How to Become a Microsoft Network Engineer: Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a Microsoft network engineer. Explore the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you'll need to advance your career in network engineering.

Should I Become a Microsoft Network Engineer?

A Microsoft network engineer is an IT professional who has earned Microsoft certification, like the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credentials. Common duties for network engineers include installing network systems, monitoring network performance and troubleshooting technical issues. Network engineers and administrators usually work full-time schedules, spending the majority of their working hours in an office setting, working with computers.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Computer science, information science or a related field
Certification Microsoft certification is often preferred or required
Key Skills Problem-solving expertise, interpersonal communication skills
Computer Skills Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, MSSQL Exchange and other Microsoft server applications
Salary $77,810 (2015 median salary for all network and computer systems administrators)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

A bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or a similar field is required by most employers. These programs focus on the theoretical and mathematical aspects of computer systems; common courses include computer programming languages, the theory of computing and computer architecture. Students can learn how to design and use operating systems, computer algorithms and programming languages.

Success Tip:

  • Complete an internship. Gaining real-world experience during a degree program can help students hone their skills and bolster their resumes. Some programs require internships, and many schools will help students locate relevant opportunities.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

An IT professional with a bachelor's degree may find entry-level work as a network engineer. Common duties for this position include developing and supporting internal and external networks. Network engineers also create and maintain network configurations for systems, applications and security. In addition, these professionals may provide technical support for non-IT personnel.

Step 3: Get Certified

In order to earn certification from Microsoft, completion of an exam or a set of exams is required. For example, the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 credential is awarded after passing three tests. Similarly, the MCSE: Server Infrastructure designation is received after successful completion of five exams.

Success Tip:

  • Know the material. Individuals can prepare for certification through Microsoft-approved classroom instruction or online training courses; however, preparation is optional. In addition, Microsoft publishes study guides for many of its exams.

Step 4: Maintain Certification

Some certifications must be renewed after a certain amount of time. For example, the MCSE credential is only valid for three years, and a recertification exam is required for renewal.

Step 5: Earn a Master's Degree

While not necessarily required, earning an advanced degree in an information technology field can lead to career advancement.

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