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Network Technician vs. Network Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A network technician and a network engineer are both responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of computer networks. However, their job duties, educational requirements and salary expectations differ. In this article, we compare and contrast the job duties, educational requirements and salary expectations of network technicians and network engineers.

What is a Network Technician?

A Network Technician is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of an organization’s computer network infrastructure. This includes ensuring that all network hardware and software is up-to-date and functioning properly. Network Technicians also install and configure new network equipment as needed. They troubleshoot network issues and work with other IT staff to resolve more complex problems. Network Technicians typically have an associate’s degree in computer science or a related field. They may also have certification from vendors such as Cisco or Microsoft.

What is a Network Engineer?

Network Engineers are responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of computer networks. They work with Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), Wireless Networks and other data communication systems. Network Engineers also troubleshoot network problems and provide technical support to users. They may also be responsible for managing network security and ensuring that the network meets all relevant regulatory compliance standards. Network Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or a related field. They may also have certification from a professional body such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Network Technician vs. Network Engineer

Here are the main differences between a network technician and a network engineer.

Job Duties

While both network engineers and network technicians have similar job duties, the technician has more basic tasks to complete. Network technicians often perform installation, maintenance and troubleshooting for computer networks. They may install new equipment, upgrade existing systems or repair broken components to keep a network running smoothly.

In contrast, network engineers have more advanced job duties. While they also perform installation, maintenance and troubleshooting, network engineers apply a greater level of analysis when diagnosing issues. They can assess an entire network system and determine where problems originate so they can recommend solutions for network technicians to implement. Additionally, network engineers can also design new network systems and plan upgrades to ensure companies are prepared for growth.

Job Requirements

Network technicians typically need an associate degree in computer science or a related field, although some jobs may only require a high school diploma. Network engineers usually need at least a bachelor’s degree, and many employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well. Both network technicians and engineers might also benefit from pursuing certifications through organizations like Cisco Systems or CompTIA. These certifications can show employers that professionals are up-to-date on the latest networking technologies.

Work Environment

Network technicians work in a variety of environments, depending on the type of company they work for. They may spend most of their time working in an office setting or at customer locations. Network engineers typically work in offices and laboratories where they can test new network technologies. Some also travel to customer sites to help with troubleshooting and installation.


Both network technicians and network engineers need to have excellent problem-solving skills. This is because they are often troubleshooting issues with networks, such as connectivity problems or slow speeds. They also both need to be able to follow complex instructions, as they may be working with detailed technical manuals or diagrams.

Network technicians typically need to have customer service skills when they are working with clients or customers who are experiencing issues with their networks. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of their team, as they may be working on projects together. Network engineers also need to be able to communicate well, but they may need to use more complex communication skills when they are developing reports or presenting their findings to upper management.

Network technicians need to have a basic understanding of networking concepts and how networks function. They also need to be familiar with the different types of networking hardware and software. Network engineers need to have a more in-depth understanding of networking concepts. They also need to be able to design and implement network solutions.


Network technicians can earn an average salary of $59,379 per year, while network engineers can earn an average salary of $91,254 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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