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As enterprises pursue hybrid and multi-cloud models, networking skills are in high demand. It takes an experienced staff to connect multiple IT environments, and this is where a cloud network engineer steps in.
But before you send in a resume or sit down for an interview, be sure to do your homework and carefully evaluate each prospective cloud network engineer job. Here's a closer look at the position, as well as the education and experience you need.
Generally, a cloud network engineer reports to senior IT staff or a business liaison -- such as director of cloud operations -- and is responsible for the implementation, configuration, maintenance and support of a cloud network, as well as various other cloud services. Duties often include:
- Administration: Upgrade, patch and maintain the overall network infrastructure upon which the private or hybrid cloud operates;
- Monitoring: Monitor the utilization, performance and availability of the cloud network infrastructure and its services;
- Documentation: Work with engineers, architects and IT support teams to establish guides, procedures, training and other documentation to sustain the cloud network and its services;
- Security: Support the architecture, design, implementation and compliance/auditing efforts related to the security technologies deployed within the cloud network; and
- Integration: When required, perform network integration work to support hybrid or multi-cloud models, such as connecting a private cloud with AWS or Google Cloud Platform.
A qualified cloud network engineer should hold a mix of formal education and industry certifications. A traditional bachelor's degree in computer science or IT is the foundation for any network engineer role. Postgraduate degrees are helpful but are typically not required.
Prospective employers focus on a variety of industry-recognized certifications. Cloud network engineers frequently possess popular networking certifications with an emphasis on cloud -- as well as security --such as:
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
- Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
Finally, employers might also seek a cloud network engineer with certified expertise in industry standards that are relevant to the business, such as:
Cloud network engineer is not an entry-level role, so employers seek candidates with demonstrated experience and expertise in asset deployment, management and troubleshooting. As with many networking professions, the role demands a strong background in data center system administration, including experience with audit logging, incident management, virtualization and Simple Network Management Protocol. Candidates often show more than five years as a Windows Server -- or other major OS -- administrator.
However, the real emphasis in experience comes from time spent on the networking side. Prospective employers will seek a cloud network engineer with at least three years of experience implementing, configuring and supporting complex network infrastructures. Network experience typically includes extensive work connecting and directing traffic between LANs and WANs.
In addition, expect to demonstrate knowledge of WAN circuits, internet connectivity and router protocols, such as:
- Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP)
- Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP)
- Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
- Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)
Security is a critical aspect of any network, and clouds are no exception. Cloud network engineer applicants will also need to demonstrate expertise in network security architecture, protocols and practices. These can include virtual private network technologies, as well as network authentication and authorization, firewall topologies, data encryption and intrusion detection and prevention system management.
Finally, a prospective cloud network engineer should be familiar with how to deploy and manage cloud services and integration. Integration will often include knowledge of public cloud APIs and protocols, which enable a hybrid cloud model.