How To Become a Network Architect

Last Updated on August 28, 2022

Online networks are gradually becoming an indispensable part of the enterprise system. It helps employees to communicate and share data quickly.

With such an important role, organizations will need to find network architects who regularly design, upgrade, and maintain systems regularly.

So, how to become a network architect? Follow these steps to score employers:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree or join relevant courses.
  • Earn real-world experience.
  • Get valuable certifications.
  • Apply for a job.

This article will go into detailed analysis and guide step by step in the roadmap. Sounds interesting? Read on.

What Is A Network Architect?

Engineer and architect analyze technology project

A network architect (known as a network engineer or computer architect) is an expert in information technology. Their responsibility is to create and develop computer networks.

These systems are mainly focused on supporting data sharing and digital communication.

They can be large networks located in many different locations or small networks situated in local areas.

Because of their liaison nature, these professionals often work for organizations in the financial, telecommunications, and insurance industries.

Network engineers can also work in computer systems design companies in the information technology department. Here, they will take orders from many different businesses to design new systems.

What Do Network Architects Do?

The architect team is having a discussion

As an information technology specialist, the main job of systems architects is to design and create network models, maintenance, and information security.

Depending on the operational and operational needs of the organization, these experts will analyze and plan to build the appropriate system. Their expertise is in local area networks, wide area networks (WANs), and local area networks (LANs).

Computer systems engineers are responsible for installing and maintaining essential hardware such as computer systems, routers, and modems.

For the workflow to run smoothly, these professionals will have to collaborate with a team of systems administrators, system architects, and other technical experts.

They also need to work with higher management departments to guide communication solutions to technical problems.

Types of Network Architect Careers

Many IT jobs require systems architecture knowledge and experience. Depending on your skills and experience, you can choose the right job.

Here are the three most common job types for network architects.

Systems Administrator

The role of systems administrators is to provide, install, and organize the infrastructure system to support the operation of the business.

They will select and install the appropriate network hardware and software. To do that, these professionals will have to identify the organization’s information technology needs.

After installing and setting up the optimal system of equipment, systems administrators also train users on how to use the software and hardware properly.

Security Analyst

An organization’s network and computer systems contain a lot of important information. So businesses need security analysts to protect them from attacks.

Their responsibilities are to secure the systems, set up firewalls, and install software and encryption programs. As a result, these professionals keep sensitive information private and secure.

You can easily find boot camps that teach system security skills online.

Computer Systems Analyst

For computer systems analysts, the organization’s information technology systems are the most important factor. They are always looking for ways to design and improve systems to make them more efficient.

These professionals must also configure and install new systems to meet the organization’s operational needs. These systems accommodate the service of cloud storage and various software programs.

How To Become A Network Architect

A systems architect position will require a lot of experience and skills. Please refer to the entry conditions below if you are pursuing this career.

The crew of young male and female colleagues

1. Education Requirements

While different network architect positions may have other job descriptions, applicants should generally have a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

Areas that can help you are programming, management information systems, and computer science. Depending on the major, students will be trained with important background knowledge.

For example, for a related bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS), students will study operating system theory, business communication, and database design.

Some senior positions may require applicants to pursue higher degrees or certifications. Some businesses will give preference to those with extensive experience and practical knowledge.

An unexpected trend that we can see a lot these days is that organizations prefer candidates with a master of business (MBA) degree in information systems.

For companies with strong digital transformation, this trend is growing.

You can participate in short courses of about two years. Their content covers computer and business-related subjects to understand systems characteristics in the business sector.

Also, you can learn more about network architecture in the following areas:

Vocational School

Vocational schools are the most popular centers for offering technology courses. Besides, they also support students with communication knowledge, practical practice, and job search.

You can walk around your area to see if any vocational schools train systems administrators. If so, dig deeper into their program.

Network Architect Degrees

Another popular option to learn systems administration knowledge is to attend training courses at universities. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or related fields is a good choice.

These formal training programs also allow students to take computer and business-related courses. You also meet more people to expand your personal network.

Community College

Typical four-year universities often charge quite high tuition fees. Not everyone can afford to pay for it.

Instead, you can opt for lower-fee two-year courses at community colleges. These training centers also have a variety of study programs to choose from.

Another advantage of these classes is that they are small to medium in size. So it’s easy for you to reach out to your instructors and learn from them.

Network Architect Bootcamps

Network architect-related boot camps are short-term intensive programs. It helps you to accumulate practical skills to work in the shortest time.

The training content of these boot camps involves technical skills and basic information structure knowledge.

