How to Become a Network Architect

How to Become a Network Architect: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a network architect, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a network architect:


• Do you enjoy work that involves large amounts of heavy thinking?

• Are you able to develop conceptual, logical, and physical network designs?

• Do you enjoy matching possible business solutions to business problems?

• Do you enjoy working with other information technology professionals?


Those who become network architects are typically individuals with a natural aptitude in mathematics and information technology. They also tend to have skills in designing, building, or operating equipment configuration prototypes, including network hardware, software, servers, or server operation systems.


Those who become network architects are also typically individuals with excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They enjoy the prospect of a career that allows them to leverage their mathematical, IT and problem solving skills to provide with a competitive edge to their employer by creating real-world technical solutions for reducing inefficiency.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a network architect. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Network Architect

In order to become a network architect, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, computer engineering, or a closely related field. However, some employers may prefer candidates that hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in information systems.


If you want to become a network architect, it is also a good idea to pursue coursework in coding languages, such as HTML, Java and PHP. Being able to interpret these languages will provide you with the ability to develop your own computer programs and will make you very marketable to potential employers. 




Network Architect Job Description

Network architects are responsible for planning, setting up and maintaining computer networks, systems and other related infrastructure for organizations. They may also be hired by organizations to improve their existing computer network.


Network architects must also review business structures in order to ensure proper flow and functionality of Internet systems and information databases. They may be responsible for determining how to grant the employees of an organization access to the Internet and in-house information databases in the most affordable and efficient way.


When planning and designing a computer network project on behalf of an organization, a network architect must take many factors into consideration; they must consider a company’s budget, its number of employees and current computer resources.



Network Architect Job Duties

• Determine the most effective method of storing computer files for a company

• Plan, install and manage computing and networking systems, including databases and Internet access

• Liaise with other IT (information technology) specialists within the company 

• Design programs that can protect companies from cyber-attacks on the Internet

• Review and analyze routers, servers and other system hardware

• Use computer models to test bandwidth and other features

• Make recommendations regarding product upgrades or new products based on analysis of existing products

• Create schedules for employees

• Review system objectives

• Act as primary point of contact for technical questions

• Guide technicians who diagnose complex computer system issues



Who Creates Jobs for Network Architects?

Network architects are hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by small, medium and large organizations. As designing network systems is typically a one-time project, computer network architects are frequently only needed for a short period of time; many network architects are hired on a part-time or contractual basis.


Network architects may however be hired as full-time employees of contracting companies, or as full-time employees of large organizations that are in may need to continuously monitor and scrutinize their computer network in order to ensure efficiency, and make modifications and improvements.


Companies that hire Network Architects include:


• Construction companies

• Utility companies

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Hospitals and health care organizations

• Colleges and universities

• Federal, provincial/state and municipal government departments

• Transportation companies

• Telecommunications companies

• Insurance and finance companies

• IT and management consulting companies

• Computer systems design companies



Experience Needed to Become a Network Architect

In addition to education, employers also tend to hire candidates for Network Architect jobs that have several years of work experience in network administration, or in other information technology systems jobs. This may include work experience in system configuration, implementation, project management, or network support; positions that require a high level of technical expertise.


Working in such positions is highly advantageous if you want to become a network architect, as they provide you with opportunities to use computer knowledge and hone problem-solving skills.





Work Conditions for Network Architects

Working Hours: Network architects typically work normal weekday working schedules, which involves working 35-40 hours per week. They may be required to work some evenings or weekends to meet deadlines or solve specific problems.


Work Setting: Network architects usually work in well-lit offices or laboratories in comfortable surroundings. Network architects that work for contracting or consulting companies, or that work as self-employed contractors, may work in several different offices or buildings throughout the year.


Work Environment: The workday of a network architect may be quite stressful and busy, as they are responsible for designing and planning new computer networks for a company. Network architects frequently work in teams, but may also work independently. They frequently consult with customers, programmers, managers, and other staff members



Skills Needed to Become a Network Architect

In order to become successful in a career as a network architect, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, as well as maintain enthusiasm for your work.


Personal Characteristics


• Enjoy working with other information technology professionals

• A keen interest in keeping up to date with technological advancements

• Enjoy performing work that involves precision

• Enjoy developing and implementing solutions for network problems

• Results-oriented approach to work activities

• Value feelings of accomplishment


Soft Skills


• The ability to think logically and analyze complex problems

• The ability to work effectively under pressure

• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

• Must have ingenuity and take initiative


Hard Skills


• Knowledge of how to adjust network sizes to meet volume or capacity demands

• Able to develop conceptual, logical, and physical network designs

• Able to develop procedures to track, project, or report network availability, reliability, capacity, or utilization

• Able to design, build, or operate equipment configuration prototypes, including network hardware, software, servers, or server operation systems



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Network Architect Salary

The salary level of network architects can vary depending on their level of education, their level of experience, the size and type of their employer, and many other factors.


Network Architect Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Computer and Network Operators and Web Technicians occupational group earn an average of between $26.65 and $38.98 per hour.


Network Architect Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, workers in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group earn an average salary of $63,081 per year.


Network Architect Salary United States: American workers in the Computer Network Architects occupational group earn a median salary level of $91,000 per year according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. 



Careers Similar to Network Architect

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Network Architect, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Business Analyst

Computer Scientist

IT Analyst

Network Engineer

Software Designer



References: How to Become a Network Architect

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Network Architect.


Occupations in Alberta: Cloud Architect.” (March 15, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 5, 2020.

Computers & Information Technology: “Computer Network Architects.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 5, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Network Architect

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Network Architect can be found on our Computer Science Scholarships and Computer Engineering Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Network Architect: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Network Architect. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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