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Would Gaining Certification Level Knowledge for Networking be a Waste if One Wants to Pursue a Career in Software Engineering?

Recently, I've been learning some computer networking in my spare time regarding topics on the CCNA. Although IT is quite interesting and intriguing, I'm leaning towards software development, as I like building new things that can be of use to others. Should I learn the CCNA topics in my spare time, or would it be a waste if my goals lie in software engineering? #software-engineering #networking #technology #computer-science

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Samuel’s Answer

Hi Aun,

Gaining certification-level knowledge of networking is useful almost anywhere in IT - software development included. Many of today's applications require some form of network connection, whether it be to internal company-owned servers or external resources accessible to all. Because of this, it's highly likely any application you work on will have some form of networking involved with it. While the programming languages you work with may have ways to interface with the networking aspect of your project, knowledge of basic networking concepts will help you speed up your coding by knowing what exactly you need to do. It will also give you the ability to speak about what your application is doing from a networking perspective.

As far as specific resources for learning networking go, you may want to consider resources outside of the CCNA. CCNA is fantastic for network engineers who work with Cisco products, as the guide teaches not only basic networking concepts but also teaches specific configurations for Cisco devices. These configurations will likely not be useful to you as they generally are limited to use by network engineers. You may consider studying topics from CompTIA's Network+ exam - a vendor-neutral exam which gives a broad overview of networking. Some specific topics that would be good to learn are:
- OSI and TCP/IP Model
- IP addressing (IPv4 and IPv6, subnets, Private IPs, Public IPs)
- Ports (general concept and specific port numbers)
- Firewalls
- Tunneling

Those topics should give you a good starting point, but if you want to learn more about networking there is absolutely no harm in doing so! As an aspiring software developer, you may also consider researching software-defined networking (SDN). Considering your interest in both networking and software development, this could be the perfect area for you to invest time in while still enjoying what you do. SDN is a growing technology that the field of IT is starting to move towards, so being knowledgeable in that area could be incredibly helpful.

I hope my response has been helpful. If you have any additional questions please ask!


Sam Ferguson

Thank you for your great answer! I'm going into my junior year following the fall of 2020, so I wanted to gain some cert knowledge just on the side as a hobby. I'm not sure about this, but I'm thinking of trying to incorporate this knowledge into an extracurricular somehow. Thank you once again for your service, Sam! Aun M.

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John’s Answer

Aun computer software engineers, or software developers, design and develop software applications or computer systems. They may develop computer applications for clients as well as the major systems that make a computer run. Occasional extended work hours are typical, and travel to meet with other members of design teams might be required. Since much of a computer software engineer's work is done on the computer, telecommuting is often an option for this job.


STEP 1.) RESEARCH COMPUTER SOFTWARE ENGINEER CAREERS – Since computer software engineering includes a variety of tasks and job descriptions, the first step aspiring software engineers may need to do is to research the field before pursuing education and training that will prepare them for a particular career path. The types of software that computer software engineers create, test, and evaluate include business applications, network control systems, operating systems, databases, middleware, and computer games. Software engineers may use a variety of programming languages. Those who work primarily with computer systems may design and implement data assurance and system security, as well as customize computer systems to meet the needs of clients. They may also set up intranets, which are networks that allow different computers within an organization to communicate.

STEP 2.) COMPLETE YOUR COMPUTER SOFTWARE ENGINEERING EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS – Since a software engineer's (or software developer's) entry-level education typically involves a bachelor's degree, the next step is to complete your degree program. Those who work with applications typically graduate with a computer software engineer degree or another related degree in computer science or mathematics. Courses in a computer science undergraduate program may include computer fundamentals, data structures, principles of programming languages, software engineering, and computer architecture.

STEP 3.) GAIN RELATED EXPERIENCE & SKILLS – Since computer software engineers design new software programs, they should have a high degree of creativity. They should also have strong problem-solving, mathematical, and analytical skills, as well as the ability to work with abstract concepts. Communication skills are also important since they may interact with hardware engineers, industrial designers, manufacturing operations personnel, and end users to develop software products. An entry-level position, such as a computer support specialist or computer technician, can help prospective engineers develop these skills and obtain hands-on experience in the field.

STEP 4.) CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION – Obtaining certification can demonstrate a certain level of competence and make job applicants more competitive. Product vendors, software firms, and professional computing societies, such as the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP), offer certification programs. Those who seek certification from a product vendor or software firm may be required to work with the company's products, while certification from a professional computing society typically requires a series of examinations, maintenance of membership, and periodic recertification.

STEP 5.) FUTUER EDUCATION & TRAINING – Since technology is constantly changing, the job tasks performed by computer software engineers change often as well. Employers, colleges and universities, private training institutions, software vendors, and professional computing societies offer continuing education and professional development seminars to help computer software engineers learn the skills necessary to keep up with changing technology. You might also consider a master's degree. Some employers look for prospective software engineers who have a master's degree. Programs like the Master of Science in Computer Science are available on-campus and online.

Aun computer software engineers, along with other technology professionals, will be in demand as businesses upgrade their technologies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the projected growth of employment for software developers is expected to increase by about 21% for the years 2018 through 2028.

Hope this was Helpful Aun

John recommends the following next steps:

Participate in an internship – Employers may prefer to hire those who have relevant experience added to their software engineering qualifications, in addition to a bachelor's degree. Students can participate in internships during their undergraduate education to enhance their employment prospects. Internships also enable students to gain hands-on experience and learn new skills from professionals in the industry.

Thank You Aun. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike John Frick

Thank You Sumit. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick

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Aamod’s Answer

Hi Aun ,
Any knowledge you pursue will always be beneficial to you in some ways , either you do networking , coding or management so in any of the field your knowledge will always help.
as well as this will help you in overall grooming.
It will also give you the ability to speak about what your application is doing from a networking perspective.

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BINU’s Answer

Absolutely not.
In my opinion, doing certifications in networking will broaden your horizon and will help while learning software programming as well.

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Angel’s Answer

I would say that a Software Engineer going deeper on how computer networks work is not a waste of time at all. Having said that, there are some careers in Software Engineering that will value more that knowledge than others.

An specific example would be to develop your career as an engineering that builds networking related software: VPN clients (or severs), low level traffic control of networking hardware (routers/switches, etc.), diagnostics or monitoring tools of networks, etc. In those cases, deep knowledge in networking is not useful but necessary.

Software Engineering careers related to IoT (Internet of Things) technologies values networking knowledge because the premise is about the industry is to connect all devices in a network. How to do it in an effective, secure manner?

If you do web development or mobile development, you can be relatively successful without a super deep understanding of computer networks. Don't get me wrong, you must know how computer networks work, but to certain level. There are some concepts, top level, big picture concept that must be really clear to you.

I wouldn't discourage anyone to learn something new, but just keep in mind how much of that can be used towards getting that job/that promotion or starting a new company.

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Surendra Reddy’s Answer

Doing certifications on Networking will definitely help if you are planning to pursue a career in Software development area in Networking companies. Even though you are a software developer for example in Java and if you are working for a networking company that will help in expanding your knowledge and ramp up fast as you already have the required networking knowledge.

If you are planning to pursue a career in non networking companies then its not required.