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Network Consultant Duties and Responsibilities

Network consultants find jobs with companies and businesses that have extensive computer networks, as well as security firms and computer-based businesses that provide services to other companies. In any company, network consultants are required to fulfill the following core duties:

Create and Maintain Online Domains Network consultants create Internet domains and keep them functioning, adding extra servers and software as needed to manage the flow of online traffic.

Test Network Protocols and Applications Network consultants test all protocols and applications used by computers linked to the server to ensure smooth functionality and data security.

Resolve Individual Problems Network consultants resolve individual PC and user software problems, and train staff using system servers on basic computer functions and security protocols.

Create Backup Programs Network consultants write programs to backup and restore server data to protect it from loss, viruses, and other problems.

Test Data Flow Network consultants test the data flow between routers and modems to ensure that there is no lag on systems and strong communication between computers and the server network.

Write Scripts Network consultants, well versed in multiple computer languages, write scripts in Java, Python, and Perk, as well as other programming languages.

Install and Upgrade Software Network consultants keep computer systems current by installing new software and upgrading existing software when it becomes available.


Network Consultant Skills and Qualifications

Network consultants work with computer systems and programming languages; they also know how to work with people as well as digital data. Companies and employers require network consultants to have these specific skills to ensure they can perform all aspects of this job:
  • Troubleshooting - network consultants find and solve problems with individual computers, network servers, and individual computer users
  • Communication - to relay complex information, informing the staff on security protocols, new software updates, and other aspects of using computers
  • Analytical skills - the ability to think critically and analyze information is a strong component of every network consultant's job
  • Management - network consultants frequently manage network analysts and other computer security experts, so employers look for candidates who have leadership abilities and/or management experience
  • Physical ability - sometimes, network consultants must carry and move computers and electronic equipment; people looking to pursue this career must have the physical ability to lift up to 50 pounds without strain

Network Consultant Education and Training

Network consultants must have a bachelor's degree in computer programming or a related field. Some companies also require their network consultants to have, or to be willing to obtain, CCNA and/or MCSA certification. The CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate certification) is obtained by passing an exam administered through Cisco. The MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) is administered by Microsoft. It also requires candidates to pass a test to prove their ability to work with Microsoft systems and programming languages. Network consultants do not typically receive a training period when starting with a new company, though they may spend a few days becoming familiar with the company's computer systems and regular staff.

Network Consultant Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that information security analysts, who perform many of the same job functions as network consultants, earned a median income of $92,600 in 2016, $44.50 hourly. There were 100,000 jobs available for information security analysts in 2016, a number that is expected to increase by 28 percent through 2026. This is much higher than the national job growth average. PayScale data shows that network consultants earn a median salary of $71,156 annually. Network consultants usually receive health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits as a standard part of the job. After spending at least one year on the job, network consultants also receive paid vacation and sick leave. Larger companies may offer other benefits that include profit-sharing bonuses and education reimbursement.

Helpful Resources

Discover professional associations, career opportunities, and tips for network consultants with these resources:

The Society of Professional Consultants - Professional consultants of all kinds will find various resources for networking opportunities to meet other professionals and find employment opportunities through the SPC website.

Network Architecture & Design "A Field Guide for IT Professionals" - This book is written for network consultants and other computer systems experts who want to better understand LAN and WAN, client operating systems, network monitoring, security protocols, and other aspects of the day-to-day duties and challenges that network consultants face.

PASS - PASS is a free association for all professionals who work with Microsoft technologies and want to discover career opportunities, find events, and discover ways to further their computer systems education.

Network Consultants Handbook (Cisco Press Networking Technology) - All network consultants can use this handbook to learn how to evaluate data and analyze computer networks. The text also contains network diagramming tips and real-world case studies to help network consultants better understand how to analyze data, troubleshoot problems, and perform their daily functions.

International Association of Professional Security Consultants - Network consultants and other security professionals visit the IAPSC website to find news bulletins and other information to keep them up-to-date on security events and common computer issues.

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