Overview of the role
This occupation is found in large and small businesses, in all sectors, and within public, private, and voluntary organisations. Network Engineers are a key occupation in most organisations which are increasingly dependent on their digital networks.
Organisations of all types are increasingly applying digital technologies across all their business functions to maximise productivity. Large organisations will have sophisticated complex systems whilst smaller consultancies offer support to clients on a contract basis.
For example, a Network Engineer may work within a network of hotels to ensure that the booking system functionality and performance is maintained and customer access to courtesy systems such as Wi-Fi are managed appropriately for performance.
In a large infrastructure project, a Network Engineer may work in a team to ensure that significant project milestones are reached in delivering network services both within the project and by servicing the project teams with reliable network capability to enable them to deliver that project successfully.
Large communications organisations use Network Engineers to service world-leading global networks at the cutting edge – adapting and evolving with changes to new technologies to give customers the very best digital experience from delivering major communications installations to monitoring nationwide networks.
The demand for people who can manage, build, maintain virtual and physical networks is increasing. This is because of technological developments such as, 5G and Cloud. The broad purpose of the occupation is to install computer networks, maintain them, and offer technical support to users where necessary.
A Network Engineer provides networks and systems to deliver the objectives of varied organisations. They will make sure that systems are working at optimum capacity and problem solve where they are not. To be able to do this effectively a Network Engineer must interpret technical information and understand organisational requirements and expectations. They support delivery of legislatively compliant solutions to challenges in network and infrastructure.
Network Engineers deal with both hardware and software issues. They are a key part of putting things right quickly when networks fail, and they communicate problems that they have identified with network integrity or performance rapidly to ensure service is resumed and downtime minimised. Network Engineers help customers both technical and non-technical to install computer networks, maintain them, and offer technical support to users where necessary.
Network Engineers can be customer facing or internal. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with management within organisations, team members, staff, clients, customers, and suppliers. They may interact face to face or remotely by using a range of technologies. They may be working independently or collaboratively as part of a team. They will be aware of their organisational escalation routes and understand their role in their team.
The work of a Network Engineer is office-based, although they may need to work across different sites depending on the size of the organisation and their network. When working as a consultant a Network Engineer may spend a lot of time at clients’ offices and on large installations, which may mean spending time away from home or their usual work base.