Networking covers a wide variety of today’s top business connectivity initiatives, whether it’s cloud computing or 5G implementation or software-defined infrastructure.
Any enterprise setup that allows users to share data across the information system is a form of networking and requires networking professionals to design, configure, and manage the infrastructure over time.
The networking job market has grown quickly to meet the needs of all kinds of companies, especially as their users and network components continue to the cloud and the edge.
Whether you’re an experienced networking professional, a new tech graduate, or someone who’s looking for a career change, learn more about the market for networking careers and how you can sharpen your skills to meet networking job criteria:
The Networking Job Market
The networking market
The enterprise networking market reached a value of $50.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $64.6 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research.
Generally, these six categories of networking are the most common:
- Local-area networking (LAN)
- Wide-area networking (WAN)
- Software-defined networking (SDN)
- Cloud and edge networking
- 5G and mobile networking
- Virtual private network (VPN)
More on this topic: The Networking Market
Networking job types
- Network engineer: one of the most versatile and highly sought after networking professionals. Network engineers focus on designing, optimizing, and developing networking infrastructure, but they also frequently assist with ongoing network management.
- Network technician: primarily handles tactical upgrades, bug fixes, and troubleshooting for network hardware and software.
- Network administrator: think of this role as the network’s operations manager. Network administrators handle most maintenance, monitoring, and general management features of a network after it’s set up. They are also frequently in charge of designating responsibilities to other networking roles.
- Network support specialist: frequently more user experience (UX) focused. If a network or its components are experiencing outages or other problems, this individual acts as the communication liaison between the users and solutions they need.
- Network security engineer: focuses on developing technical, physical, and regulatory safeguards to secure different components of a network. They may work closely with a network administrator, especially when focusing on network monitoring needs.
Explore other security roles here: Today’s Cybersecurity Job Market
Education for networking roles
Because networking covers such a broad spectrum of connectivity needs, the networking job market is one of the most accessible for applicants who want to find technical work for the first time.
Many networking professionals have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, IT, or another related technical field. However, the networking job market is one where several combinations of relevant education and experience will work for an available networking role.
Taking the time to invest in the following skills and experiences can improve your chances of getting hired in this specialty:
- Platform-specific experience, especially for cloud-based networking (e.g., AWS)
- In-depth knowledge of traditional networking hardware, software, and protocols (e.g., TCP/IP)
- Experience with network management and monitoring tools
- Comfortability with open-source environments and hands-on coding
- Software development and scripting experience
- Security certifications or hands-on security work, particularly for network security roles
For applicants who are looking to improve their networking resume outside of traditional working hours, consider completing one of the more esteemed networking certifications: CompTIA Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) are some of the certifications that hiring managers look for during the hiring process.
Learn more about certification opportunities from Datamation.
Networking job openings
Over 139,000 positions are open for varying networking roles, according to LinkedIn.
While many of these roles are focused on managing the local networking infrastructure of smaller companies, several roles are with larger enterprises that require assistance with network configuration, management, and security.
These positions are some of the top networking openings, according to LinkedIn:
- Cloud network engineer
- Network engineer
- Junior/entry-level network engineer
- Network administrator
- Network deployment and support specialist
- Network development engineer
- Network operations engineer
- Network security engineer
Especially if you’re interested in working for a larger company, several tech companies are filling out their networking teams:
- Juniper Networks
What else is happening in networking: Top Networking Trends & Developments
Networking salaries are less dependent on the specific job title and more on the specialized networking skills that candidates can bring to the table.
Job applicants who show expertise in the following networking skill areas are likely to make salaries in the following ranges, according to the 2021 “Dice Tech Salary Report”:
|Skill||Salary in 2020||Yr/Yr Change|
A key advantage of the networking job market is the wide range of available roles. You don’t necessarily have to have a relevant bachelor’s degree to qualify, as many roles lean more heavily on a candidate’s knowledge of specific technologies.
Hands-on experience and relevant certifications are weighted heavily in the networking job market, especially for network security and support roles.
Networking is the backbone of nearly every other technical market due to the connectivity it provides to technical innovations. Because of its ubiquity across industries and companies, networking careers are some of the most versatile and stable tech career paths to pursue.
Read next: Top 10 Enterprise Networking Companies