Cisco Engineer is a network administrator who conceives and deploys computer networks which have been created using products from Cisco. Organizations and companies that want to develop large computer networks employ them. The primary tasks of these engineers are establishing networks, extending network support, besides detecting and addressing persisting issues.
They work in a team to implement and help networks and end-users. It is, therefore, imperative that Cisco network engineers possess solid analytical skills along with competent communication skills.
Their work entails them to be available round-the-clock and throughout the year.
Cisco Engineer’s Job Description
After architects create network designs, Cisco Engineers implement changes to their arrangement taking into account issues, such as traffic logjams, upgrading of essential infrastructure, troubleshooting issues inconveniencing customers, undertaking precautionary maintenance, etc.
Engineers must be able to understand how complex networks work and identify problems, besides advising on how to improve them. They should be well versed with security, virtualization, containers, storage engineering, and wide area networking (WAN). They must create a dependable optimally functioning network, which integrates the Internet, Intranet, LAN, and WAN sections, involving network designing and analysis.
Engineers should have knowledge of computers, routers, firewall, and switches, among others, for performing maintenance of the network and upgrading the system, including patches, service packs, security configurations, and hot fixes. They must be capable of acquiring more knowledge by continuing education or through other avenues.
Engineers develop device drivers, design network applications, and use script and web languages to write new programs. They test hardware and develop new hardware and design. They design and test routers, flash drives, modems, and power converters.
Engineers provide technical support and detect and fix persisting problems. They execute the design, architectural, and integration engineering for solutions of the network infrastructure. Engineers interact with clients to understand their business requirements and devise technical solutions for them.
They design, install, maintain, and oversee the equipment required for providing LAN, WAN, Wi-Fi, VPN, and VoIP networks economically. Engineers make sure there is a high level of availability, latitude, and network functioning. They also double up as VoIP engineers to maintain, manage and configure the organization’s telecommunications’ systems. Engineers support, evaluate, and update infrastructure documentation. They maintain the latest network disaster recovery methods and try to keep improving them.
It is the engineers’ responsibility to enhance and maintain the security levels of all data networks within an organization. They represent their organization by working with vendors to fix problems. Cisco certified engineers assist in devising procedures and policies, taking full advantage of information accessibility and protecting data integrity and confidentiality.
Cisco Engineers daily tasks also include managing firewall and other security mechanisms, maintaining and supporting routers and switches, making sure that all WAN/LAN circuits are operating at all times, securing Internet line and ensuring that is operational, configuring DNS Servers, creating exhaustive documentation of system configuration and processes.
Engineers should also understand that routers of Cisco implement network layer functions. Their primary function is to forward packets depending on a routing table. When performing this, routers also provide several broadcast domains, traffic division, and state network layer addressing networks and subnets. It is the ports or router network adapters to which IP addresses are assigned that define these networks. Addresses of the IP are usually the automatic gateway to servers or PCs or other networking devices.
The function of routers is also to connect to service providers and serve as other networks’ gateways, which are usually lying at the network’s edge. Not all of these network adapters will be Ethernet. They will be able to connect to DSL connections, serial interfaces, and other forms of WAN. Cisco routers, unlike the ones of other companies, have different types of memory. They also feature flash, which is where the operating system’s image resides.
The point to note here is that computing resources of today are highly powerful so much so that they allow routers to start functioning like other network components. They can incorporate voice call routing capabilities and firewalling tasks.
Engineers should always be on the lookout for options for improving processes and system automation, working with several teams to get back service in order quickly after an issue, designing and updating network diagrams, confirming networks which comply with all DoD regulations.
They work on projects and recommend requirements for equipment and personnel, and aid their organization by coordinating in the planning and budgeting for these.
They provide training as and when needed, conduct regular audits, test, and troubleshoot as per PCI and IT policies, and install LAN software upgrades.
Network Engineers attend and take part in project, operational, and other meetings of their teams.
Importantly, they must be ever ready to embrace change.
Educational qualifications and certifications for a Cisco Engineer
Ideally, they need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology, though a high school degree might do for specific companies.
With a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, engineers gain an edge, as they delve into basic network security or threats, such as malware, adware or spyware, and provide connections using Wide Area Network (WAN) to remote sites. The certification also empowers them to understand how different networks communicate among themselves to give rise to a secured network. Engineers also get to know how networks interact with various types of devices.
Following CCNA, they will be able to fix and validate inter-switch communications, configure routing on devices of Cisco, sort out and install routing on Cisco devices, configure a switch with inter-switch communications and VLAN, implement addressing of IP and meet requirements of the networks, implement and maintain Access Control Lists (ACL) and Network Address Translations (NAT), validate WAN links and put in place correct methods to connect wide area networks (WAN), and to establish WAN links connecting WAN.
The employment outlook for Cisco Engineers
The future looks bright for network systems administrators, including Cisco engineers. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment is expected to rise in this field by 8% during 2014-2024.
Despite the emergence of software-defined networking (SDN) and automation, networking skills will still be in demand because it will not be possible to automate everything. Addressing issues and bugs through troubleshooting will continue to happen, and as the network’s size continues to increase, the requirement for network engineers will continue to rise.
Besides, aspiring Cisco Systems Engineers would need to upskill themselves more quickly than they used to a decade ago. They would also be required to concentrate on particular skills, such as automation, security, cloud, analytics, and architecture, according to Cisco. Moreover, they would now need to understand programming and be well-versed with open source platforms.
Cisco Engineer Salary
According to indeed, the average yearly salary of Cisco Network Engineers is $83,059 in the United States.
Field Engineer’s role
Highly qualified and skilled Freelance Cisco Engineers in search of job opportunities in the freelance marketplace must sign up at Field Engineer. It is a one-stop platform for freelance engineers who are interested in exploring new opportunities from across the globe. The portal has 40,000 freelance professionals from 180 countries.