Network architecture jobs are some of the most sought after in the IT industry. Modern businesses need modern computer networks to maintain their competitive advantage, and a network architect can do just that. As a result, there are thousands of network architect job roles available in the job market.
If you are looking to delve into a career in computer architecture, consider both your level of education and specialized technical skills. Determining how to become a network architect involves learning more about the job’s responsibilities, educational requirements, annual earnings, and growth outlook.
What Is a Network Architect?
A network architect, also called a network engineer, is an expert who manages the computer networking system of an organization. Computer networking links computers together and lets individuals share and receive information seamlessly. A network architect provides the infrastructure that supports software behind email, Internet browsers, memory, and more.
Organizations and businesses rely on network architects to design and maintain information sharing and business communication frameworks. For example, they create communication networks, cloud infrastructure, and networking technologies to meet the operational needs of businesses.
Network Architect Job Description
A network architect is a tech professional tasked with network design and modeling, security, and maintenance. People in this job role analyze the operational needs of an organization and draft a plan to meet those needs. They uphold data communication networks like intranets, local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs).
Network architects are responsible for installing and maintaining essential hardware like routers, modems, and computer systems. In addition, network architects usually work with a team of network engineers, network administrators, and other technical experts. They also liaise with higher management to provide communication solutions to technical problems.
Network Architect Salary and Job Outlook
The job role of a network architect is a critical part of an organization’s technical department. As a result, they earn a fair salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), network architects earn an average salary of $116,780. This is much higher than average because the role of network architect requires extensive experience and educational services.
As more organizations increase their use of computer networks, the employment rates for skilled network architects will increase in the upcoming years. As a result, the average growth rate for network architects is projected to be five percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.
Top Reasons to Become a Network Architect in 2021
There are several reasons to consider a career in the networking field. You can earn a high salary and work in a rewarding position in one of the best tech jobs. Below are some of the reasons you might consider becoming a computer network architect.
- Competitive pay. A network architect enjoys one of the best financial remunerations in the tech industry. Even more impressive, professionals with specific skills and certifications can earn more than the average salary.
- Positive job outlook. There is no shortage of jobs in network architecture. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a five percent increase in the field’s overall growth rate between 2020 and 2030.
- Challenging and innovative work. One of the major requirements for a job in network architecture is strong problem-solving and analytical skills. Therefore, a network architecture career would be ideal for you if you are interested in tech and possess the required analytical skills to thrive in the field.
Network Architect Job Requirements
The basic requirements for a network architect job role differ from position to position. However, there are three key elements that candidates must possess to thrive in this career. Read below to learn more about the skills, education, and experience you need to get a job as a network architect.
- Educational requirements. Generally, candidates need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or another computer-related field. Some advanced positions may require that you also have a master’s degree.
- Work experience. Candidates looking to assume a computer architect role must have at least five years of experience in working with computer networking systems.
- Network architect certifications. You might also need to pass technical exams and gain specific credentials to prove your expertise. Employers of network architects value certifications, especially for system-specific job roles.
Types of Network Architect Careers
A career in network architecture allows you to fit into countless jobs in IT. While the specific role that’s best for you depends on your acquired skillset, below are some of the most common network architect career pathways. A skilled network architect can enter many types of jobs.
Systems administrators organize, install, and provide infrastructure to support the day-to-day activities of businesses. They determine an organization’s IT needs and install network hardware and software to reach the best network performance. They also train users on the proper usage of hardware and software.
Security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer network and systems. They install network security software, firewalls, and encryption programs that safeguard sensitive information. You can attend one of the best cyber security bootcamps to get this job.
Computer systems analysts uphold an organization’s IT systems and design solutions to help them operate more efficiently. They install and configure new systems and configure them to meet the organization’s operational needs. They might work on systems designs, software programs, and cloud services.
Network Architect Meaning: What Does a Network Architect Do?
The general function of a network architect is to design networking solutions that meet the long-term technological and business goals of an organization. Below are some of the typical job roles and responsibilities of a network architect.
Computer network architects design streamline communication networks for businesses. These include frameworks for transmission equipment, network drivers, communication protocols, software updates, and hardware installation. These processes all facilitate seamless connectivity between the company’s numerous IT components.
Upgrades Existing Networks
Network architects perform routine checks on the computer network system to identify updates or problems on servers and ensure that the company’s computer system functions efficiently. This is important because tech is always changing and network upgrades are an important part of that change.
Predicts Network Trends of the Future
Network architects design and uphold computer networks while still considering next-generation network capabilities. They analyze current data and form estimations that guide them through creating future networks. To do this, they need to stay up to date with emerging developments in the field.
Essential Network Architect Skills
Network architects need to possess a balanced mix of hard technical skills and soft skills. This is vital because they need to avoid technical mistakes if the network is to perform correctly. Below are a few of the essential skills to thrive as a network architect.
Network architects need to possess technical knowledge of popular programming languages such as Python, Perl, and JSON and automation frameworks like Ansible and Puppet. In addition, they also need to know how to work with communications systems, network services, and server visualization technologies.
A large part of the job description for a network architect is working with higher management on business plans, strategies, and solutions. They also need to communicate regularly with software firms and tech vendors, making excellent communication skills essential for any potential network architecture candidate.
A network architect must possess the ability to work in leadership positions and efficiently direct operations in IT departments. Network architects must have the interpersonal and organizational skills necessary to manage projects. With more experience, they can become systems managers, network analysts, or network specialists.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Network Architect?
It can take five to 10 years of experience to become a network architect. The role of a network architect is a high-level management position that requires hands-on experience with professional network management. More experience brings a higher salary for network architects.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Network Architect?
