Written on: 2 September 2021
Written by: Frances Hardcastle
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For Network Engineers, the introduction of cloud technologies and more widespread remote working has led to fresh networking challenges and the evolution of new network security threats. Investing in additional training and professional development is an effective way to step up to these challenges and enhance your network performance – but which professional development options are best for you and your business?
In this blog, we’ll guide you through different professional development pathways for Network Engineers, helping you to choose a training plan that works for you.
For anyone working in IT, professional development is an ongoing process. As organisations evolve and technologies advance, IT professionals constantly face new challenges and respond to fresh opportunities. Ongoing training and development are essential aspects of an effective Network Engineer’s job role.
Professional development can be formal or informal, encompassing anything that will improve performance in the workplace – covering everything from working on communication skills to gaining an industry-recognised qualification.
Whether you’ve been a network administrator for years or are still quite new to the industry, there’ll be a professional development option to suit you.
Training for Network Engineers can take many different forms, from work-based training and development programmes to exam-based certifications in a specific skill or technology.
When thinking about your options, you’ll need to consider a few questions:
For those looking to demonstrate their skillset or become an accredited user of a particular operating system, exam-based professional certifications such as CompTIA Network+ or Cisco Certified Network Associate are good options.
Certifications like these are widely recognised within the IT industry and can be used as shorthand on your CV to symbolise a certain level of skill. To achieve a certification, you usually need pass an exam, which can be costly.
Another professional development option is an apprenticeship programme. Apprenticeships are not just for training entry-level employees. They are a tried and tested method for developing IT professionals at all levels.
The Level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship offers a complete training and development plan over 18-21 months, combining technical training with work-based projects. For those just getting started in the industry, there is also a Level 3 Network Technician programme.
An apprenticeship leads to an industry-recognised qualification, and follows standards developed by key industry leaders, including IBM, BT, Cisco, HP, Microsoft and BCS.
There are many benefits of apprenticeship training for Network Engineers, including our top five advantages:
A Level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship is a comprehensive professional development qualification which can be customised to suit individual roles, goals, and business needs.
At Baltic Apprenticeships, our Network Engineer curriculum covers everything a Network Engineer needs to know, including cabled networks, network security, and your choice of cloud platform (AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform).
It doesn’t have to be an either/or choice between a professional development apprenticeship and network certifications. Often, the technical training for a Network Engineer apprenticeship can help you prepare for certifications too.
At Baltic, our core modules for the Network Engineer programme are based around the CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ syllabus, so that you’ll be in a great position to take the exams later down the line.
Apprentices do not have to pay for their training, and for employers it is an extremely cost-effective option compared with other training methods. For small businesses, the government will contribute 95% towards the cost of training, leaving only 5% for employers to fund. For larger organisations with an annual salary bill of over £3m, training costs are pre-paid through your Apprenticeship Levy fund.
Unlike other training methods, a Network Engineer apprenticeship puts theory into practice through work-based projects. These projects allow learners to practice their new skills and channel their knowledge into immediate business outcomes.
An apprenticeship is a structured training and development programme that is woven into the fabric of a learner’s job role. Throughout the 18-21 month programme, learners with Baltic Apprenticeships receive one-to-one guidance and support to achieve their goals and make an impact at work.
After completing the core technical training modules, our Network Engineer apprenticeship goes above and beyond the Apprenticeship Standard, offering extra training in advanced cloud networks or network security – laying the foundations for specialisation and further career development.