a Network Engineer – Getting started with a career in IT 

Becoming an IT professional is no easy task, most employers want an bachelors degree before they hire and some will hire you as a IT professional in network engineering and IT support if you have the substituted experience for the college degree. If you want to become an IT specialist in network engineering you definitely want to start with learning the basics of networking for a career in networking if you have no skills you should with your CompTia A+ Certification which is a entry level IT certification for computer technician skills.

Here’s a list of the most common skills you will need to develop.

  • HTTP – a good understanding of how it works
  • SSH – the ability to work with it and understand how it works, this includes locally and through consoles through the browser.
  • TCP/UDP – a good book for understanding these protocols is Kurose 6th Edition (Entry Level) book used for college curriculum there’s also many free books on the web for understanding the OSI model. You need to understand this to understand networking.
  • VPN – Virtual Private Networks
  • Firewall – learn and understand how firewalls work, implementation & testing.
  • Learn and understand all the well known ports and protocols such as FTP, SFTP, SNMP, ICMP
  • Linux – as technology progresses its important to understand Linux, and learn how to use it.
  • IPV4/IPV6 
  • Sub-netting 
  • DNS 
  • DHCP
  • VLAN 
  • ARP 
  • NAT 

This is just an overview of the collective learning experience at the minimal level.

Learning Paths by Certification.

  1. If you have a (1) year experience in the field that would mean you understand all of the items listed above. You should then consider CISCO CCNA routing & switching exam or > CCNA Security, Windows Server 2016 certifications is also a good option and serves great aside the cisco certifications.
  2. If you have less than (1) year experience, you should start with your Comptia N+ certification, from here you can branch out into many different fields of area.

The best experience you can provide yourself is getting your foot in the door, I have found that from studying for any exams and learning new technologies such as docker, RedHat Linux, Openstack among a few, it’s entirely easier to move through the learning experience by actually working on projects.

Starting a career in networking is really about establishing an understanding of various technologies, you don’t need to master them all but to have a generalized idea of how technologies work.

If your looking to strictly focus on network Engineering here’s a start by path 

  1. Network + and or Comptia A+ (entry level)
  2. CCNA > CCNP – (intermediate)
  3. MCSA – windows 10 Server 2016 > MCSE 
  4. MCSA – Office 365 – still falls under networking and communications.

Best Cloud Platforms for learning Linux for networking

  • Google Cloud (certification available)
  • Microsoft Azure for advanced users
  • Digital Ocean – has a massive tutorial platform for sysadmins or newbies trying to become one.
  • AWS – for advanced users (certification available)

Best Content learning platforms 

  1. Microsoft Virtual Academy – great place to start for Microsoft certifications (free)
  2. Udemy – great place to start for freelancers just looking to learn (free/paid content)
  3. Linux Academy – best for those in the field looking to prep for certifications at the (advanced level) or newbies just getting started
  4. Coursera – Many courses from colleges around the world.

For advanced Learners seeking DevOPS Career/Programming


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