Network Architect Job Description
The primary role of Network Architects, also known as Network Engineers, is to develop and implement computer network systems for large or small companies. They might design systems for use within a single building or large networks spanning cities or even countries. They install routers, modems and other hardware and software needed to make these data communication networks operate and determine the layout of cables and other components for these network systems. Network Architects also upgrade existing systems. Finally, Network Architects will maintain and troubleshoot network systems and make repairs or adjustments as needed.
Network Architects can be employed in any type of industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment growth for Network Architects is projected to be 9 percent through 2024. The continued expansion of networking technology, most notably expected in the healthcare industry, is thought to be a major reason for this growth. However, the growing use of cloud computing could adversely affect this projected growth.
Network Architect Duties and Responsibilities
Network Architects must complete various tasks in order to install, upgrade and maintain corporate network systems. We have analyzed several Network Architect job listings and found the following duties and responsibilities among the most commonly indicated for this occupation.
Design Network Systems
Network Architects determine the data communications needs of the company they are working for and develop the best systems to meet these needs. This includes designing servers, configuring components and troubleshooting any issues prior to implementation.
Plan the Installation and Implementation of Network Systems
From determining cable layout and placement to selecting modems and routers, Network Architects oversee the installation and implementation of computer network systems. They maintain documentation during the installation and implementation processes, manage staff and ensure that the project is completely on schedule.
Upgrade Existing Network Components
In addition to designing and installing new systems, Network Architects are also responsible for upgrading components in existing networks. They might install new routers, switches, security software or other parts to improve the operation of a system.
Maintain and Monitor Networking Equipment
Network Architects continually monitor networking systems and make necessary adjustments and minor repairs to keep these systems operating smoothly. They also perform scheduled maintenance on network systems to avoid any down time due to networking issues.
Network Architect Skills
Among the major skills that Network Architects should possess include analytical, problem-solving and communication skills. They should be team-building, detail-oriented leaders with extensive knowledge of various types of computer operating, security and wireless systems. Strong time management and critical thinking skills are also necessary. In addition to these vital abilities, Network Architects should also be capable of the following:
- Assessing company network needs.
- Designing data network systems.
- Applying troubleshooting skills to resolve network issues.
- Repairing and maintaining networks.
- Implementing new network and data storage systems.
Network Architect Tools of the Trade: Network Architects utilize several technological tools and specific knowledge to carry out all job responsibilities. If you are interested in becoming a Network Architect, you would need to be capable of using or have knowledge of the following:
Computer networking components – routers, modems, adapters, switches and servers are the main components of a networking system and Network Architects must have full knowledge of these items.
Communication systems - knowledge of communication technologies such as wireless, mobile applications and telecommunications systems is important for Network Architects.
Project management – Network Architects should be well-trained in all aspects of project management, such as team-building, staff training and scheduling.
Network Architect Education and Training
Many employers request that Network Architects hold a 4-year degree in computer science, information technology, information science or a related area. A degree in business administration might also be acceptable. Professional level network certifications, such as CISCO or Juniper, are also required in many cases.
Network Architect Salary
As expressed in the most recent statistics provided by the BLS, Network Architects earn a median annual salary of $101,210. Network Architects earning at the lowest 10th percentile are paid a median yearly wage of $55,610, while those at the top end of this pay range realize a median salary of $158,590. Those employed as Network Architects in California are paid the highest annual mean wage in the country at $125,340. Those working in Oregon ($121,250) and New Jersey ($120,150) are the second- and third-highest earners in the U.S.
Network Architect Resources
In order to help you obtain the most in-depth information about a career as a Network Architect, we have assembled additional information below. You will find links to books, blogs and professional organizations below that will give you more insight into this occupation.
Network Professional Association (NPA) – Since 1993, NPA has been providing Network Architects with various publications and career development opportunities as well as interviews with experts in the field.
IPSpace Blog – With well over 20 years as a Network Architect, Ivan Pepelnjak offers a blog that gives you a personal look at the duties of this profession. Covers standards, best practices and more.
The Networking Nerd – Professional Network Architect Tom Hollingsworth explores current trends and topics in this field and offers insight into the impact and evolution of these trends and how they affect network architecture careers.
Network Computing – An extensive online publication devoted to Network Architects. You will find articles and blogs focusing on networking, cloud computing, data storage, wireless technology and data storage written by trusted professionals. The site also offers videos and links to white papers.
The Art of Network Architecture: Business-Driven Design (Networking Technology) by Russ White and Denise Donohue – Two Network Architects guide you through a solutions-based look at this career. Covers everything from making technological choices to security design, with detailed discussions about mobility, network virtualization, customizing designs and so much more.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam by Gary A. Donahue – Rather that simulations, this book provides a real-life look at networks and network tools. You’ll get explanations about routers, switches and other components as well as details about configuration, security, protocols and telecommunications and wireless technologies.
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