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How Do I Become a Network Consultant?

By Gabriele Sturmer
Updated May 17, 2024
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A network consultant provides technical advice to organizations and focuses on the company's computer network infrastructure. He or she designs, configures, maintains and secures the company's local area networks and wide area networks and also may work with physical hardware, software and databases. Network consultants typically have many years of experience in networking and hold related degrees and certifications, and they may sometimes specialize in a specific area of networking. To become a network consultant, you will need a technical bachelor's or master's degree, networking certifications and extensive experience in network design, implementation and management.

To become a network consultant, a bachelor's degree in a related area is usually the minimum requirement for formal education. A degree in computer information systems, computer engineering, telecommunications, network security, management information systems or information technology should provide a solid foundation for learning about network technologies. Some positions prefer that you have a master's degree, especially if you have less experience in the field. The degree you choose should concentrate on the area of networking that most interests you, such as network design, network administration or network security. Overall, the degree should offer networking courses that range from introductory to advanced, and it also should give you knowledge in databases, web development, programming, computer architecture and operating systems.

Certifications are another common requirement to become a network consultant and focus on different network technologies, security procedures and system administration. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA®) certification is a common certification for network consulting jobs and focuses on network installation, administration and security. Employers also often require Microsoft® certifications that focus on system engineering, network administration and server operating systems management. If you plan to become a network security consultant, then you should consider obtaining security certifications that can be general or specific to a vendor.

A network consultant needs to have extensive work experience in networking, excellent communication skills, good customer service skills and a drive to continue learning throughout his or her career. Excellent problem-solving skills are critical for troubleshooting and designing networks for companies. Five years of experience is a common minimum requirement to become a network consultant, and employers may ask for proof of past projects on which you worked and for professional references. As networking technologies change, you will need to continue expanding your skill set by obtaining more advanced certifications, taking courses at a university or attending conferences for information technology professionals.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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