If you are considering becoming a network architect, this post is what you need. It contains all the information helpful in preparing and pursuing in this field.
The network architect is one of the very high-skill positions, but a few outstanding bonuses come with being a network architect.
So whether you are just starting in the field or hold some experience, this article will also have what you need to find. Let’s read on to catch valuable information.
Computer networking should link all computers together and let people receive and share information seamlessly. Network architects, also called network engineers, are experts in managing their organizations’ computer networking systems.
These professionals also provide the infrastructure that supports software behind Internet browsers, memory, email, and more.
Businesses and organizations usually rely on these experts to design and maintain business communication frameworks and information sharing.
For example, they produce cloud infrastructure, networking technologies, and communication networks to fulfill the operational needs of businesses.
Duties and Responsibilities
Network architects are responsible for designing, developing, and implementing data communication networks that fulfill the needs of their organizations.
As deployed, these experts should monitor the network and perform network modeling tasks to assess future needs.
Here are their common job responsibilities:
- Plan and design data communication networks.
- Oversee the network implementation process, including setting budgets and schedules.
- Present network plans to their management staff and stakeholders.
- Manage network and information security.
- Implement upgrades to software and hardware as needed.
- Repair network equipment and perform maintenance.
- Keep documentation of networks, including descriptions, configurations, and drawings.
- Research network technologies and always stay up to date on advancements in this field.
Most network architects are hired by computer systems design or related services, insurance and finance, telecommunications, and many firms and enterprises.
Network architects work full time and use most of their time in an office. They might occasionally work in server rooms where they can access the hardware that makes up the computer and information network of their organizations.
You can choose to complete your responsibilities and roles as a network architect remotely. But, because of the position’s nature, effectively communicating with other team members, suppliers, clients, and other stakeholders while working remotely is still necessary.
Most network architects work at least full-time, sometimes more than 40-hour work weeks. Becoming self-employed and working as a freelancer or contract or starting a computer network architecture firm is also possible.
If you can mention becoming an architect in this field, you will need to know its typical education requirements to decide if this profession is right for you.
To start a career in this field, you are often required to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. For example, getting a degree in information systems, engineering, mathematics, or computer science is okay.
Computer-related coursework will provide you with the relevant knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience needed to complete your job duties as a network architect.
Learning about various software, programs, and technologies used in this field is also necessary. It usually takes you about four years to get a bachelor’s degree.
Some employers require their candidates to have more advanced degrees, such as master’s or doctor’s, for higher-level roles. Some professionals hold a Master of Business Administration degree in information systems.
It may take two years to complete a master’s program, while a doctorate might take four to six years. It is worth receiving advanced degrees as they could help advance your career and showcase your extensive expertise and skill in this field.
When looking for a network architect, most employers favor candidates with five experience years (or more) of working with IT systems. The experience level may vary by role or employer, with options requiring at least ten years.
Getting relevant experience via internships or entry-level positions in the field is possible. For example, you can work as an administrator, computer systems analyst, database administrator, or network engineer.
Your years of experience can prove that you have the knowledge and skills needed to perform your job effectively. For example, you can share achievements from your previous roles to set yourself apart from others.
The network architect has many certifications, typically through product vendors and specific software. Many certificates feature various levels you can get when you continue to advance relevant knowledge and skills.
Getting a certificate is optional but often recommended because employers favor it. The certification will make it easier for you to apply for a job.
As a network architect, you will need multiple skills, including hard and soft skills, including to do your job effectively. These including:
Network architects’ roles are beyond sitting behind computers and coding. So becoming a network architect requires a unique set of hard skills to be successful, including:
- Network Assessment.
- Data Network System Design.
- Repair and Troubleshoot Issues.
- Software And Hardware Know-How.
- Adapt and Upgrade Existing Systems.
- Implementing New Storage Systems and Networks.
Like many technology professions, soft skills have become equally as essential as hard skills for network architects. Here are some soft skills you will need to hone as a network architect.
- Team Player
- Analytical Skills
- Critical Thinking
- Time Management
- Creative Problem Solving
- Project Management
- Verbal and Written Communication
- Detail-Oriented Interpersonal Skills
Here are the top 10 best network tools that pros network architects should carry in their toolbox:
- Notepad ++
- Process Hacker
- SolarWinds TFTP Server.
- System Monitor (Sysmon
- WireShark and Microsoft Message Analyzer.
- RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools).
According to the U.S BLS, the overall job outlook of network architects is positive, with an expected growth rate of around five percent through 2028.
This number is a bit above the average rate of increase for all occupations throughout the United States for the same period.
Much of this rise might be derived from the increasingly complicated networks and the growing size of modern networks because of mobile and wireless device demand.
The average annual salary for a network architect in the US is $137,885. It is approximately $66.29 per hour, $2,651 per week, and $11,490per month.
Most network architects currently range from $114,000 to $156,000, with top earners getting about $182,000 annually across the US.
The average salary range for these network architects is incredibly varied, showing there may be various chances for increased pay and advancement based on location, years of experience, and skill level.
No profession is perfect, and the network architect is no exception. But the good news is that the downsides of being an expert in the field are insignificant compared to their benefits.
- There are jobs in various sectors.
- This profession is in high demand, so there is less job competition.
- There are various opportunities for growth, skill development, and opportunities to specialize in one particular area.
- Most computer networkers love their roles as they feel challenged daily and have great satisfaction as they overcome these challenges.
- It could be one high-pressure and fast-paced environment.
- Network networkers sometimes must be on call, work long hours, and overtime.
- Some tasks can be mundane and boring.
- It is one sedentary job, considered part of a healthy life.
- Becoming a true expert is impossible as technology is constantly changing, and it will be challenging to keep up.
Becoming a network architect may take about a decade (10 years).
The network architect’s roles are high-level management positions that require hands-on experience with professional network management.
The more experience network architects have, the higher their salary.
Yes. It is one of the complex aspects of IT systems. But it will become easier when you gain experience on the job. Like other IT positions, working hard and learning as much as you can throughout your career is essential.
There is no fixed path to becoming a network architect. But if you don’t know where to start, these basic steps can help:
- Step 1: Major in a Computer-Related Field.
- Step 2: Seek Experience.
- Step 3: Earn Certifications.
- Step 4: Continued Education and Skill Development.
- Step 5: Look for a job.
Yes. It is possible to become one network architect from home by taking online courses from the comfort of your home and building your portfolios.
But learning with the help of a pro is a better educational path to becoming one network architect.
Many job titles exist for professionals with IT architecture education and backgrounds, such as:
- Enterprise Architect.
- Network Security Architect.
- Cisco Network Architect.
- Network Administrator.
- Network Engineer.
- Senior Network Architect.
- Systems Architect.
- Network Architect.
As a network architect, you can work in finance, business, government, criminal justice, medicine, and science.
A network architect typically works around 40 hours per week, though they may need to work longer if they are dealing with pressing deadlines.
Also, some network architects work on a contract basis and allow them to determine their job schedule.
Yes. You can go with valuable alternatives, such as community colleges, vocational schools, and coding boot camps, to help you gain needed skills for a career in the network architecture field.
You can hold multiple titles as a network architect, such as an enterprise architect and a computer network architect.
Your title should depend on your employer. But most responsibilities and roles, work experience, and education requirements remain relatively similar.
You can become a network architect in various ways. As a professional in this field, you can work in most industries and for nearly any firm type.
As a graduate, you can also pursue this career via education, certification, as well as work experience. This profession is expected to grow over the next decade.