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Network Engineer Interview Questions

network engineer interview questions

When interviewing for a position as a Network Engineer, you’ll need to be able to answer a range of questions about both you as a person, and the job itself, along with your qualifications and what you can bring to the table.

But first, what exactly is a Network Engineer?

How do I know that the position will be the right one for me? I’ve compiled some Network Engineer interview questions along with some basic answers. Plus, information on what the roles might entail to boost your confidence in your upcoming interview. 

So, let’s get started!

What Is A Network Engineer’s Role?

A Network Engineer is a technical professional who is responsible for designing, creating, implementing, maintaining, and developing computer networks. You should be able to create your networks to run fast and smoothly. As well as ensuring it has a great connection for all types of data, video, and voice communications.

You should be highly skilled in creating high-level network infrastructures. Have confidence in your abilities for solving problems that may arise in the network you have created and designed. Along with implementing round-the-clock security within the network, with configurations, development, and ease of use by customers.

What Is A Network Engineer's Role

Your team will count on you!

 You should also be able to understand, improve and troubleshoot existing infrastructures within the company you choose to work with. As a Network Engineer, you are an integral part of the IT team. You should be able to work well within the team while providing the necessary hardware and software tools for efficient, rapid, secure connections and communications across different areas.

Responsibilities And Desired Skills

Your responsibilities might include some, most, or all of the following:

  • The ability to design system configurations and direct system installation.
  • Provide technical support to users.
  • Administer firewall protection for safety from cyber attacks.
  • Implement secure connections and communications within different networks.
  • The implementation of scheduling upgrades.
  • Design a better, more efficient network infrastructure.
  • Audit IP addresses and hosted devices.
  • Establish a strong network and maintain its performance.
  • Build network configurations and connections.
  • The skills to possess an eye for detail to observe any flaws within the network.
  • Troubleshoot network problems.
  • Define, document, and enforce system standards.
  • The ability to maximize network performance.
  • Troubleshoot traffic congestion.
  • The knowledge to configure routers.
  • Communicate clearly with users to provide effective technical support.
  • The ability to prioritize issues to solve them as quickly as possible.
  • Perform updates to data servers and network equipment.
  • Have people skills for collaborations with network architects for network optimization.
  • The desire to update job knowledge through participation in educational opportunities and professional organizations, and by reading professional publications.
  • Stay on top of emerging trends within the industry.
  • Work on enhancing the existing network systems.
  • Implement analytical and creative solutions for network-related problems.
  • Maintain clear and concise documentation of all network-oriented queries and their plausible solutions.
  • The knowledge of how to maintain a comprehensive database of the information of the network system for interested parties such as clients, stakeholders, managers, and employees.
  • Undertake updates in atimely manner for quality checks on the network systems.
  • Enforce policies and strategies for effective, efficiently run systems.
  • The knowledge to replace faulty hardware and software systems with new technologies.

Qualifications And Requirements

Many entry-level Network Engineering positions will require you to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or some type of mathematical-related field. 

Qualifications And Requirements

This can include:

  • Computer Systems Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Systems and Networks
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Network Security Management

However, most employers will look for the most qualified candidates. So those who have a master’s degree, along with those who have multiple years of experience in a suitable role, will probably be the first to be considered. Experience in many sought-after sectors, including working within network administration or with IT systems.

Salary Expectations

According to Glassdoor, the median salary for a Network Engineer in the United States for 2022 was $85,841. That being said, salaries can range anywhere from a starting point of $60,000 right up to $128,000 per year. It all depends on many outside factors, including –

  • The company you go to work for
  • The location
  • Your position within that company 
  • Your qualifications 
  • How many years of experience 
  • Your skill set and what you can bring to the table
  • Your ongoing performance and value

Network Engineer Interview Questions

So now we have arrived at the business end of this, the actual type of questions you might be asked during your interview. 

You should remember that these are just a guide, and you should do your research and make sure you are knowledgeable on all areas involved in your profession that you think you might be asked about during your interview. 

Network Engineer Interview Questions

From technical to personal questions…

Remember, you will be asked many questions about the role itself, about the technologies involved and various structures, as well as how to troubleshoot, etc. But you will also be asked questions about your character, how well you work with others, your education, and your motivations for wanting to work with this particular company. 

Again, do your research, and make sure you know who you are applying with. The ins and outs of this company and, at the very least, their company motto. 

Interview Question Examples

Below you will find a handful of questions you might be asked during your interview process. Included is an explanation as to why you are being asked this particular type of question and how to best go about answering them.

1 Why do you want to work for this company?

Explanation: This is an opening question that the interviewer might ask to begin the conversation, to know if you have done your homework and know about the company, etc. It will help the interviewer know more about you as a person and help gather the information to form future questions.

Example Answer:

 “I have looked into your company, and I really like the way you handle yourself in the tech world. The work you do is innovative and exciting, and I really want to be a part of that. I have also heard great things about the employee culture that exists here, and I respect the company motto … (Quote the motto and what it means to you).”

