Enterprise vs Service Provider

SettSett Member Posts: 187
Hello Guys,

I am relatively new at the field I am wondering about this:

Lets divide the Network Engineers in two groups:

The first ones are the Service provider dudes - as far as I know they have to deal mostly with BGP stuff, MPLS at the core network, IS-IS or OSPF between the nodes, and some SDH/DWDM transport technology. Also, knowledge in Unix administration is very useful, for maintaining DNS (at least).

On other hand, the guys that maintain enterprise networks for a big corporation - I guess they are interested mostly in security, so the technology they are using are IPSec, Firewalls, some IGP of course, maybe BGP but not in so much depth, more switching than ISP's, and looks like more Microsoft server platforms than Unix based ones.

So, lets talk money - I have noticed that in my country the ISP engineers are much worst paid that the network engineers with white collars - those in the business. How so? According to me the networking in ISPs is more complex, more challenging and more time taking.

Is this the same in your country? Anyway, I am much more interested in Telecommunication operators field, so I would prefer to work in such place even for worst payment, but I am curios is is the same and in the rest of the world?
Non-native English speaker


  • oo_snoopyoo_snoopy Member Posts: 124
    I've worked in both areas and the pay really is about the same for skilled engineers, however in the Enterprise world you are going to see more "manager/director" jobs which can have extremely high pay caps.

    I would also note that in the ISP world, I saw less engineering types holding those manager jobs while in the Enterprise world it was quite different.

    I would say put pay aside and do what you enjoy, they both make more enough for a comfortable lifestyle.
    I used to run the internet.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I don't know if I would consider your break down accurate enough to base a conversation on. But larger companies are slower to adopt changes and generally are more departmentalized which in turn means lower salaries.

    Just get a couple CCIEs and Microsoft certified Master cert and you'll be fine.
  • phantasmphantasm Member Posts: 995
    While I am unable to fully answer your question; I can attest to the fact that the ISP pays are paid a little less than the engineers. It all comes down experience and education.

    For example, I have an A.S. degree and a CCENT plus about 10 months of experience and I work as a Network Tech at a NOC for an ISP. I work on layer 2 all day dealing with Frame Relay, FRATM, MPLS, MetroE and a few other layer 2 encapsulations. My job keeps me busy and at the same time I enjoy it.

    Some day I plan on being a Network Engineer, it just takes time. The money will come.
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Your break down is pretty close to my experience, except the part about enterprises doing more switching and being more security conscience. I'm an engineer at an ISP and sometimes all I do is switching or security, it just depends on what needs work at the time or what new technologies we are deploying.

    As far as pay, a lot of things come into play there so I don't think you can make such a broad assumption as you have. Like others have said just go for what ever you want and the money will come.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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