Job description

Computer network architects design, construct and install data communication networks, such as Intranets, local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). Their role also entails understanding the business model and objective of the company they work for to ensure that the network can facilitate the organisation’s mission.

Duties

    • Design computer and information networks
    • Manage, troubleshoot, repair or replace networks when problems occur
    • Produce blueprints, layouts and plans for implementation of data communication networks
    • Identify information security when putting together appropriate networks
    • Conduct routine testing of computer networks
    • Assess the efficacy of networks and compose reports on network analysis, budget and planning
    • Gather and analyse data traffic and calculate how growth will impact the network
    • Present ideas to management and outline why they are important and relevant to the firm
    • Learn about the latest networking technologies that might support a company’s information technology
    • Upgrade software (network drivers) and hardware (adapters) that are necessary for networks
    • Collaborate with other IT employees to determine if the company’s networks needs are being satisfied
    • Communicate with software vendors or equipment retailers to manage upgrades for tech support management
    • Explain to the company about the latest networking capabilities, such as cloud computing
    • Examine what competitors use and deduce if their technology is in line with yours

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Analytical
Tech-savvy
Attention to detail
Communication
Leadership
Teamwork
Decision-making
Organisational
Creativity
Numerical
Problem-solving

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

A computer network architect will typically maintain a 40-hour workweek completed during regular business hours. That said, you may also be required to work some evenings or weekends, such as when systems go down.

For the most part, you will be working in an office, but you will also spend portion of your day in server rooms to work with the hardware.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$60k

Median

$110k

Top 10%

$160k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

Undergraduate

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

4years

To become a computer network architect, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering.

Some employers prefer candidates who possess a master’s degree or a PhD.

However, you can sometimes bypass this requirement by attaining the necessary certifications and credentials, such as the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA), Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) or Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certification, which all ultimately lead to the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) accreditation.

You can also think about applying for Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA), Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) or the Open Group TOGAF 9 certifications.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

6%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

10.5k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

21%

Career progression

You’ll typically begin your career in administration – computer, computer systems, network and database – and you’ll usually need a minimum of 5 to 10 years experience working in these fields in order to be considered for a computer network architect position.

With experience, you can become a computer and information systems manager.