Network Engineering is one of the most important careers in the world today. With the internet determining how the world does business and even keeps in touch and with the advent of newer websites every day the need for network engineers’ only increases. Whether you are a full-time employee, looking to earn a few extra bucks by the side, or you are a self-employed engineer, simply trying to get your business up and running, there is much scope in freelance network engineer. You can opt for freelance for many different reasons.
Extra income, work from home, be able to take on multiple tasks, independence; the list continues. Whatever your preferences, you can be assured that freelance network engineering is a career that will give you a comfortable life, and a low stress working environment like your home.
Freelance Network Engineer Job Duties
Your duties as a freelance network engineer will include taking care of the network, testing the server, maintaining network peace, fixing network hell. Let’s have a look at other duties so that your work doesn’t sound like you’re a digital mishmash of sorts. Some of the duties that will fall under your purview, as a freelance Network Engineer:
- Establishing networking environment by designing system configuration; directing system installation; defining, documenting, and enforcing system standards;
- The design and implementation of new solutions and improving the resilience of the current environment;
- Maximizing network performance by monitoring performance, troubleshooting network problems and outages, scheduling upgrades and collaborating with network architects on network optimization;
- Undertaking data network fault investigations in local and wide-area environments, using information from multiple sources;
- Securing the network system by establishing and enforcing policies, and defining and monitoring access;
- The support and administration of firewall environments in line with IT security policy;
- Updating job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities, reading professional publications, maintaining personal networks and participating in professional organizations;
- Reporting network operational status by gathering, prioritizing information and managing projects;
- Upgrading data network equipment to latest stable firmware releases;
- Configuration of routing and switching equipment;
- Configuration of hosted IP voice services;
- The basic configuration of firewalls;
- Remote support of on-site engineers and end users/customers during installation;
- Remote troubleshooting and fault finding if issues occur upon initial installation;
- Capacity management and audit of IP addressing and hosted devices within data centers;
- Liaising with project management team, 3rd line engineers and service desk engineers on a regular basis;
- Speaking with customers via email and phone for initial requirement capture.
While regular office hours are the norm, when you are working remotely, you may have to work long days and even some weekends close to project deadlines. Overnight and weekend stay may be required for network tests. Network engineers can be on call 24 hours a day.
Network Engineer Skills
To be a good network engineer, you must master certain skills. You should be able to determine, enforce, and even monitor the network. You will design and set up rules of engagement, but the job role will often demand more from you than an implementation and design process. You need to develop some of these skills to do well; some of them include:
- Mathematical skills
- Complex Problem Solving
- Critical Thinking
- Scientific Skills
- Decision Making
- Operations Research
- Operations Analysis
- Active Learning
- Able to work remotely
- Systems Analysis
- Quality control
- Deductive Reasoning
- Networking skills
- Understanding of Network models
- Equipment selection
- Social Perceptiveness
- Working with all materials
Many websites will help you develop the above-mentioned skills. However, you must remember that Network Engineering is a graduate-level course, often requiring four years of intensive study. Education Portal, The Network Engineer, Computer Training School, and Study2U offer many options to supplement your learning online, either in a course or self-training video formats.
Being Successful as a Freelance Network Engineer
More often than not, talent is not a determinant of success in any sphere. It is possibly truer for engineers, with the freelance market insisting that talent combined with the relevant experience attracts generous prospective employers. Hence, to be successful initially, you could:
- Offer to do projects for minimum fees, sometimes for free
- Bid the lowest for a project on freelancer portals
- Get good testimonials for guest blogs, recommendations for work
- Start a blog, backlink it to more visible blogs
- Create a website, or at the very least, a web page
- Advertise your services on social media platforms
- Understand the engineering requirement intimately
- Sharpen your communication skills, as it would help you get more jobs
- Master Engineering Basics
Network Engineer Salary
Most of the revenue generated by you will depend solely on your ability to market your services and your credibility with previous employees. Usually, freelance portals offer various kinds of payment models. In the fixed-price model, the price is usually pre-determined. The hourly model is the most popular and employers usually pay a predetermined sum per hour. Finally, in the project-budget based model, you often need to auction for such projects.
Usually, a fixed price model may range from $20- $200 and upwards, while you have to pitch for hourly projects, and budget payments, which usually range from $5- $35 an hour, with average payments at $22 per hour.
Many websites, forums, and portals offer hundreds of jobs to freelance network engineer like you. Elance, Odesk, Peopleperhour, and Guru offer many opportunities to freelance network engineers around the globe.
Many websites will help you develop the above-mentioned skills. However, you must remember that Network Engineering is a graduate-level course,(1) often requiring four years of intensive study. Education Portal, The Network Engineer, Computer Training School, and Study2U offer many options to supplement your learning online, either in a course or self-training video formats. (2)