Interview

17 Network Operations Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a network operations engineer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

A network operations engineer is responsible for the smooth running of a company’s computer networks. This includes the maintenance of networks, the installation of new software and hardware, and the troubleshooting of any network-related problems.

If you’re looking to interview for a network operations engineer position, it’s important to be prepared for a range of questions. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a list of sample questions and answers that you can use to help you prepare for your interview.

Are you familiar with the various types of network topologies?

Network topologies are the configurations of network devices and how they connect to one another. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience with different types of networks and which ones work best for certain situations. In your answer, try to mention a few common network topologies and explain why each is beneficial.

Example: “I’ve worked in several different networking environments throughout my career, so I’m familiar with many different types of topologies. Ring, bus and star are three common topologies that I use regularly. Ring topology is useful because it’s easy to expand and reconfigure as needed. Bus topology is great for large-scale projects because all nodes can communicate with one another. Star topology is beneficial because it allows me to easily manage traffic flow.”

What are the primary functions of a firewall?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of network security. Your answer should include a list of the primary functions of a firewall and how they help protect a network from outside threats.

Example: “A firewall is a software or hardware device that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic on a network. It uses rules, filters and other methods to block unauthorized access while allowing authorized users to connect to resources on the network. Firewalls can be stateful or stateless, with stateful firewalls being more effective at monitoring and controlling network traffic. They also have three main functions—packet filtering, stateful inspection and proxy servers.”

How would you troubleshoot a problem with a server?

Troubleshooting is a key skill for network operations engineers. Employers ask this question to see if you have the necessary skills and experience to perform your job duties effectively. In your answer, explain how you would troubleshoot a problem with a server using your past experience.

Example: “I would first check the logs of the server to see what’s going on. If I can’t find anything in the logs, then I’ll reboot the server to see if that fixes the issue. If it doesn’t, then I will restart all other servers on the same subnet as the one having issues. If none of those steps work, then I will restart all the servers on the entire network. After doing these things, I will check the logs again to see if there are any new errors.”

What is the difference between a LAN and a WAN?

LAN and WAN are two networking terms that you may need to know when working as a network operations engineer. Your answer should show the interviewer that you understand the differences between these two types of networks and can apply this knowledge in your work.

Example: “A LAN is a local area network, which is a group of computers connected together within a single building or campus. A WAN is a wide area network, which connects multiple LANs over long distances using routers and modems. In my last role, I used both LAN and WAN connections to connect our company’s headquarters with satellite offices across the country.”

Provide an example of a network topology that is not recommended.

This question allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of network topologies and how they can affect the performance of a network. You can answer this question by providing an example of a network topology that is not recommended, along with why it’s not recommended.

Example: “One type of network topology that I would recommend avoiding is a ring topology. A ring topology uses one cable to connect all nodes in the network together. This means that if there is a break in the cable, the entire network will be disconnected from each other. Another disadvantage of using a ring topology is that it has no redundancy, meaning that if a node fails, the whole network will fail as well.”

If you were to design a new network from scratch, what would you do differently from the current model?

This question is a great way to assess your creativity and problem-solving skills. It also allows the interviewer to see how you would apply your knowledge of current network models to create something new. In your answer, try to highlight your ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions.

Example: “If I were designing a new network from scratch, I would start by eliminating all single points of failure. This means that I would design a system where there are no single routers or switches that can cause an entire network outage. I would also make sure that the network was scalable so it could grow as needed without requiring additional resources.”

What would you do if you noticed that a new update was available for the network you were responsible for?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you handle changes to your network and whether you have a plan for implementing updates. In your answer, describe what steps you would take to ensure that the update was implemented correctly.

Example: “If I noticed a new update was available for my network, I would first make sure all of my team members were aware of the change so they could prepare for it. Then, I would schedule time with my manager to implement the update during non-peak hours when there are fewer users on the network. Finally, I would work with my team to complete the update as quickly as possible.”

How well do you understand TCP/IP?

TCP/IP is a set of protocols that allow computers to communicate with each other over the internet. It’s an essential skill for network operations engineers, and your interviewer may ask you this question to see how well you understand it. In your answer, try to show that you have a strong understanding of TCP/IP by explaining what it is and how it works.

Example: “TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, and it’s a set of rules that govern how data travels between two points on the internet. When I’m working on a project, I always make sure to use TCP/IP because it allows me to send data quickly and efficiently. I also find that using TCP/IP makes my projects more secure because it prevents unauthorized access.”

