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Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

(OP)
Which would you say is a higher position? A Network Engineer or a Network Administrator.  They are trying to change my title from an engineer to an administrator and I personally think an administrator is lower than an engineer.

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

Funny, I get just the opposite impression.  However, it's not the title - it's the job duties.

Susan
"'I wish life was not so short,' he thought. 'Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about.'"
- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lost Road

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

"Engineer" is usually the higher title.  The term has been misused a lot in the computer fields.  An engineer is supposed to be someone with at least a BS in Engineering for their field.  This means more math and formal classes in design theory etc.    The term "Mechanical Designer" came about because companies didn't want to pay well for engineers, and tehrefore started having technicians doing design work.  They couldn't call them engineers, but the people were doing more than technicina work, hence the evolution of the term "designer".

Microsoft and Cisco among others have bastardized he engineer title in the computer world with their "engineer" certifications.  There are now tons of people who are certificed "engineers" with no engineering degree.  

Microsoft changed their tune in the software world and came up with "Developer".  This is someone who is doing more design work than a "programmer" but cannot rightly be called a "Software Engineer".  They couldn't appropriate the engineer term in that field because the university system already had accredited Software Engineering degree programs.

In your specific case, a Network Administrator operates and maintains a network while a Network Engineer designs it as well.  In a smaller shop this will be the same person, however the design requirements will also be less because of the smaller network.  The larger the network the more rigorous the design requirements become, hence the greater the difference between administration and engineering.  

As Susan stated, ibn the real world it really depends on the actual duties, however there are reasonably standard uses of certain titles.  Google some salary surveys and look at the descriptions they are using for the various titles.

Jeff
It's never too early to begin preparing for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

I was not born cynical - I earned my cynicism through careful observation of the world around me.

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

I'll second MasterRacker's thought process.  I haven't given much thought to the use of Engineer as MasterRacker has, but he is correct, Engineer is (generally) the higher position.

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

Once upon a time, I was called a "Customer Engineer" (I fixed office equipment). That conjurs up visions of myself operating the locomotive of a passenger train full of business prospects.

Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

"There are now tons of people who are certificed "engineers" with no engineering degree."

"a Network Administrator operates and maintains a network while a Network Engineer designs it as well"

where do people stand on specifics, like the fact i'm an 'engineer' yet hold no formal qualifications, Cisco, M$ or Degree, and yet maintains networks and designs them as well?

And this is based on my promise, ability to learn on the job constantly and prior knowledge (all this without trying to sound like im in a job interview, ha)

and only a small proportion are SMBs, the largest being 30 Cisco connected sites across several countries (yes, 3 of us did it, but the other 2 hold CCNAs)

this is the Cisco example, i wont go on about the M$ examples

i'm not bothered by the Engineer title or not, just am curious as to when it becomes a 'right' to have one?  when you do an engineering degree?

I've lost count how many times i've had someone spout off about their bachelors in computing science or some other, and they have no idea how to run an AV scan so we've got no chance even explaining what Ping is let alone VLSM or HSRP

cheers

Gurner

www.divineparadox.co.uk

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

>> i'm not bothered by the Engineer title or not, just am curious as to when it becomes a 'right' to have one?  when you do an engineering degree? <<

In most states in the US, you are an engineer when you have your Professional Engineer certificate.  Until then you are not allowed to certify mechanical drawings, etc.  You would have to pass them onto a PE for review and approval.  A PE is personally liable for the work they do -- if a building falls down, the investigators will go to the engineer who certified the structural drawing and say "Why did you use this smaller I-beam here, when the ASME standard says it needed to be the next size larger for the indicated load?"

The title Engineer is often codified into state law.  For example, there are no Software Engineers in Texas, as state law forbids using the title unless one is a certified PE.

Software is a long way from being an Engineering practice for many reasons, most of which are unpopular to individuals and businesses:  

1) Low barrier to entry into the profession
2) Desire to keep salaries low by business
3) Schedule-driven development, not safety-driven
4) Cultural & personal reasons (developers are usually very independent)
5) No central body to certify software developers as engineers
6) No body of knowledge which all software engineers can be required to understand
7) Rapid change in the industry (who wants to take a engineering certification test in COBOL?)

Chip H.

____________________________________________________________________
If you want to get the best response to a question, please read FAQ222-2244 first

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

that all makes sense, the title is very watered down in this industry, always has been.

Formally, im not an engineer, knowledge and experiance based tho, most of us would challenge a formally qualified engineer.  Infact they could often be found calling to the experianced/knowledged staff for some thing they answered in an exam a while or years ago, because they have never actually 'done' it before

The amount that do claim 'Engineer' status and yet perform no more than admin responsibilities anyhow are quite far reaching unfortunately.

the points laid out are correct, yes.  Especially point 7, that hits the nail on the head, with 6 a close second.

how can you standardise an idustry that has no clearly defined structure or for want of a better description 'starting point'

Cheers

Gurner

www.divineparadox.co.uk

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

Good point Chip.  

I forgot about the PE.  It's quite true that there are many fields where you can have a BS andeven an MS in "Engineering" and still can't call yourself an Engineer without the PE.  The degeees give you the theoretical knowledge and the PE ensures you are competent in current industry pratctices and standards.  The computer industry is still too young and evolving too quickly to have established standards.  Heck, even on the theoretical side, there is still a lot of debate over whether OO is the right way to go , not to mention ho to implement it.

My earlier post was meant to point out that there are reasonably consistent usages of the term within corporate structures and labor statistics.

Jeff
It's never too early to begin preparing for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

I was not born cynical - I earned my cynicism through careful observation of the world around me.

RE: Network Engineer vs. Netwok Administrator

Right - in order to maintain your PE certificate, there are requirements for continuing education.  The software industry has nothing like that, other than the pressures of capitalism (if you're not current, it's tough to find a job).

Chip H.

____________________________________________________________________
If you want to get the best response to a question, please read FAQ222-2244 first

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