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Career Profile: Computer Network Architects

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, including analysis of capacity needs for network infrastructures. May also design network and computer security measures. May research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 165,200 people employed as computer network architects in the United States. The median annual salary is $116,800. Entry level employees earn approximately $67,190 per year and senior employees earn approximately $175,570 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • 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.
  • Develop conceptual, logical, or physical network designs.
  • Develop and implement solutions for network problems.
  • Determine specific network hardware or software requirements, such as platforms, interfaces, bandwidths, or routine schemas.
  • 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.
  • 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 network-related documentation.
  • 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.
  • Maintain networks by performing activities such as file addition, deletion, or backup.
  • Design, organize, and deliver product awareness, skills transfer, or product education sessions for staff or suppliers.
  • 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.
  • Develop procedures to track, project, or report network availability, reliability, capacity, or utilization.
  • 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.
  • Participate in network technology upgrade or expansion projects, including installation of hardware and software and integration testing.
  • Adjust network sizes to meet volume or capacity demands.
  • Prepare detailed network specifications, including diagrams, charts, equipment configurations, or recommended technologies.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
165,200
Annual Openings:
11,000
Increase in Openings by 2030:
6%
Annual Salary Range:
$67,190 - $175,570
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree