IT professionals with Cisco skills are involved in the design, installation, maintenance and support of computer networks. The major employers of Cisco-accredited staff are IT services and outsourcing companies, although any large public or private sector organisation with a LAN, MAN or WAN may need them.
There are a number of entry-level positions that can lead to a job as a network engineer. Some staff start their careers as apprentices, while people with IT-related degrees can secure jobs in helpdesk support or as trainee engineers. The starting salary for this sort of role is usually between £18,000 and £22,000.
Once in employment, staff need to develop their skills with Cisco networking equipment. The best way to do this is via accredited training courses that lead to qualifications such as Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) and Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr). Employers will often fund this study, but there are also distance learning options available for people who wish to take the exams independently.
Workers with these accreditations will find their skills are in demand and that IT recruitment agencies have a wide range of permanent jobs for them. Experienced network engineers, administrators and security experts usually earn in excess of £40,000 a year, while network architects can expect an annual remuneration package worth more than £50,000.
Employers can also hire Cisco-accredited staff on temporary contracts via recruitment agencies for design and installation projects. Daily rates for contractors range from £250 to £400, although assignments in the City of London often pay in excess of £500.