Network Engineering is a very exciting field to be a part of. I can honestly say that I love my job. If you love technology and can appreciate daily challenges and projects then this could be the perfect job for you. Some daily responsibilities include troubleshooting current issues and/or investigating past issues. Issues can range anywhere from a simple port configuration for a new PC install to routing changes/updates required for new sites or subnets. There is always something to work on. Whether it be designing, upgrading or maintaining the networks you work on. I talk to a lot of people about my career and they almost always ask me how I got started. My story is like many other Network Engineers. I was introduced to this career field courtesy of the US Air Force. I learned the fundamentals and theory behind IP Addressing and Networking. It was from there that I decided this would be my career path.
My recommendation on where to start learning on your own would be to utilize a virtual lab tool such as Cisco’s Packet Tracer or VIRL (Virtual Internet Routing Lab). From there I would pick up some books such as the Cisco Press CCENT book. You should also look into purchasing a plan from an online video training vendor. There are so many great resources online to learn specific topics that tend to cause confusion or issues for entry-level Network folks. Some great focus areas tend to be subnetting IPv4 addresses, the OSI and TCP/IP models as well as understanding the differences between a router, layer 3 switch, layer 2 switch and hub. One of my favorite outlets is to connect with fellow-minded IT people online.
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