Computer Network Architects

by Kate Williams

What Computer Network Architects Do

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilhLnDRtwZo

Work Environment

Most computer network architects work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Computer Network Architect

Most computer network architects have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and experience in a related occupation, such as network and computer systems administrators.

Pay

The median annual wage for computer network architects was $112,690 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of computer network architects is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for computer network architects will increase as firms continue to expand their information technology (IT) networks.

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets. These networks range from small connections between two offices to next-generation networking capabilities such as a cloud infrastructure that serves multiple customers. Network architects must have extensive knowledge of an organization’s business plan to design a network that can help the organization achieve its goals.

Duties

Computer network architects typically do the following:

  • Create plans and layouts for data communication networks
  • Present plans to management and explain why they are in the organization’s best interest to pursue them
  • Consider information security when designing networks
  • Upgrade hardware, such as routers or adaptors, and software, such as network drivers, as needed to support computer networks
  • Research new networking technologies to determine what would best support their organization in the future

Computer network architects, or network engineers, design and deploy computer and information networks. After deployment, they also may manage the networks and troubleshoot any issues as they arise. Network architects also predict future network needs by analyzing current data traffic and estimating how growth will affect the network.

Some computer network architects work with other IT workers, such as network and computer system administrators and computer and information systems managers to ensure workers’ and clients’ networking needs are being met. They also must work with equipment and software vendors to manage upgrades and support the networks.

Computer network architects held about 160,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of computer network architects were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 27%
Telecommunications 10
Management of companies and enterprises 8
Insurance carriers and related activities 5
Educational services; state, local, and private 4

Computer network architects spend most of their time in offices, but occasionally work in server rooms where they have access to the hardware that make up an organization’s computer and information network.

Work Schedules

Most computer network architects work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of computer network architects.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology.

Master’s degree $122,840

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

Bachelor’s degree $146,360

Computer Hardware Engineers

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components.

Bachelor’s degree $117,220

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

Bachelor’s degree $86,550

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations.

See How to Become One $54,760

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective.

Bachelor’s degree $90,920

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data.

Bachelor’s degree $93,750

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Bachelor’s degree $99,730

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.

Bachelor’s degree $83,510

Software Developers

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or another device.

Bachelor’s degree $107,510

For more information about computer careers, visit

Association for Computing Machinery

IEEE Computer Society

Computing Research Association

CompTIA

For information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit

National Center for Women & Information Technology

O*NET

Computer Network Architects

Telecommunications Engineering Specialists


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Network Architects,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm (visited ).


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