A server engineer configures and troubleshoots a company's server hardware, operating systems, applications and networking equipment. He also may build applications, manage a database, secure the company's network, recommend improvements to the current infrastructure, back up data and provide technical support to users. You typically need a bachelor's degree in computers or engineering and a strong background in networking, server operating systems, programming and security to become a server engineer. Additional training to learn new technologies, along with three or more years of work experience in technology, also are usually needed.
A bachelor's degree related to computers or engineering is usually needed to become a server engineer, although it is not always required if you have extensive work experience or certifications. The degree should cover beginner through advanced courses in network administration and design, computer architecture, operating systems, software engineering and security. Some example majors include computer science, computer engineering, information technology and management information systems. Some jobs also require technical certifications in server operating systems, networking, database management or virtualization technologies. Your college may offer courses that can help prepare you for the various certification exams.
To become a server engineer, you will need to be knowledgeable in various areas of information technology. You will need to be proficient in server operating system installation, configuration and troubleshooting, and know how to secure servers and their operating systems and application software. Although most server engineer positions require some knowledge in computer programming, other positions require proficiency in multiple languages for desktop, mobile and web applications. Other areas in which to gain proficiency include backup and recovery procedures, application debugging, project management and database management. It also is important to have excellent customer service skills to deal with those inside and outside the organization and to be able to work well in a team.
It normally requires from three to seven years of extensive information technology experience to become a server engineer. Employers often set additional experience requirements for each skill and may require three or more years of experience in programming, networking, desktop support and server operating systems. Before you can become a server engineer, you will likely spend some time in other technical roles as a technical support specialist, network administrator, application programmer or operating systems specialist. You also may need to take additional training courses to learn future technologies that server engineers must understand and be able to support. Some employers offer financial assistance to take these courses or offer training onsite.