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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:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Network Architect
Top Careers After Network Architect
Hispanic or Latino8.2%
Black or African American0.9%
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University of Phoenix18.6%
University of Maryland - University College8.2%
Georgia Institute of Technology -7.2%
Arizona State University5.2%
University of Colorado at Boulder5.2%
University of Massachusetts - Lowell5.2%
George Mason University5.2%
University of Texas at Dallas4.1%
Western Governors University3.1%
Southern Methodist University3.1%
University of California - Los Angeles3.1%
Naval Postgraduate School3.1%
Johns Hopkins University3.1%
Western Washington University3.1%
Community College of the Air Force3.1%
Colorado Technical University3.1%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|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|
|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 -
|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||Vicom Computer Services, Inc.||Farmingdale, NY||Oct 28, 2015||$145,000|
|Network Architect||Intermedia Group, Inc.||Coppell, TX||May 25, 2016||$102,000|
|Network-On-Chip Architect||Netspeed Systems||San Jose, CA||Apr 18, 2016||$102,000|
|Computer Network Architect||NTT Data, Inc.||Plano, TX||Jan 08, 2016||$101,982 -
|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||Industry, 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 -
|Computer Network Architect||NTT Data, Inc.||Plano, TX||Jan 08, 2016||$85,634 -
|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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Cisco Digital Network Architecture Overview
TechWiseTV: Digital Network Architecture, Part I: The Design
Career Connections (2015) Network Architect