Life as a network engineer vs. a NOC technician

Cat5Cat5 Posts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
As a long-standing CCNA "technician-level" IT guy, I know that if/when I get my CCNP I'll definitely be looking for a network engineer position. I must admit that one of my main motivations is income, as I'm the only bread-winner in my family and we just aren't making ends meet on $40k/yr. With five years of networking experience already, I would hope to start out as a network engineer at $60k/yr. at least if not more. I wouldn't think that a company would get someone with my qualifications for less (assuming I had an NP in pocket).

For those who have had both NA and NP-level jobs, can you give an example of the difference in the daily duties? I guess it's just a matter of doing more involved tasks. I know the engineers are also mostly on-call and salaried, whereas the technicians and support roles are hourly.

Comments

  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    With 5 years of networking experience, I would say you should be at engineer level regardless of certification. With your experience, the CCNP is a great next-step for you but I'd also look into a different job if you're not getting to be an engineer at your current company. $40K with 5 years of experience? If you're good at your work and have a great work ethic, you should be making at LEAST double that. If you don't mind me asking, where are you located?

    As far as network engineer job duties, that can depend on the job. Some of us do project work while others do high-level support and trouble tickets all day long. This other thread has a few of us (myself included) detailing our work schedule and duties:
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/off-topic/97029-what-your-daily-work-schedule-alike.html#post817962
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
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  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    It really depends a lot on the company, but usually it's being involved in the day to day upkeep vs the planning and design of the network. In the simplest terms what the engineers make the techs keep running. On call and stuff like that will depend on the company.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    With 5 years of networking experience, I would say you should be at engineer level regardless of certification. With your experience, the CCNP is a great next-step for you but I'd also look into a different job if you're not getting to be an engineer at your current company. $40K with 5 years of experience? If you're good at your work and have a great work ethic, you should be making at LEAST double that. If you don't mind me asking, where are you located?

    Yeah, I'm puzzled by it as well. I'm in the metro Orlando area. Maybe my resume sucks or something because I've been applying for better jobs here for the last year and almost no one has called me (and fewer request an interview). I don't know if the economy here is depressed or what. Virtually all the jobs I see on the job boards are overrun by the temp agencies with contract, lower-paying positions, so I'd be giving a slice of my income to a temp agency forever, or at least until I went perm, which on most of the jobs is in six months or a year. Many of the positions on the job boards have no promise-to-hire. And finding the company websites with the perm positions is like "finding Waldo." I'd just settle for something $50/yr with benefits. I haven't had benefits in a couple of years.

    Anyway, I'm back to studying for the NP Switch. My goal is to have all three tests passed by the end of the year.
  • kohr-ahkohr-ah Posts: 1,277Member
    Just keep trying. Post your resume on the job thread and have people review it.

    I have been on both ends of the network side so far that Iris was speaking of. I have done troubleshooting and I've done design. I'd love to do both which is what I am shooting for. It also depends on what kind of company you work for.

    MSP you will get this client is having this issues. You call and trouble shoot and get them back online. A lot of exposure to a ton of technology.
    ISP site you are controlling the internet man! Changes you make can affect Millions of people!
    I've also been the sole engineer at a site. Less technology but a great way to learn. Was on call 24/7/265 though for 3 years which sucked icon_sad.gif
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Posts: 1,104Member
    Cat5 wrote: »
    As a long-standing CCNA "technician-level" IT guy, I know that if/when I get my CCNP I'll definitely be looking for a network engineer position. I must admit that one of my main motivations is income, as I'm the only bread-winner in my family and we just aren't making ends meet on $40k/yr. With five years of networking experience already, I would hope to start out as a network engineer at $60k/yr. at least if not more. I wouldn't think that a company would get someone with my qualifications for less (assuming I had an NP in pocket).

    For those who have had both NA and NP-level jobs, can you give an example of the difference in the daily duties? I guess it's just a matter of doing more involved tasks. I know the engineers are also mostly on-call and salaried, whereas the technicians and support roles are hourly.

    After 5yrs you aren't making more than $40k? I suspect you aren't gaining much from your position or are not taking advantage of opportunities. You are more likely to get a network engineer position based on "5yrs experience" versus CCNP (Sure both together are better) but something doesn't add up.

    I'd be interested to see what this "5yrs" experience really means. Post your resume at least..lets take a look.

