The relatively stable world of enterprise networks has undergone quite a few changes in recent years. As a result, networking professionals with traditional job titles have taken on new responsibilities and entirely new job titles have emerged.
Key trends reshaping the jobs of networking professionals include increased adoption of cloud services; the push for greater automation of business processes; and the rise of technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), SD-WAN, Internet of Things (IoT), Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and edge computing.
Traditional roles like network administrator, network manager and network architect are still relevant and in-demand, says Jeff Weber, managing director in talent solutions provider Robert Half’s technology practice. But newer positions in areas like cloud administration, cloud architecture and site reliability engineering are hot, he says.
“Clearly, the acceleration of cloud and edge computing adoption is increasing and pervasive,” says Weber. “While the functional role and title don’t always change, the skills required for the role reflect the trend.”
The continual rise of cloud services is having a major influence on networking. In February, Gartner reported that enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will overtake traditional IT spending by 2025. Nearly two-thirds of application software spending will go to cloud technologies in 2025, the firm said.
Edge computing, which affects the way networks are built and managed, is also gaining momentum. An IDC report from January said global spending on edge computing is expected to be $176 billion in 2022, a 15 percent increase from 2021.
Enterprise and service provider spending on hardware, software, and services for edge computing is expected to maintain this growth rate through 2025, when spending will reach nearly $274 billion, according to IDC.
The total number of network-related jobs will continue to increase as organizations enable business and digital transformation, says Weber. “We experience both the demand for resources to maintain and secure the existing network, as well as project-based resources to design and implement networks,” she says. “The expansion and now, presumably, the permanent adoption of hybrids [and] ‘Work from anywhere’ models increase the demand for expanded network capabilities.”
He adds that the edge computing trend is driving a change in security frameworks, which in turn is driving changes in network architectures.
Some titles remain the same, but the requirements change
The skills needed for jobs like network engineering are changing at every level, says Joe Clarke, distinguished customer experience engineer at Cisco.
Some of the drivers of change are well documented, Clarke says, including cloud, SDN and SASE. “These architectures are permeating the network engineering job role, and we see it in terms of the job descriptions of modern network engineers,” she says.
“Sometimes you need to dig into the required skills section of the job description to see what the employer wants,” says Clarke. For example, companies are looking for people who understand Python (used for task automation, data analysis and visualization), Ansible (also used for IT automation, configuration management, application deployment and provisioning). cloud) and Terraform (infrastructure lifecycle management).
In many ways, it’s a given that networking professionals will know about networking, says Clarke. But employers also want someone who brings value to the business, “which means scale, agility and competitiveness,” she says. “And all of that needs to happen while protecting internal data and, more importantly, customer data.”
“Today’s network professional is a network user, an automator, a cloud connector, a software expert, and a cyber detective all in one,” he says.
Clarke has seen modern network professionals identify themselves with titles like network advocate, hybrid work engineer, agile NetOps architect, and even chief chaos. “These auto-identifiers highlight the responsibility today’s network engineers feel in protecting their businesses and ensuring reliability in the face of any level of outage,” she says.
Although professionals in the field shouldn’t expect a flood of exotic new job titles when exploring the market, there are some emerging roles that reflect the latest trends.
Here are some of the most recent network-related job titles:
With the increased use of automation in IT environments, it’s no surprise that there is a growing need for people with skills and/or interest in automation.
People in this role would design, plan and implement cloud solutions for enterprise customers and would have experience implementing automation tools for provisioning and configuration management, according to Charles Pritzl, director of Experis Practices, a division of the ManpowerGroup staffing firm.
Other tasks include the design and implementation of tools based on container platforms; deliver large-scale application modernization projects; and work on projects spanning systems architecture, proof of concept, and technical implementation services.
Required skills may include systems implementation or development experience; cybersecurity, including risk management, risk analysis, security risk analysis, vendor risk management, and application security; IT operations; an understanding of network technologies; and cloud development platforms.
Cloud automation engineer
Candidates for this position should be proficient in using automation tools for provisioning and configuration management, and have a basic understanding of networking and communications technology, including TCP/IP, Ethernet, UWB, Bluetooth , etc.
Other important skills include experience with the Linux development environment; data center and cloud computing transition; cloud computing (private, public and hybrid); virtualization; storage platforms; containers; Software Defined Networks; and orchestration tools.
Cloud automation engineers, who can expect to command a salary of $90,000 to $150,000, should also be familiar with programming techniques using C, C++, C#, Python, structured text or similar languages, he says. Experiences
Cyber Defense Network Engineer
This is one of many emerging networking roles with a cyber security focus.
This job description includes the ability to create and maintain documentation of standard operating procedures for security devices; and hands-on security experience with an emphasis on engineering design, configuration, implementation, operations, and maintenance of a variety of security technologies.
Salaries range from $80,000 to $215,000, according to Experis.
This position requires the ability to troubleshoot server hardware, hyper-converged infrastructures, and virtualization technologies. Knowledge of technologies and areas such as VMWare ESXi, Linux, storage administration, and network administration is also required.
Other important skills and certifications include an understanding of Kubernetes/Docker; VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification; Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification; and data center experience.
IoT/Edge Data Engineer
Any job related to IoT and edge computing is likely to be in demand for some time, as more organizations advance their strategies in these areas.
This position requires an understanding of IoT wireless networking technologies; collection of social, ethical and legal IoT information; implement IoT data governance; smart edge to smart mesh performance benchmarking; and data intermediation and consolidation.
Salaries range from $60,000 to $180,000, according to Experis.
Network Intelligence Engineer
This role requires practical security knowledge and experience with an emphasis on engineering design, configuration, implementation, operations and maintenance of a variety of security technologies, according to Experis.
Professionals in these positions, who can expect to earn between $60,000 and $215,000, must also have the ability to build network visualizations (diagrams, terrain maps, reports, etc.); and have an understanding of network security products and techniques; IT network-based attack methodologies and tools; and security operations and incident response technologies and methodologies.
Other requirements are highly developed investigative and analytical skills, strong organizational skills and attention to detail, and the ability to think before attackers.
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) Security Engineer
With so much focus on the Zero Trust model today, roles that are specifically tied to cybersecurity architecture will naturally emerge.
These professionals should have enterprise security experience, including familiarity with data architecture and identity management, access control, network segmentation techniques, as well as experience with cloud and hybrid infrastructure, applications, and security. .
They should also have understanding and delivery experience with Zero Trust network access frameworks and advanced knowledge of application concepts. Salaries range from $95,000 to $163,000, according to Experis.
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