Network engineer?? Watch

Student1191
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I’ve decided that after college I’d like to pursue a career in network engineering. My main question really is that should I go the apprenticeship route or degree route? Would a degree even be beneficial or is computer science mainly for software engineering?
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winterscoming
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A plain Computer Science degree doesn't usually cover very much in the way of networking (typically one or two modules at most), although there are specialised degrees for Networking and Security which would be better since those tend to cover a lot more relevant skills around networking.

If you decide to take the degree route, I'd strongly recommend looking at universities who are partnered with Cisco and who offer the opportunity to take CCNA and CCNP certification as part of the degree programme. There's a complete list of Cisco Academy partner universities here:
https://www.netacad.com/web/uk/education/

Also, if the university offers either Azure or AWS cloud certification as part of the degree then that's really useful because cloud technologies are often tied up closely with network engineering.
Another important consideration when choosing university for a networking course is to check the industry connections of the university and look out for those which offer a 12-month industrial placment, because the experience you'd gain from that is really valuable after graduating


A higher apprenticeship would certainly be a good route if you can find one related to networking; Networking careers are dependent on having skills and experience so most people on those apprenticeships tend to be very successful - the main drawback is that they're very competitive to get into with the number of available placements being far lower than the number of students applying to them.
Cisco/CompTIA/Microsoft certification are all really valuable too so if you take this route, then ideally look for an apprenticeship which includes certification as well. (Either from the employer or from the apprenticeship provider)
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Student1191
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(Original post by winterscoming)
A plain Computer Science degree doesn't usually cover very much in the way of networking (typically one or two modules at most), although there are specialised degrees for Networking and Security which would be better since those tend to cover a lot more relevant skills around networking.

If you decide to take the degree route, I'd strongly recommend looking at universities who are partnered with Cisco and who offer the opportunity to take CCNA and CCNP certification as part of the degree programme. There's a complete list of Cisco Academy partner universities here:
https://www.netacad.com/web/uk/education/

Also, if the university offers either Azure or AWS cloud certification as part of the degree then that's really useful because cloud technologies are often tied up closely with network engineering.
Another important consideration when choosing university for a networking course is to check the industry connections of the university and look out for those which offer a 12-month industrial placment, because the experience you'd gain from that is really valuable after graduating


A higher apprenticeship would certainly be a good route if you can find one related to networking; Networking careers are dependent on having skills and experience so most people on those apprenticeships tend to be very successful - the main drawback is that they're very competitive to get into with the number of available placements being far lower than the number of students applying to them.
Cisco/CompTIA/Microsoft certification are all really valuable too so if you take this route, then ideally look for an apprenticeship which includes certification as well. (Either from the employer or from the apprenticeship provider)
Thanks. I’ll definitely go for one that offers certification and good qualifications. From research I find that most higher apprenticeships pay higher than the apprenticeship minimum wage which is decent but I’d very likely have to travel far for any apprenticeship. Would I earn enough to rent a room or something??? My plan would be to travel back to family on weekends
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winterscoming
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(Original post by Student1191)
Thanks. I’ll definitely go for one that offers certification and good qualifications. From research I find that most higher apprenticeships pay higher than the apprenticeship minimum wage which is decent but I’d very likely have to travel far for any apprenticeship. Would I earn enough to rent a room or something??? My plan would be to travel back to family on weekends
Relocating from another part of the country is pretty normal really. Higher apprenticeships are nearly always a reasonable livable wage because they're skilled jobs so employers are interested in finding (and keeping) the best people. The best thing to do is start applying to the apprenticeship schemes and find out about the salary, as well as information about the local area (good/bad areas to live, transport routes, etc.). If you're offered the job then hopefully the employer would be able to offer some advice or maybe some of their previous apprentices or graduates would have some ideas if they'd been in the same situation.

Obviously the actual salary varies, but the average for higher IT apprenticeships in areas like Manchester, Leeds, Southampton or Bristol seems to be around £16k-£18k per year, which is just fine for a rented room in those cities, and for other living costs like food, travel, clothes, etc. (Most of the time it would increase each year too).

Depending which part of the country you're in it's usually possible to rent a room for around £400 per month with all the main bills included like council tax and gas/electricity. (pretty much everywhere in the UK aside from London and the South East anyway). Have a look at SpareRoom.co.uk or EasyRoommate.co.uk - I lived in rented rooms from easyroommate for a couple of years and most of the people I lived with were generally OK.
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Student1191
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Thanks so much
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AdamApple
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(Original post by Student1191)
I’ve decided that after college I’d like to pursue a career in network engineering. My main question really is that should I go the apprenticeship route or degree route? Would a degree even be beneficial or is computer science mainly for software engineering?
Hi,

One of the best decisions I ever made was experience university life and I decided to study Digital Media Technology at Birmingham City University. Especially moving to live in halls in a new city has been such a great experience for me and I definitely recommend it. From what I know BCU offers a wide range of computing courses so from my experience I'd say BCU is a great option for you to consider.
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Student1191
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(Original post by AdamApple)
Hi,

One of the best decisions I ever made was experience university life and I decided to study Digital Media Technology at Birmingham City University. Especially moving to live in halls in a new city has been such a great experience for me and I definitely recommend it. From what I know BCU offers a wide range of computing courses so from my experience I'd say BCU is a great option for you to consider.
Ngl BCU networking degrees do look good and I like how they’re more hands on which would be great for employment. They state that there’s the opportunity to earn extra quals from the likes of Microsoft and Cisco which is great!

We’re BCU helpful in finding you employment and other opportunities to enrich you’re employability and would you recommend a year in industry?
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AdamApple
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(Original post by Student1191)
Ngl BCU networking degrees do look good and I like how they’re more hands on which would be great for employment. They state that there’s the opportunity to earn extra quals from the likes of Microsoft and Cisco which is great!

We’re BCU helpful in finding you employment and other opportunities to enrich you’re employability and would you recommend a year in industry?
There is a dedicated careers team to help people find employment and placement opportunities to help find employment. They helped me get a placement doing web development work. They also have great industry connections.
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