Before we learn about the money, let’s get this question out of the way:
What Is a Computer Network ?
Let’s have a look at the definition from the lecture notes of University of South Florida (highlights and changes by me):
A network consists of two or more connected computers that communicate with each other (e.g., chat apps), share resources (e.g., printing devices), exchange data (e.g., files or digital assets such as Bitcoin).
There are many ways for computers to speak with each other, e.g., via cables, telephone lines, radio waves, satellites, or infrared light beams.
What Is a Network Engineer?
Definition Network Engineer: A network engineer plans, supervises, debugs, installs, and implements computer networks. The required skill set of a network engineer includes a profound understanding of basic networking protocols such as TCP/IP and UDP, as well as basic hardware configurations such as Ethernet switches and routers.
Network Engineer Job Description
The job description of a network engineer is to configure and install network hardware devices such as switches and routers, network software applications such as firewalls and load balancers, and set up security and network interfaces and protocols such as VPN, TCP/IP, and Wifi. A network engineer also maintains and optimizes existing computer networks or telecommunication networks and keeps them secure and updated.
Now that you know about what it is, let’s have a look at what it earns next!
How much does a Network Engineer make per year?
The average annual income of a Network Engineer in the United States is between $68,000 and $104,000 with a median income of $87,000 per year according to multiple sources including Indeed, Glassdoor, and Talent.com.
Here’s the data used to generate this graphic in table form:
|Source||Network Engineer Income|
Let’s have a look at the hourly rate of Network Engineers next!
Network Engineers are well-paid on freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr.
- Related Article: What’s the best freelancing platform?
If you decide to go the route as a freelance Network Engineer, you can expect to make between $49 and $145 per hour on Upwork (source). Assuming an annual workload of 2000 hours, you can expect to make between $98,000 and $290,000 per year.
⚡ Note: Do you want to create your own thriving coding business online? Feel free to check out our freelance developer course — the world’s #1 best-selling freelance developer course that specifically shows you how to succeed on Upwork and Fiverr!
But is there enough demand? Let’s have a look at Google trends to find out how interest evolves over time (source):
While the interest of network engineers (supply) to obtain this role remains relatively stable, the demand for network engineers increases:
Increasing demand and slightly reducing supply of great network engineers leads to the high hourly rates of Network engineers.
Learning Path, Skills, and Education Requirements
Do you want to become a Network Engineer? Here’s a step-by-step learning path I’d propose to get started with Network :
- Step 1: Introduction to Computer Science (~40 hours)
- Step 2: Introduction to Network (~20 hours)
- Step 3: Introduction to Network engineering (Free Video Courses) (~20 hours)
- Step 4: Introduction to Distributed Systems (~20 hours)
You can find many additional computer science courses on the Finxter Computer Science Academy (flatrate model).
But don’t wait too long to acquire practical experience!
Even if you have few skills, it’s best to get started as a freelance developer and learn as you work on real projects for clients — earning income as you learn and gaining motivation through real-world feedback.
🚀 Tip: An excellent start to turbo-charge your freelancing career (earning more in less time) is our Finxter Freelancer Course. The goal of the course is to pay for itself!
You can find more job descriptions for coders, programmers, and computer scientists in our detailed overview guide:
Related Income of Professional Developers
The following statistic shows the self-reported income from 9,649 US-based professional developers (source).
💡 The average annual income of professional developers in the US is between $70,000 and $177,500 for various programming languages.
Question: What is your current total compensation (salary, bonuses, and perks, before taxes and deductions)? Please enter a whole number in the box below, without any punctuation. If you are paid hourly, please estimate an equivalent weekly, monthly, or yearly salary. (source)
The following statistic compares the self-reported income from 46,693 professional programmers as conducted by StackOverflow.
💡 The average annual income of professional developers worldwide (US and non-US) is between $33,000 and $95,000 for various programming languages.
Here’s a screenshot of a more detailed overview of each programming language considered in the report:
Here’s what different database professionals earn:
Here’s an overview of different cloud solutions experts:
Here’s what professionals in web frameworks earn:
There are many other interesting frameworks—that pay well!
Look at those tools:
Okay, but what do you need to do to get there? What are the skill requirements and qualifications to make you become a professional developer in the area you desire?
Let’s find out next!
General Qualifications of Professionals
StackOverflow performs an annual survey asking professionals, coders, developers, researchers, and engineers various questions about their background and job satisfaction on their website.
Interestingly, when aggregating the data of the developers’ educational background, a good three quarters have an academic background.
Here’s the question asked by StackOverflow (source):
Which of the following best describes the highest level of formal education that you’ve completed?
However, if you don’t have a formal degree, don’t fear! Many of the respondents with degrees don’t have a degree in their field—so it may not be of much value for their coding careers anyways.
Also, about one out of four don’t have a formal degree and still succeeds in their field! You certainly don’t need a degree if you’re committed to your own success!
Freelancing vs Employment Status
The percentage of freelance developers increases steadily. The fraction of freelance developers has already reached 11.21%!
This indicates that more and more work will be done in a more flexible work environment—and fewer and fewer companies and clients want to hire inflexible talent.
Here are the stats from the StackOverflow developer survey (source):
Do you want to become a professional freelance developer and earn some money on the side or as your primary source of income?
Resource: Check out our freelance developer course—it’s the best freelance developer course in the world with the highest student success rate in the industry!
Other Programming Languages Used by Professional Developers
The StackOverflow developer survey collected 58000 responses about the following question (source):
Which programming, scripting, and markup languages have you done extensive development work in over the past year, and which do you want to work in over the next year?
These are the languages you want to focus on when starting out as a coder:
And don’t worry—if you feel stuck or struggle with a nasty bug. We all go through it. Here’s what SO survey respondents and professional developers do when they’re stuck:
What do you do when you get stuck on a problem? Select all that apply. (source)
To get started with some of the fundamentals and industry concepts, feel free to check out these articles:
- Freelance Developer – How to Code From Home and Earn Six Figures [Industry Report]
- How to Become a Python Freelancer—and Earn $1,000 on the Side? [A Step-by-Step Tutorial]
- How Adam Earns $5000 per Month as a Python Freelancer on Upwork [Month 4]
- Telecommunications Network Wikipedia
- Learn Network Engineering Google
Where to Go From Here?
Enough theory. Let’s get some practice!
Coders get paid six figures and more because they can solve problems more effectively using machine intelligence and automation.
To become more successful in coding, solve more real problems for real people. That’s how you polish the skills you really need in practice. After all, what’s the use of learning theory that nobody ever needs?
You build high-value coding skills by working on practical coding projects!
Do you want to stop learning with toy projects and focus on practical code projects that earn you money and solve real problems for people?
🚀 If your answer is YES!, consider becoming a Python freelance developer! It’s the best way of approaching the task of improving your Python skills—even if you are a complete beginner.
If you just want to learn about the freelancing opportunity, feel free to watch my free webinar “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python” and learn how I grew my coding business online and how you can, too—from the comfort of your own home.
 Code used to generate this graphic:
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt data = [91753, 87248, 85841, 92085, 83200, 68910, 104150] labels = ['Indeed.com', 'Glassdoor.com', 'Nexgent.edu', 'Salary.com', 'SalaryExplorer.com', 'Comparably.com', 'Talent.com'] plt.bar(range(len(data)), data) plt.xticks(range(len(data)), labels, rotation='vertical', position = (0,0.6), color='white', weight='bold') plt.ylabel('Average Income ($)') plt.title('Network Engineer Annual Income - by Finxter') plt.legend() plt.show()
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.