What does a Network Architect do?

Median Pay $104,650
Growth Rate 6%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

Computer network architects gather extensive knowledge of an organization’s business plan in order to design and build data communication networks that can help the organization achieve its goals. This data communication network includes local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets.

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How to become a Computer and Network Architect

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A computer network architect typically requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, or a related field. These degree programs offer hands-on laboratory work in the classroom like network security or database design in order to prepare students to work with a wide variety of technologies used in networks.

Some employers prefer candidates to hold a Master’s of Business Administration degree (MBA) in information systems which normally takes 2 years of further study and includes business and computer related courses. In addition to having a degree, computer network architects usually need to have at least 5 to 10 years of experience from Information Technology (IT) systems or other computer-related fields. Certification may be required by their company in the products they use which are generally offered by product vendors or software firms.

Job Description of a Computer and Network Architect

Computer network architects create plans and layouts for a data communication network. They also predict where they will need future networks and then present and explain why it benefits the organization to pursue them. They work with engineers who help build the network they have designed. He or she considers security information when designing networks in case of vulnerabilities and implement security patches or other counter measures. They upgrade software like network drivers and hardware, such as adapters or routers.

Computer network architects usually work with the organizations’s chief technology officer (CTO) to decide where the organization may need new networks and can range from small connections between two offices or next generation networking capabilities like a cloud infrastructure that serves multiple customers.

They have the task of researching new networking technologies that may be beneficial for the support of their organization’s future which means, analyzing current data to traffic and estimating how growth might affect the network. A computer network architect should be analytical, detail-oriented, organizational and have interpersonal skills and leadership skills. They spend most of their time in offices and sometimes server rooms normally on a full-time basis.

Network Architect Career Video Transcript

Almost all organizations rely on efficiently organized computer networks to accomplish their day-to-day business. Those networks are designed and built by computer network architects. Computer network architects create plans and layouts for data communication networks, ranging from building small connections between two offices to accessing vast networking capabilities on a cloud infrastructure that customers can connect to across the globe.

Network architects develop a deep understanding of a business’ plans in order to design networks that will best suit their current and future needs. They analyze the organization’s data traffic, and work with chief technology officers and hardware engineers to predict future demand, and determine where to build new networks. They must consider information security and new technology developments to design the most effective, reliable systems. Along with having the necessary computer knowledge, network architects need to be effective team leaders, coordinators, and communicators.

Most work full-time schedules in offices, with occasional visits to server rooms when they need to access network hardware. Network architects usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, along with several years’ experience working with information technology systems. A master’s of business administration in information systems is needed for some positions.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Network Architects.

National Center for O*NET Development. 15-1143.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.