In order for any company today to conduct business, they need reliable networks to do so. That means that staff must be able to communicate with one another and their customers, and have a dependable way to see, change, and store necessary information. On top of that, these networks need to be safe too.
Network architects are a crucial component of creating, modifying, and troubleshooting business networks. They manage LAN and WAN communications, along with larger-scale network security. They create roadmaps, offer necessary technical guidance, and much more.
In order to thrive in this position, you’ll want to have a very thorough understanding of computer hardware and network systems and terminology. On top of having solid analytical skills, obtaining certifications related to security and networking will go a long way in making you competitive.
Sample job description
Network architects are responsible for managing an organization’s network systems. They make sure all computers communicate safely and seamlessly, manage wireless access points, data storage and retrieval, and much more. These architects keep companies talking by making sure they can communicate both internally and externally by installing and maintaining LAN and WAN networks, routers, modems, and computer systems. They also work closely with other engineers, architects, and technical experts and may liaise with upper management contacts to prevent and resolve technical issues. Are you an analytical thinker with a knack for problem-solving? Are you a great team player with keen attention to detail? [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced network architect. If the above sounds like you, please apply!
Typical duties and responsibilities
Manage technical network solutions and frameworks
Perform network troubleshooting to isolate and diagnose common network problems
Upgrade network hardware and software components as required
Design, test, and inspect network systems
Perform network planning, modeling, and analysis
Install and maintain hardware such as cables, hubs, routers, and wireless adaptors
Design, implement and manage security countermeasures when network vulnerabilities arise
Analyze, engineer, and execute software functions
Develop and deliver professional proposals and design documentation
Manage technology vendors
Education and experience
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, information technology, or a related field. Employers prefer job candidates with a master’s degree in business administration, five to ten years of experience working with information technologies, and certification in CompTIA A+ or CCENT.
Required skills and qualifications
Extensive knowledge of computer operations and systems
Expertise in written and verbal communication skills
Certifications courses such as CompTIA A+ or CCENT are a plus
Excellent problem-solving and analytical abilities
Keen attention to detail
Strong communication skills both oral and written
Strong computer skills including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Strong computer skills in Window products and must be able to learn new computer programs as required to perform job functions
Typical work environment
A network architect can expect to work in an office environment for the majority of their workday. They may be required to set up and install physical systems in various locations. This may mean visiting office areas, hallways, server closets, and other locations and might require being hunched, squatting, standing on ladders, or other light activity.
The typical work hours for a network architect are from 9 AM to 5 PM in an office setting.
As network architects work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:
Network 5 Certification. This certification provided by the EC-Council provides the most basic, foundational understanding of networks. You’ll learn the concepts and best practices of creating and maintaining functional networks. This is an excellent certification to obtain if you’re new to the field and working your way on to higher levels of training and responsibility.
Cisco CCIE Routing and Switching. By obtaining this certification, the holder will demonstrate an expert-level understanding and knowledge of networking across various LAN and WAN interfaces. You’ll be well versed in a variety of routing and switching systems, and have an excellent understanding of the foundation of business networking.
CCNP Service Provider Operations. The Cisco Certified Network Professional in Service Provider Operations reinforces and validates knowledge within the scope of troubleshooting and maintaining network infrastructures. By obtaining this certification, you can identify and isolate performance problems, implement fallback and fault measures, and keep the integrity of frameworks and management systems.
CCIE Data Center. By obtaining this certification, the holder demonstrates an expert-level skill in preparing, planning, monitoring, and operating high-level, complex data center networks. Those who hold this certification have demonstrated an exceptional level of understanding and hold the highest level of technical skill as certified by Cisco.
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, information technology, or a related field. Employers prefer that applicants have a master’s in business administration. As for work experience, employers like to see job candidates with five to ten years working with information technologies, in positions such as database administrator or computer systems analyst. With experience, a network architect can advance to information systems manager.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 15-1241
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
According to an article in the industry website Focal Point, one trend that will affect the technology industry is the rising demand for cybersecurity. According to the report, network architect is one of the five in-demand cybersecurity jobs; 2020 was the first year this occupation made the list. “To meet the growing demands of today’s businesses, (ISC) 2 estimates that the U.S. cybersecurity workforce would need to increase by 62 percent.”