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Become A Network Architect

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Working As A Network Architect

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $99,463

    Average Salary

What Does A Network Architect Do

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. These networks range from small connections between two offices to next-generation networking capabilities such as a cloud infrastructure that serves multiple customers. Network architects must have extensive knowledge of an organization’s business plan to design a network that can help the organization achieve its goals.

Duties

Computer network architects typically do the following:

  • Create plans and layouts for data communication networks
  • Present plans to management and explain why they are in the organization’s best interest to pursue them
  • Consider information security when designing networks
  • Upgrade hardware, such as routers or adaptors, and software, such as network drivers, as needed to support computer networks
  • Research new networking technologies to determine what would best support their organization in the future

Computer network architects, or network engineers, often work with their organization’s chief technology officer (CTO) to predict where the organization will most need new networks. They spend most of their time planning these new networks. Some computer network architects work with engineers such as computer hardware engineers who help build the network a network architect has designed. Network architects are often experienced staff and have 5 to 10 years of experience working in network administration or with other information technology (IT) systems.

Computer network architects also create models to predict future network needs by analyzing current data traffic and estimating how growth will affect the network. They also keep up to date on new hardware and software technology and test how it can improve network performance. In addition, computer network architects have to keep security in mind and when network vulnerabilities arise, implement security patches or other countermeasures.

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How To Become A Network Architect

Most computer network architects have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and experience in a related occupation, such as network and computer systems administrators.

Education

Computer network architects usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, or a related field. Degree programs in a computer-related field give network architects hands-on laboratory work in classes such as network security or database design. These programs prepare network architects to be able to work with the wide array of technologies used in networks.

Employers of network architects sometimes prefer applicants to have a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems. MBA programs generally require 2 years of study beyond the undergraduate level and include both business and computer-related courses.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Network architects generally need to have at least 5 to 10 years of experience working with information technology (IT) systems. They often have experience as a network and computer system administrator but also may come from other computer-related occupations such as database administrator or computer systems analyst.

Certification

Certification programs are generally offered by product vendors or software firms. Vendor-specific certification verifies a set of skills to ensure network architects are able to work in specific networking environments. Companies may require their network architects to be certified in the products they use.

Advancement

Some network architects advance to become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer network architects have to examine data networks and decide how to best connect the networks based on the needs and resources of the organization.

Detail oriented. Computer network architects create comprehensive plans of the networks they are creating with precise information describing how the network parts will work together.

Interpersonal skills. These workers must be able to work with different types of employees to successfully design and implement computer and information networks.

Leadership skills. Many computer network architects direct teams of engineers who build the networks they have designed, such as computer hardware engineers.

Organizational skills. Computer network architects who work for large firms must coordinate many different types of communication networks and make sure they work well together.

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Network Architect jobs

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Real Network Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Network Architect Howard Systems International, Inc. Rye, NY Jul 08, 2015 $198,265
Computer Network Architect Howard Systems International, Inc. Rye, NY Oct 15, 2015 $198,265
Computer Network Architect Howard Systems International, Inc. Rye, NY Jul 08, 2015 $198,265
Principal LTE Network Architect Ruckus Wireless, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 16, 2016 $175,000
Network Architect Kovarus Inc. San Ramon, CA May 09, 2016 $165,000
Lead Network Architect Groupware Technology, Inc. Campbell, CA Jun 20, 2016 $160,000
Network Architects-IV HCL America, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jan 04, 2016 $158,454 -
$178,000
Network Architect Randstad Technologies, LP Milpitas, CA Oct 31, 2016 $156,000
Network Architect Calypso Soft Inc. Durham, NC Jul 28, 2016 $155,000
Computer Network Architects (Lead Infrastructure Enablement Engineer) Salesforce.Com Herndon, VA Aug 06, 2016 $150,378
Network Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 15, 2015 $150,000
Network Architect (Veritas Netbackup Consultant) Jesmech Corporation Jersey City, NJ Oct 15, 2015 $145,000
Network-On-Chip Architect Netspeed Systems San Jose, CA Apr 18, 2016 $102,000
Network Architect Intermedia Group, Inc. Coppell, TX May 25, 2016 $102,000
Computer Network Architect NTT Data, Inc. Plano, TX Jan 08, 2016 $101,982 -
$120,000
Network Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Redmond, WA May 04, 2016 $101,254
Network Architect Euclid Elementz, Inc. Harrisburg, PA Nov 23, 2015 $101,026
Computer Network Architect Systems Technology Group, Inc. Dearborn, MI Dec 21, 2015 $100,322
Network Architect and Administrator Bakhtiari Corporation San Jose, CA Feb 09, 2016 $100,110
Network Architect Pinnacle Technical Resources Inc. Austin, TX Mar 06, 2016 $85,922
Network Architect IBM India Private Limited Lexington, KY Jun 15, 2015 $85,677
Network Architect Netenrich, Inc. Addison, TX Aug 18, 2016 $85,634 -
$101,982
Computer Network Architect NTT Data, Inc. Plano, TX Jan 08, 2016 $85,634 -
$110,000
Network Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Plano, TX Aug 26, 2016 $85,634
Computer Network Architect Lead DEX Systems Camarillo, CA Jan 12, 2015 $85,363

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Top Skills for A Network Architect

NetworkInfrastructureArchitectureFirewallsLan/WanTcp/IpRoutersVPNServersInternetMplsBGPVoipWebOspfNexusVmwareASADisasterRecoveryNetworkDesignQOS

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Top Network Architect Skills

  1. Network Infrastructure
  2. Architecture
  3. Firewalls
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided planning, design, implementation, and operation of network infrastructure projects.
  • Evaluated architecture solutions, coordinated requirements, and provided planning expertise to manage overall delivery.
  • Purchased and deployed intrusion detection systems, firewalls (Sidewinder Firewall), and Cisco routers and switches.
  • Developed an online LAN/WAN cost database for the executive management team to analyze the total global network costs.
  • Played key role in designing, staging, and implementing a 250-node Cisco-based TCP/IP WAN for LA County.

Top Network Architect Employers

Network Architect Videos

Cisco Digital Network Architecture Overview

TechWiseTV: Digital Network Architecture, Part I: The Design

Career Connections (2015) Network Architect

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