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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Salary Range
€35k - €90k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Plans, designs, implements and troubleshoots computer networks.


  • Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.


  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

In Summary - Network Engineer

Career Sectors

Network Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Computers & ICT
Software & Programming
Computers & ICT
Hardware & Manufacturing
Computers & ICT
Cloud Computing
Computers & ICT

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Further Information

The Work - Network Engineer

Network engineers, also referred to as computer network architects, are responsibile for the planning, design, building, and operation of computer networks - the hardware, software, and servers that support the network.

The particular role of the Network Engineer is mainly to plan the network, they might also perform tasks such as deciding which types of hardware are needed, layout for data communication network design, and the types of security the network needs.

With today’s IT networks, management operations are mostly carried out by people. The new, emerging software-defined IT networks (SDNs) are going to change that by automating many processes to reduce human input and the mistakes that can be made.

With these changes, IT professionals will need new skills. They will be at the front lines where SDNs are designed, operated, and managed. They will also be implementing policies that increase performance and troubleshooting programs that go awry.

IT and network engineers will need to acquire a “systemic” mind-set aimed at integrating design and operations in data centers and telecommunications networks, as the border between the two domains blurs.

These engineers will be in charge of enabling successful SDN deployment.

Network engineers need new skills to develop new SDN tools, products, infrastructure, and applications:

  • Ability to incorporate know-how from traditional IT and network domains, which have grown independently of each other over the years but are now converging
  • An understanding of industrial mathematics, a branch of applied mathematics. Those with this knowledge will be better able to understand technical issues, formulate precise and accurate mathematical models, and implement solutions using the latest computer techniques. An understanding of this field will help in developing systems by applying machine learning and cognitive algorithms, which are expected to lessen the complexity and dynamic nature of SDNs.
  • A mastery of software architecture and open-source software, which is needed to develop SDN tools and applications. It will also be helpful to understand software verification and validation processes, which ensure that software meets specifications and fulfills its intended purpose. Some engineers assume they’ll need programming skills, but that’s not necessarily so, because software applications for SDNs from third parties are already available
  • A background in big-data analytics in order to understand how to handle the huge amounts of data expected from SDNs. Someone skilled in big-data analytics will not only be able to manage more data but also know the right questions to ask should problems arise. Such analytics will also help engineers make smart, data-driven decisions.
  • Expertise in cybersecurity, because security must be everywhere within SDNs. It needs to be built into the architecture and also must be delivered as a service to protect the availability, integrity, and privacy of connected resources and information. 

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Adjust network sizes to meet volume or capacity demands.
  • Communicate with customers, sales staff, or marketing staff to determine customer needs.
  • Communicate with system users to ensure accounts are set up properly or to diagnose and solve operational problems.
  • Coordinate installation of new equipment.
  • Coordinate network operations, maintenance, repairs, or upgrades.
  • Coordinate network or design activities with designers of associated networks.
  • Design, build, or operate equipment configuration prototypes, including network hardware, software, servers, or server operation systems.
  • Design, organize, and deliver product awareness, skills transfer, or product education sessions for staff or suppliers.
  • Determine specific network hardware or software requirements, such as platforms, interfaces, bandwidths, or routine schemas.
  • Develop and implement solutions for network problems.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Interests - Network Engineer

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Entry Requirements - Network Engineer

Network engineers often start out in technical support roles and then progress to the position of network engineer.

A Bachelor's degree is beneficial for career development and advancement. Relevant degree courses are available from most Institutes of Technology and a range of private colleges. Relevant subject areas include: Computer science, information technology, engineering and computer-related fields. 

Cisco and Microsoft offer advanced certification for professionals with extensive experience designing and managing computer networks.

Apprenticeship Route

FIT - ICT Associate Professional Network Engineer is a new IT apprenticeship-style (learn & earn) pathway to a career in the technology sector. FIT ICT AP is a ‘learning by doing’ format of ICT skills development which has been endorsed by the industry and government. This is a two-year programme during which candidates who are competent tech enthusiasts attain a Level 6 ICT and Professional Development Award. More

Last Updated: April, 2016

Pay & Salary - Network Engineer

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €35k - €90k

Data Source(s):
Robert Walters / Hudson

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Network Engineer

As with programmers, the labour market indicators examined point to an occupation in high demand with strong employment growth and evidence that employers are having difficulties filling vacancies.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Network Engineer

  • Smart Futures
    • Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
    • Click Here
  • Engineers Ireland

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