These boot camps are a worthy investment for those looking to gain more hands-on experience related to this information technology industry.

The cost to attend training boot camps is also more affordable than attending training courses at university. Some places also support jobs for students after graduation.

Thinkful, Springboard, General Assembly, Nucamp, and Flatiron School are the best boot camp centers.

2. Work Experience

Since a systems architect is a management-level position, work experience is required for all candidates.

Most employers are looking for candidates with five to ten years of experience.

This body of practical experience allows professionals to apply their mastery of knowledge on the job.

For more relevant experience, you can start with computers and information technology jobs.

Positions related to network administrator or computer system administrator will benefit you. These positions will be the best springboard for individuals to advance faster in their careers at the entry level.

Another path is to become a database administrator and computer systems analyst. These industry placements will add relevant knowledge to your portfolio.

3. Certification

Depending on the company’s requirements, candidates will need to meet different needs. If you want better compensation and benefits, aim for various licenses and certifications.

Some training systems and certifications from software system vendors include:

CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is one of the leading providers of neutral IT certifications. Systems architects can find many relevant courses here.

Some of the licenses and training programs that you should consider are:

  • CompTIA Security+ Certification
  • CompTIA A+ Certification
  • CompTIA Network+ Certification

VMware

Coming to VMware, you will receive training programs in specialized knowledge and skills to meet the needs of employers.

The different certification levels you should consider:

  • VMware Certified Professional
  • VMware Certified Design Expert
  • VMware Certified Technical Associate
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional

Cisco

Cisco training and education programs provide an environment where network engineers can learn and practice their skills on Cisco networks.

Cisco also accepts candidates with these certifications to work for its facility. Their credentials include five entry levels: associate, professional, expert, and architect.

4. Apply For A Job

As a computer systems architect, you can get a lot of good job opportunities.

However, the most effective job search method is expanding your network and inquiring about opportunities. Those relationships can be friends from the same training course or colleagues working in other positions.

Job opportunities introduced through acquaintances will have a higher success rate. The reason is that they know that your skills and experience are highly compatible with the job requirements.

Another place to look for exciting job opportunities is online forums and job sites for IT professionals.

After applying for a job, you will have to pass an interview. Refer to the video below to get sample questions and appropriate answers.

Network Architect Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor, the number of jobs related to network engineering will grow by 5% from 2020 to 2030. Forecasts show that an additional 11,000 jobs will be added during this time.

The job growth is due to the tendency to move and upgrade the network of systems and technologies of enterprises. They need to hire professionals who can build, upgrade, and maintain these tools.

Network architect creates neural network at his workstation

The good news is that female architects will also have more opportunities. Payscale statistics show that 95.2% of computer systems engineers are male.

That rate at the time was about 97%. It shows that female professionals are starting to enter the field more.

Across the country, computer network architects can earn an average salary of $131,217 per year. This figure is much higher than the base salary.

As a side note, these experts can also earn an additional $15,000 bonus per year if they have impressive performance.

Besides salary, engineers also receive various benefits. Their support package will include a job placement program, the ability to work from home, and a health insurance package.

FAQs

If you have any questions about computer architects, find out the answers in the section below.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Network Architect?

Becoming a true computer architect will take you about five to ten years.

It takes a long time to train an employee for this position because it belongs to the management level. So you will need a lot of hands-on experience in professional network management.

Accumulating more experience will bring higher compensation and salary when applying for this position.

Can You Become A Network Architect From Home?

Yes, you can absolutely become an architect right at home. Technological developments have made courses on these skills more common and accessible.

You can choose and take online courses and build your own portfolio right at home.

However, taking formal courses and having the guidance of professors will help you have a better background.

How Many Hours Per Week Do Network Architects Work?

Typically, computer systems architects work 40 hours per week. Should urgent problems arise, these specialists may have to work overtime.

However, some others may work on a project or contract basis. There, they regulate working hours according to the organization’s requirements.

Is It Hard To Become A Network Engineer?

Yes, since this is a management-level job, it won’t be easy. For modern businesses, systems administration is one of the most challenging areas.

However, it will be easier for those who regularly accumulate experience and apply knowledge in practice. To go further in your career, you have to study and work hard.

Conclusion

To become a network architect, you will need to learn, practice continuously, and hone your skills and knowledge. This job requires some management-level skills, but you get the compensation you deserve in return.

Take a look at some of the university’s full-time bachelor’s degree programs. Otherwise, you can attend community colleges and boot camps that are budget-friendly and have quicker training times.

No matter what, the key is still working hard. Always upgrade yourself from time to time, and you will receive more attractive offers.