Better for networking pros to specialize

Specialization helps Indian networking professionals command higher salaries, say industry practitioners.

Looking for IT career advice? Post your question here, and we'll get our experts to answer.

Q. What are the career opportunities for networking professionals, and what is the average income of a networking professional in India?

Career advice from Naresh Wadhwa, Cisco Systems' interim country manager for India:
A. Due to an increase in technology adoption, the demand for networking professionals in India is expected to increase considerably. A recent Cisco-commissioned study by IDC revealed that there will be a shortage of 137,200 networking professionals in India by 2009. The huge software talent pool available in India means that India has the opportunity to be a resource base for the networking industry.

The importance of the network as a critical business tool, is on the rise. The appearance of new technologies such as wireless networking and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) is driving IP convergence and increasing the importance of the role played by networking infrastructure within organizations of all sizes. The network is truly becoming the backbone of both private and public sector organizations, underpinning internal and external communication and business processes. With state WANs (wide area networks), BPO (business process outsourcing), and BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) sectors in expansion mode--we need people to help meet this requirement.

The remuneration varies depending on an individual's certification/specialization and the kind of organization he or she joins. For a low degree of specialization, starting monthly salaries could range from Rs 8,000 (US$197) - Rs 12,000 (US$296) in a small organization, to Rs 20,000 (US$493) - 25,000 (US$616) per month in an MNC. Advanced specializations can command salaries of up to Rs 200,000 (US$4,931) a month, depending on the number of years of experience. In the case of international opportunities, plenty of which exist, the remuneration is higher.

Career advice from Maneck Mohan, CEO of job search engine Recruit.Net:
A. Our advice to networking professionals in India is to be, first and foremost, knowledgeable and up-to-date on the networking fundamentals and concepts such as the TCP/IP protocol and the Open Systems Interconnection Basic Reference Model.

Secondly, it is important to develop a high level of core expertise in one or two main areas such as local area networks, wide area networks, security and storage area networks.

So, keep abreast of general networking trends and fundamentals while developing your core expertise in a specific area. The people who make the most money are the experts with deep knowledge in their field rather than those who are generalists.

The annual salary range for networking professionals in India is between Rs 230,000 (US$5,684) and Rs 580,000 (US$14,324), and the average annual salary of someone with about three years' working experience is about Rs 450,000 (US$11,114).

This chart on Recruit.net shows some of the hot skills in computer networking in India.

Editor's note: For more salary indicators for Indian IT professionals, please refer to ZDNet Asia's IT Salary 2006 survey results for India, or click here for a regional comparison.

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