Yes, numerous coding bootcamps offer network architecture courses that can help you become a network architect. These classes are relatively easy and help you gain a deep understanding of communication technologies and network components. In addition, the bootcamp courses are flexible, so students can dictate their learning pace for optimal learning.
Can I Become A Network Architect From Home?
Yes, you can become a network architect from home. It has become relatively easy to learn tech skills. Students can easily take an online course from the comfort of their homes and build their portfolios themselves. However, learning under the guidance of experts is a better educational path to become a network architect.
How to Become a Network Architect: A Step-by-Step Guide
Delving into a career in network architecture can be challenging if you don’t know what steps to take or which specific career path to follow. Our step-by-step guide can help make it easier to break into the network architecture field.
Step 1: Major in a Computer-Related Field
You should seek a form of higher education to build your skills and get experience. Study a computer-related degree like computer science, information technology, or information systems. The programs will help you gain extensive knowledge of network architecture. You can also attend a bootcamp to get an education.
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Step 2: Seek Experience
Like any other advanced tech position, network architects need to gain relevant, hands-on experience. Start with the basics of computer networking doing job tasks, like monitoring the day-to-day operation of computer networks, implementing security measures to protect the system, maintaining wireless network connections, and making recommendations.
Step 3: Earn Certifications
Many employers require that network architects possess relevant certifications, potentially even in the products that they use and manufacture. The best way to improve your chances of landing a job with a specific product vendor or a software firm is to get a vendor-specific certification to verify that you can work in a particular networking environment.
Best Schools and Education for a Network Architect Career
You can go down various paths to learn the basics of network architecture and develop your technical skills. Each one can help you get the education you need to enter the field. Below are just a few examples of some possible learning platforms.
Network Architect Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are short-term intensive programs that prepare students for a tech career by teaching them practical job-ready skills. Network architect bootcamps provide a learning platform that takes students through network architecture basics and expert skills. You can quickly develop your skills and begin your career by attending a coding bootcamp.
Network architect bootcamps are cheaper than traditional higher education and can even provide job assistance and career support for their graduation. Some notable examples of the best coding bootcamps are Flatiron School, Springboard, General Assembly, Thinkful, and Nucamp.
Vocational schools are educational institutions that provide a cheaper learning platform to learn technical skills. In addition, these institutions offer practical training and career-focused classes to equip students with the skills needed to launch their tech careers. Take a look at vocational schools in your area to see if there are programs for network architecture.
If you want a college degree without the high cost of a typical four-year university, then opt for a two-year course in network architecture at a community college. Community colleges offer affordable and flexible classes in a variety of tech fields. Moreover, the classes are smaller compared to a four-year university, which provides one-on-one guidance from professors.
Network Architect Degrees
You can attend a university to get a network architect undergraduate degree. Typically, employers require that their network architect candidate possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related technology field. Degree programs can also help you build interpersonal skills and take business and computer-related courses.
The Most Important Network Architect Certifications
Network architect certifications are crucial to landing a job in tech. In addition to reaffirming technical skills and job experience, employers often impose certification requirements when recruiting network architects. Stay ahead of the job market and up to date on some of the most sought-after network architect certifications.
CompTIA, short for the Computing Technology Industry Association, is one of the leading providers of vendor-neutral IT certifications. It develops training and certification programs for network architects, such as the CompTIA A+ Certification, CompTIA Security+ certification, and CompTIA Network+ certification.
VMware offers programs that prove candidate skills, knowledge, and expertise to prospective employers. There are different certification levels, such as the VMware Certified Technical Associate, VMware Certified Professional, VMware Certified Advanced Professional, and VMware Certified Design Expert.
Cisco training and programs provide a platform for network architects to prove their technical expertise and skills on a Cisco-certified network. They offer five levels of certification: entry, associate, professional, expert, and architect. These certifications can also help you get a job at Cisco.
How to Prepare for Your Network Architect Job Interview
Even after acquiring your degree, work experience, and certifications, you still have to sit in front of a panel during your interview for a network architect job. Therefore, it’s highly beneficial to research your company beforehand and practice interview questions. Below are some of the typical network architect interview questions to expect.
Network Architect Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are the roles of a network architect?
- What are the qualities that a network architect should possess to be effective?
- What significant challenges did you face during your last job role?
- Describe the daily routine of a network architect.
- What kind of strategies and mindset are required for this role?
- What is the biggest challenge that you predict in this job?
Should I Become a Network Architect in 2021?
Yes, you should become a network architect in 2021. The network architect position has a lucrative annual salary and a positive job outlook in the coming years. As a result, there’s an increasing demand for network architects in the labor market. Network architecture is an exciting and rewarding field for tech experts.
Network Architect FAQ
Can You Become a Network Architect Without a Degree?
Yes, coding bootcamps, community college, and vocational schools are valuable alternatives to help you develop the skills you need for a career in network architecture.
Is It Hard to Become a Network Architect?
Yes. Network administration is a challenging aspect of modern IT systems. However, it gets easier as you gain experience on the job. Like other IT professions, you must work hard and learn as much as possible throughout your career.
How Many Hours Per Week Do Network Architects Work?
Typically, network architects work around 40 hours a week, though they may be required to work longer hours if there are pressing deadlines. However, many network architects also work on a contract basis and can determine their job schedule.
What Specific Certifications Does a Network Architect Need?
In general, network architects should have a few IT certifications to prove their skills in networking skills and technologies. The most sought-after certifications are Cisco, CompTIA, and VMware.
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