Job prospects and growth potential in the IT industry is extremely promising for not just those who are part of the growing segment but also those who are looking to break into it in current and future times. Increasing dependence on networks, cloud storage, and high-speed networks has made the job of IT professionals and engineers all the more exciting and challenging. New job roles have opened up, and as the IT framework becomes increasingly crucial for a wide variety of organizations like hospitals, banks, factories, companies, libraries, etc. the IT sector is becoming the most focused and prioritized department in large organizations and being focused on to drive innovation and efficiency.

The past years have shown how technology and innovation can completely change the dynamics of entire industries: Cloud technology, internet of things, virtualization, 5G, robotics, blockchain, 3D printing are just some of the monumental developments that have been made and completely altered day to day operations.

As we continue to grow towards becoming a world that is increasingly reliant on tech infrastructure, the demand for competent network engineers has consistently seen rapid growth by correlation. The base salary for network engineers is approximated to be CAD 77, 000 (Source ), with estimated future growth rates to be between 6% from 2018-2028 - higher than the average(Source).

Hence, if you are one of the many individuals who are looking to shift gears and work towards education in network engineering then congratulations! Your choice not only holds wisdom but statistical support as well.

There are multiple routes that you can take; if you are completed committed towards the profession than you can pursue an undergraduate degree or work toward Cisco certification to gain some practical skills. Some employers do prefer candidates with an undergraduate or master's degree while some are simply looking for candidates who hone specific qualities and know how to apply complex theories in real-life situations and keep up to date with trends.

Whichever route sound more like you, we have six incredible tips that can guide you along the process:

 1. Consider getting a CISCO Certification

A CISCO sdn certification will serve to add a nice polished layer on your resume. It will empower you to flaunt your skills and experience a step further than the average candidate. A CISCO CDN certification offers both quantitative theory and real-world application training, which is a great learning experience when you are preparing for the real world and not just exams.

 2. Prioritize Practical Experience

 That being said, today's job market is not one where your resume will not do all the work for you. While completing certifications like the CISCO cdn will add value to your profile, it weighs on what you make of that experience at the end of the day. Most recruiters are looking for candidates who have a solid understanding of the basic framework of the system, know the ins and out, and hence can add to that knowledge with growing industry changes.

A great way to get practical experience is to have an eager attitude to learn and start with an entry-level position. Even if this means taking up an administrative post in an IT firm, go for it! To establish yourself in a completely new industry all the information you can get is valuable. Especially experiencing real-life applications of technical work like IT will greatly help in boosting your understanding.

3. Do internships while you study

 Doing internships while you study is extremely valuable because you get a chance to apply what you learn almost simultaneously. Through internships, you can streamline the process of learning and application, reinforce concepts and create a more valuable learning experience.

4. Work in small organizations in the beginning

Not just for the IT industry, but as a general rule of thumb, it is always advisable to start your career in a small company. Network engineers and IT professionals are almost always expected to wear more than one hat in an organization.

Small companies adopt the same methodology, where it is more of a collaborative approach instead of individualistic or even departmental. This allows young professionals to gain a complete understanding of their job function, its implications, and how the input and output of their work affect the business model as a whole.

This kind of experience will prove to be extremely valuable in the long run because you will know not only what you contribute to the company but also develop an understanding as to how multiple factors and job functions come together to exercise a single work operations - This tip is even more important if you intend to pursue a managerial position.

5. Aim to Upgrade

No matter at what point you are in your career right now, IT is an industry where you constantly have to compete with yourself and the evolving market trends. To establish a competitive advantage, it is important to focus on self-education and training. If you are not as disciplined or don't have the resources to do so, enroll in certification programs like CISCO. These can be extremely valuable and helpful in the long run and help you keep up to date with shifting practices.

6. Invest your Time on Improving your Soft Skills

A common misconception is that engineers and tech professionals do not need proficient communication, leadership, or team management skills due to the technical nature of their work. This is extremely inaccurate. Working professionals, regardless of industry, should always have good communication skills, great confidence levels, and an ability to collaborate. These qualities have found to boost mass productivity and are a major consideration factor amongst HR professionals during recruitment across all industries.

If you are passionate about becoming a CISCO engineer then there are multiple routes you can choose from to fulfill your dream. It all depends on how passionate you are to pursue your dream and you will find that the mediums to make it a reality are easily accessible.