Skip to content Skip to Live Chat
Close Nav

Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

Senior Network Engineer Career

How to Become a Senior Network Engineer

Do you have a passion for technology? Do you enjoy the challenge of problem-solving, crafting creative solutions, and leading teams to success? If so, then becoming a senior network engineer might be your perfect career path.

Network engineers, also known as network architects, are vital to the digital ecosystem. They play integral roles in connecting systems and driving technological advancement. As greatly experienced professionals, senior network designers use their knowledge to ensure that operations are performed at the highest level. Senior network engineers regularly troubleshoot issues and provide solutions, with the goal of reducing downtime all while anticipating changes needed for improved efficiency. As a senior network engineer, you'll be expected to use your technical skills and leadership abilities to design networking systems and optimize performance. You'll also become an expert in security protocols while providing strategic advice and direction to other team members.

What Is a Senior Network Engineer?

A senior network engineer is an IT professional who works with computer systems and networks to ensure that all network operations run smoothly. This includes designing, analyzing, evaluating, configuring, troubleshooting, and implementing network solutions. Senior network engineers have extensive knowledge of coding languages, protocols, hardware components, and IP-based networking technologies. They also actively stay up to date on security measures to protect the networks they manage. In addition to technical skills, successful senior network engineers demonstrate strong problem-solving strategies, excellent communication skills, and a willingness to collaborate with and lead junior engineers.

What Does a Senior Network Engineer Do?

male DevOps engineer

A senior network engineer's day-to-day duties include the following:

  • Building and maintaining the network infrastructure.
  • Collaborating with network architects to design and implement functional company networks.
  • Installing and configuring networking hardware. 
  • Creating and implementing network security measures. 
  • Conducting regular network performance tests. 
  • Delegating networking maintenance tasks.
  • Dealing with escalated network support issues. 
  • Drawing up network status reports.
  • Working on troubleshooting any technical problems that arise.
  • Ensuring that their software and hardware are always up to date.
  • Maintaining security measures to defend from outside threats or malicious attacks.
  • Managing and mentoring junior network engineering staff.
  • Abiding by industry standards and regulations.

How Do I Become a Senior Network Engineer?

Becoming a senior network engineer is both an exciting and rewarding opportunity. To start, a computer science or network engineering bachelor’s degree will give you a solid foundation regarding networks and their infrastructure. Upon graduation, entry-level roles are ideal for gaining experience in the basics of network engineering. Once these skills have been established, gradually moving into more complex positions will help you reach the status of senior network engineer. Progression typically follows this order: junior network engineer to senior network engineer to team lead or manager. While experience is important in climbing the ranks, certification may help shorten the timeline. Having certifications related to network engineering, such as Cisco CCNA, Cisco CCNP, or CompTIA Network+, provide expertise in overseeing an entire department or division's networking operations. The path to becoming a senior network engineer takes time and dedication. Still, this professional milestone is achievable with the proper knowledge and attitude.

Best Degrees for a Senior Network Engineer

Computer Science – B.S.

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task: ...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:

Lay the groundwork for the computing breakthroughs that will enable tomorrow's technologies. 

  • Time: 67% of graduates in similar programs finish within 30 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Transfer: Your previous college coursework and existing certifications may waive course requirements, helping you finish even faster.

You'll have the opportunity to earn these certifications:

  • Linux Essentials
  • Axelos ITIL Foundation

Professionals who need the skills a computer science degree provides include computer systems analysts, computer programmers, artificial intelligence specialists, software engineers, machine learning engineers, and more.

Network Engineering and Security – B.S.

For network engineering and security professionals looking for a...

For network engineering and security...

For network engineering and security professionals looking for a Cisco or vendor-agnostic experience.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 39 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,735 per 6-month term.

Two focus areas: Students can choose between a Cisco or general program, allowing them to learn and gain experience in their chosen specialty.

Certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Project+, CompTIA Cloud+, ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification, LPI Linux Foundations

The Cisco program also includes: Cisco CyberOps, Cisco DevNet, Cisco CyberOps

The general program also includes: CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (Stacked), CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist (Stacked), CompTIA Cloud Admin Professional (Stacked), CompTIA Secure Cloud Professional (Stacked)

This program will help you develop strong skills in network design, network operations, and security management.

Next Start Date

Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!

Apply Today

Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!


Learn about online college admissions at WGU.

What Skills Does a Senior Network Engineer Need?

Cryptographer coding

A senior network engineer requires a broad range of technical and communication skills, most notably:

  • Understanding of both local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs).
  • Advanced knowledge of network operating systems, including Cisco, JUNOS, and iOS.
  • Knowledge and understanding of scripting languages such as Verilog or GraphQL.
  • Knowledge and understanding of key networking hardware, including CPUs, wiring, and routers.
  • Knowledge of communication and routing protocols used within businesses.
  • Familiarity with network analysis tools, such as SolarWind.
  • Ability to identify, diagnose, and solve networking problems.
  • Proficiency with various coding languages. 
  • Strong leadership and team mentoring skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Communication skills.

How Much Does a Senior Network Engineer Make?


Network engineers typically earn an annual salary of $126,900, with the bottom 10% of the field making $73,490 and the top 10% making $185,170 or more, depending on the region and size of the company they work for. Most employers offer health benefits, paid holidays and vacation days, flexible hours, and other additional perks in addition to their base salary.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Because the field is expected to grow by 4% between 2021 and 2031, the outlook for network engineers is excellent. With recent advances in technology, almost all industries need to have secure, reliable networks. Network engineers are responsible for the design, installation, maintenance, and security of these essential systems. This makes them an invaluable asset to any organization.

Where Does a Senior Network Engineer Work?


Network engineers often work in a corporate or academic setting, though there are opportunities for freelance and remote positions. Currently, the largest employers of network engineers are computer systems design and telecommunications organizations.

Interested in Becoming a Senior Network Engineer?

A degree in network engineering gives individuals an edge when competing for any IT job. WGU offers flexible, online courses and a competency-based education model so you can complete assignments at any time, even potentially graduating early by showing what you know. To help you increase your earning potential, job security, and opportunities for advancement, our Bachelor of Science in Network Engineering and Security degree was designed with input from our Information Technology Program Council and other networking expert practitioners. This degree offers two focus areas: the general program, ideal for those who do not want to specialize in a specific vendor's technologies, and the Cisco program, which covers the same content as the general program but also offers CCNA, CyberOps, and DevNet Associates certifications.

Senior network engineers are an important part of keeping our digital world running smoothly. As technology advances, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to have skilled network engineers on staff.