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Computer Network Architects
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Description: what do they do?
Design and implement computer and information networks, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranets, extranets, and other data communications networks. Perform network modeling, analysis, and planning. May also design network and computer security measures. May research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software.
Also known as:
Telecommunications Analyst, Network Consultant, Network Systems Consultant, Design Engineer, Solutions Architect, Network and Security Engineer, Networking Systems and Distributed Systems Engineer, Network Analyst

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Almost all organizations rely on efficiently organized computer networks to accomplish day-to-day business. Computer network architects design those networks, and computer systems engineers run them. Computer network architects create plans and layouts for data communication networks, ranging from building small connections between two offices to accessing the vast networking capabilities of cloud computing that connects customers around the globe. Network architects develop a deep understanding of a business’ plans in order to design networks to best suit their current and future needs. They analyze the organization’s data traffic, and work with chief technology officers and hardware engineers to predict future demand, and determine where to build new networks. Computer systems engineers implement the network architects’ designs, and solve the complex problems involved in the day-to-day operations of networks. They frequently test system operations, identify security risks, and research new products or processes that will improve system function. Network architects need to be effective leaders, and both roles require strong communication and teamwork skills. Work schedules are often more than 40 hours a week. Network architects and computer systems engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, along with several years’ experience working with information technology systems. A master’s of business administration in information systems is needed for some network architect positions.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
162,700
2016 Employment
173,200
2026 Employment
7%
Percent change
11,700
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Computer Network Architects in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$60,310
25%$81,960
Median$109,020
75%$137,820
90%$164,280


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Recommend changes to improve computer or information systems.
  • Develop computer or information security policies or procedures.
  • Maintain contingency plans for disaster recovery.
  • Monitor the performance of computer networks.
  • Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
  • Coordinate project activities with other personnel or departments.
  • Maintain computer networks to enhance performance and user access.
  • Develop models of information or communications systems.
  • Develop specifications for computer network operation.
  • Resolve computer network problems.
  • Provide technical support for computer network issues.
  • Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends.
  • Evaluate project designs to determine adequacy or feasibility.
  • Modify software programs to improve performance.
  • Install computer hardware.
  • Install computer software.
  • Document network-related activities or tasks.
  • Estimate time or monetary resources needed to complete projects.
  • Supervise information technology personnel.
  • Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
  • Test computer hardware performance.
  • Collaborate with others to determine design specifications or details.
  • Communicate project information to others.
  • Design integrated computer systems.
  • Configure computer networks.
  • Manage financial activities of the organization.
  • Manage budgets for appropriate resource allocation.
  • Coordinate software or hardware installation.
  • Manage documentation to ensure organization or accuracy.
  • Develop information communication procedures.
  • Maintain computer hardware.
  • Develop testing routines or procedures.
  • Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
  • Teach others to use computer equipment or hardware.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Programming - Writing computer programs.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Develop or recommend network security measures, such as firewalls, network security audits, or automated security probes.
  • Develop disaster recovery plans.
  • Monitor and analyze network performance and reports on data input or output to detect problems, identify inefficient use of computer resources, or perform capacity planning.
  • Coordinate network or design activities with designers of associated networks.
  • Maintain networks by performing activities such as file addition, deletion, or backup.
  • Develop conceptual, logical, or physical network designs.
  • Determine specific network hardware or software requirements, such as platforms, interfaces, bandwidths, or routine schemas.
  • Develop and implement solutions for network problems.
  • Communicate with system users to ensure accounts are set up properly or to diagnose and solve operational problems.
  • Visit vendors, attend conferences or training sessions, or study technical journals to keep up with changes in technology.
  • Evaluate network designs to determine whether customer requirements are met efficiently and effectively.
  • Participate in network technology upgrade or expansion projects, including installation of hardware and software and integration testing.
  • Prepare detailed network specifications, including diagrams, charts, equipment configurations, or recommended technologies.
  • Adjust network sizes to meet volume or capacity demands.
  • Develop network-related documentation.
  • Estimate time and materials needed to complete projects.
  • Supervise engineers or other staff in the design or implementation of network solutions.
  • Coordinate network operations, maintenance, repairs, or upgrades.
  • Research and test new or modified hardware or software products to determine performance and interoperability.
  • Communicate with customers, sales staff, or marketing staff to determine customer needs.
  • Prepare design presentations and proposals for staff or customers.
  • Design, build, or operate equipment configuration prototypes, including network hardware, software, servers, or server operation systems.
  • Prepare or monitor project schedules, budgets, or cost control systems.
  • Develop plans or budgets for network equipment replacement.
  • Coordinate installation of new equipment.
  • Explain design specifications to integration or test engineers.
  • Develop or maintain project reporting systems.
  • Use network computer-aided design (CAD) software packages to optimize network designs.
  • Maintain or coordinate the maintenance of network peripherals, such as printers.
  • Develop and write procedures for installation, use, or troubleshooting of communications hardware or software.
  • Communicate with vendors to gather information about products, alert them to future needs, resolve problems, or address system maintenance issues.
  • Design, organize, and deliver product awareness, skills transfer, or product education sessions for staff or suppliers.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.