    As far as what network engineers do, who is to say? Tons are lazy hacks that do nothing while the elite engineers are actively monitoring their environment, making design plans/changes, getting projects put together to be implemented etc.
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • darkerzdarkerz Posts: 431Member
    I'm currently working "In a NOC" but my team & I are doing Design, Implementation, Break/Fix and QA / Documentation / Process Flows / etc.

    It's cool to mingle with all 4 tiers from the Operators to Site Services to Sys Admins. We also leave the TV on.

    It's pretty 'dice. Depends on each circumstance - I've known Sr. Engineers who were Networking demigods who worked in cramped rooms with 6 other guys, sitting on boxes.
    :twisted:
  • BinaryheroBinaryhero Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    darkerz wrote: »
    We also leave the TV on.

    How is that relevant to anything at all? :D
  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    kohr-ah wrote: »
    Just keep trying. Post your resume on the job thread and have people review it.

    Post it where? In "IT/Jobs/Degrees"? I thought that forum was just for conversations?
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    It is for conversations. Kohr-ah meant to have people give you advice for improvements on your resume.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    So that's the forum to post the resume in?
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Yes if you want people to critique it. Not if you are looking for a job from it.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I just posted my resume in the IT/Jobs/Degrees forum. Thanks for any feedback.
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Posts: 1,195Member
    With 5 years of experience I would image you should almost at a minimum be making double what you make now. I am not too familiar with the job market in your area / compensation wages but I would suppose you should actually be paid at a higher market value than I do here in Texas. I for example am coming into my 2nd year of true network experience (only been Cisco certified with a CCNA 2 years) and I make well beyond $40k/year. There is defiantly better stuff out there for sure. If there is no opportunity to make a move up in your present company I would have been looking for something new 3 years ago.

    Good luck to ya.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • chrisonechrisone CISSP, eCPPT, CCNP RS, CCDP, CCNA SEC, LFCS Posts: 1,818Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hurts not to have the paper. Many employers want to see the certs along with the experience. Experience is great but if you work at a place that doesn't push the envelope when it comes to technology and your daily tasks are just switch ports and RIPv2 , that type of experience isnt going to work that well.
    2019 Goals:
    Courses: Real World Red Team Attacks- AppSec Cali 2019 (complete), Active Directory Attacks for Red and Blue Teams Advanced Edition - BlackHat,
    Certs: SLAE, Certified Red Team Professional - Pentester Academy (in progress), Certified Red Team Expert - Pentester Academy
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Posts: 1,195Member
    chrisone wrote: »
    Hurts not to have the paper. Many employers want to see the certs along with the experience. Experience is great but if you work at a place that doesn't push the envelope when it comes to technology and your daily tasks are just switch ports and RIPv2 , that type of experience isnt going to work that well.


    Very good points here.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    So, a few years down the road from my original post in this thread, I figured out why I was making so little. It wasn't because I didn't have a CCNP; it was because the company I was working at (Centurylink) pays so little. They have people doing network engineer duties, but label them "operations technicians" in order to justify a lower salary. I eventually moved on to Frontier Communications (which pays well, but is run by incompetant amateurs at the upper levels) and a network engineer position. And I'm finding out now more than ever that NOT having a CCNP is hurting me when I try and find something else of similar salary. I've had coworkers with CCNPs move upward and onward to better jobs while I barely get a nibble with my resume with just my CCNA. So - I begin my NP studies in earnest today.
  • IsmaeljrpIsmaeljrp Posts: 480Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Definitely get the CCNP then it should help a lot. Also if you don't have one already, having a polished Linkedin profile helps a lot. Do you have a degree?

    I find that a lot of companies put a lot of value on degrees, so not having one would trim down your chances. I'm not completely done with my degree but it's in progress and I put it as so in my resume, and I find that helps to get through filters and my resume into Hiring Manager's hands.
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Posts: 1,699Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    It is nice to see some posts updated a few years later. I recently started studying again after a couple years break. It takes a while to get back into it. Just make sure you form a daily habit.

    Good Luck!
    Jon
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Posts: 0Unregistered / Not Logged In ■□□□□□□□□□
    I thought the original post back in 2014 was to get your CCNP?? What happened its 2018 and you are starting now? Better late then never I guess but don't waste any more time my friend its only hurting your pockets ;).
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