You can also continue with how well you think you might fit into the company and how you think your skills can benefit them. 

2 Can you tell me the role and functions of a router?

Explanation: The interviewer is gently starting to explore your knowledge about how the network functions, along with some hardware and software components.

 Basic questions like this will allow the interviewer to get a grasp on your competency for this role. It also allows them the chance to hear your style of communication. This, in turn, indicates how you might then be helping users who have no idea of how a router works when you are trying to assist them.

Can you tell me the role and functions of a router

Example Answer:

 “A router is a piece of hardware that manages the communication between different networks and devices. Its functions include selecting the best path for devices to communicate, managing communication between different networks, and forwarding and filtering packets.”

Next on my list of Network Engineer Interview Questions is…

3 How can you determine the best path selection for a router? What values do they need to possess?

Explanation: This is a follow-up question to the previous one. During an interview, you should be ready for follow-up questions whenever you provide the interviewer with an answer. Although, it really depends on how detailed your answers are. If you give short answers, there will usually be a few follow-ups to keep exploring the topic. However, if you are quite detailed in your explanations, then you might find that you covered everything. 

Example Answer: 

“Actually, there are many factors that are used to determine a router’s path selection. These include determining the lowest metric value, matching the longest prefix, and selecting the minimum administrative distance. So when you collectively use these, you can define the best-performing router path, and one that also has the least amount of interference.”

4 How many different network types can you name?

Explanation: The interviewer is exploring your wider knowledge of networks and starting to get technical. You might have only worked deeply within a few; however, you should be able to site off a good few abbreviations as well as their full names. 

Example Answer:

 “Every network has different types. Some of the widely used and better-known network types are PAN – personal area network, WLAN – wireless local area network, MANs – metropolitan area networks, LANs – local area networks, VoIP – voice over internet protocol network, WANs – wide area networks, GANs – global area network, DAN – desk area network, CAN – campus/controller/cluster area network, SAN – storage/system/server/small area network. These are a few off the top of my head, and I worked with all of these.”

5 Can you define anonymous FTP and also explain to me how you would utilize it as a network Engineer?

Explanation: This is a very technical question that asks you to define a specific term that is widely used in network engineering. When interviewing in the line of work, the crux of the interview will be largely based on your technical knowledge and understanding. It is best to answer these types of questions concisely and with little embellishment. 

Example Answer: 

“Ok, well, an FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is the name of a method used to upload and download files across the network. When you say anonymous FTP, the use of anonymous gives a user access to files on public servers without disclosing their identity.”

6 Have you ever had a disagreement with a coworker? How was it resolved?

Explanation: The interviewer is trying to ascertain what kind of person they are considering employing. It is normal to not always agree with your fellow workers, as a difference of opinion is very normal. However, the reason for the disagreement, along with your steps to resolve it, is what really counts here.

 If you can explain your reasons as well as what you did to rectify them, this will tell the interviewer a lot about your character. 

Example Answer: 

“I have never had a disagreement with another staff member on anything aside from how to fix an issue that has appeared within the network infrastructure. We both had very different ideas on how to best fix the situation and couldn’t agree that one would be more efficient than the other. In the end, we trialed both remedies and decided to implement the one that gave the best results.”

Some other examples of questions you might get asked are:

  • How do you know if a port is open or not?
  • Can you name the different layers in the OSI reference model?
  • Which layer of the OSI model does a gateway work in?
  • What are the differences between a forward lookup and a reverse lookup in the domain name system?
  • TCP/IP has how many layers, and what are their names?
  • Have you ever failed at a major project?

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Endless Engineering Career Guides!

Firstly, let’s take a look at the Top Highest Paying Engineering Jobs for numerous engineering positions you might be interested in.

We’ve also put together this extensive selection of career guides to help you decide which direction you would like to go in. Let’s start with our Network Engineer Job Description, our Applications Engineer Job Description, and our Software Test Engineer Job Description, along with our Process Engineer Job Description, our Biomedical Engineer Job Description, and our Electronics Engineer Job Description for 2023.

But that’s not all! Check out our Civil Engineer Job Description, our Mechatronics Engineer Job Description, and our Electrical Engineer Job Description, as well as our Project Engineer Job Description, our Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions, and our Environmental Engineer Job Description.

Final Thoughts

Now that I’ve covered some of the most common interview questions for Network Engineers let’s finish with some general advice.

When you are preparing for an interview within the field of Network Engineering, make sure your knowledge of the company is on point. And that you are familiar and confident with talking about how the network infrastructure works and explaining software and hardware names, components, and functions.

 How you might troubleshoot a problem in various contexts, and what you as a person can bring to the table to benefit the company. You never know what the interviewer might ask you, so always take time to think and formulate your answer before rattling off the first thing that comes into your head. 

Good luck, and I hope you ace your interview!

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