Do you have experience using DHCP?

DHCP is a protocol that allows computers to communicate with each other on the network. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience using DHCP and how you use it. In your answer, try to explain what DHCP is and why you would use it in your work.

Example: “I do have some experience using DHCP. I find it useful for configuring IP addresses automatically for clients on my network. This saves me time because I don’t have to configure each computer’s IP address manually. When I’m working on a new project, I usually set up DHCP servers so I can assign static IPs to devices as needed.”

When is it appropriate to use a crossover cable?

This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of networking hardware and software. Use examples from your experience to show that you know when crossover cables are appropriate for use in a network.

Example: “Crossover cables are used to connect two devices directly to each other, such as connecting a computer to a router or switch. This is different than using a straight-through cable, which connects one device to another through a central hub. Crossover cables are typically only used when I need to configure a new router or switch because they allow me to access the configuration settings on the device.”

We want to make sure our network is secure. What is the primary method for preventing unauthorized access to network resources?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of network security. You can answer this question by describing the steps you would take to secure a network and how it would benefit the company.

Example: “The primary method for preventing unauthorized access to network resources is through the use of firewalls. Firewalls are software or hardware that prevent outsiders from accessing a network. I would implement firewalls at every level of the network, including the router, switch and server levels. This will help ensure that only authorized users have access to the network.”

Describe your process for troubleshooting a network problem that you’ve never encountered before.

This question is a great way to assess your problem-solving skills and how you apply them in the workplace. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you took to troubleshoot the issue and what tools or resources you used to solve the problem.

Example: “When I’m faced with an unfamiliar network problem, my first step is to gather as much information about the issue as possible. In my last role, I was tasked with diagnosing a server that had stopped responding to commands from the mainframe. After gathering all of the relevant information, including the time stamp when the server went offline, I began researching similar issues online.

I found several articles that described the same symptoms and provided solutions for resolving the issue. I implemented one of the solutions into my own process and was able to resolve the issue within 24 hours.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you would fit in with their company. Before your interview, make a list of reasons why you are the best candidate for the job. Think about what skills you have that match the job description and highlight any unique experiences or training you have that might be beneficial to the role.

Example: “I am an ideal candidate for this position because I have five years of experience as a network operations engineer. In my previous roles, I’ve gained valuable knowledge about networking protocols and security systems. I also have extensive experience working on projects remotely, which is something your company does regularly. My communication skills are excellent, so I think I could work well with other team members and clients.”

Which operating systems do you have experience using?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with operating systems. It can also show them which ones you prefer to use and why. When answering this question, list the operating systems you have used in the past and explain what made you choose those over others.

Example: “In my last role as a network operations engineer, I primarily worked with Windows Server 2012 R2. This was because it’s one of the most commonly used operating systems for networking purposes. However, I am also familiar with Linux-based operating systems like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.”

What do you think are the most important qualities for a network operations engineer to have?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a person and how your personality might fit in with their company culture. It can also give them insight into what skills you value most when it comes to being successful in this role. When answering, try to focus on soft skills that are important for any engineer, such as problem-solving, communication and attention to detail.

Example: “I think one of the most important qualities is patience. Network operations engineers often have to troubleshoot problems that may take hours or even days to solve. Patience helps us stay focused and not become overwhelmed by long projects. Another quality I think is important is flexibility. Networking environments change constantly, so we need to be able to adapt quickly to new situations. Finally, I think an ability to multitask is essential. There are many tasks involved in network operations, so we need to be able to manage several things at once.”

How often do you perform routine maintenance on your network?

Network maintenance is an important part of a network operations engineer’s job. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of regular maintenance and how often it should be performed. In your answer, explain that you perform routine maintenance on your network at least once per month. Explain why monthly maintenance is important for keeping a network running smoothly.

Example: “I believe in performing routine maintenance on my network at least once per month. Regular maintenance helps me identify any issues with the network before they become major problems. It also allows me to fix small issues before they turn into larger ones. I find that by doing routine maintenance regularly, I can keep my network running smoothly.”

There is a problem with the network that you don’t have experience with. How do you learn how to solve it?

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and how you learn new things. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention that you have experience with researching problems online or asking other engineers for help.

Example: “I would first try to find out what the issue was by searching online. If I couldn’t find an answer there, I would ask my manager or another engineer who has more experience than me about the issue. They could tell me if they have experienced something similar before and how they solved it.”

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