Advancing Your Computer Networking Career: 10 Tips

Looking to move ahead in your networking job? Here are some ideas to jump-start your IT career in the field of networking.

Networking professionals who want to take their careers to the next level have a wide array of options that can be overwhelming at times. The key is to figure out where you want to go, then assess your options on how to get there. For some, career advancement may be as simple as taking a week-long course on a popular new technology. For others, the journey may require far more extensive steps and include months or even years of preparation.

With computer networking careers growing at a healthy pace, the time you spend on professional development will pay off. According to a recent study conducted by IT Career Finder, the role of "network administrator" is not only a hot job in 2018, it's expected to have a 28% 10-year growth rate. Infrastructure trends such as cloud computing, an everything-connected IoT world, and an increased focus on integrating data security tools at the network level are helping drive this growth. The network engineer will be tasked to take on plenty of new and exciting challenges.

In many cases, getting to the next level in your networking career requires much more than simply learning a new set of skills. Often, it's useful to first assess the overall IT networking landscape in your organization or industry to identify what skills you believe are -- or will be -- in demand. This takes a great deal of investigation and understanding of the business you want to work in.

Career development also requires an adjustment in attitude. Sometimes, to get where you want to be at in your career, you must perform work or learn new skills that you aren't necessarily comfortable with. Networking pros are used to being whizzes at troubleshooting connection problems and installing switches, so coding or cloud may be unfamiliar and a bit unnerving. However, getting out of your comfort zone will pay off in the long run.

In this slideshow, I offer 10 tips for getting ahead in the field of computer networking.

(Image: geralt/Pixabay)

About the Author(s)

Andrew Froehlich, President, West Gate Networks

President, West Gate Networks

As a highly experienced network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, particularly in the United States and Southeast Asia, Andrew Froehlich has nearly two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Froehlich has participated in the design and maintenance of networks for State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, Chicago-area schools and the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is the founder and president of Loveland, Colo.-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build outs. The author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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