Do you like designing new computer networks and enjoy technical work? Then, a career as a Network Architect could be perfect for you.
Network Architects are professionals who design efficient, affordable, and reliable network infrastructures meeting organisations' long-term IT business goals.
To become a Network Engineer, you must have a bachelor's degree in computer science, networking, information technology, or a related field. Prior work experience and professional certifications in networking are favoured.
This comprehensive guide will help you discover what working as a network architect can be like and how to get started in this profession.
1. What Are Network Architects?
Network architects examine, design, and develop new data communication networks such as intranets, local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs).
They use personal computers and specialized software to verify network integrity, review network requisites and capabilities, and validate high-level design plans for optimal network implementation.
2. Network Architect Job Description
Here is what you can expect to perform working in this position:
Develop local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets of an organization
Evaluate existing network systems to find areas that require performance, efficiency, and security enhancement.
Assess network performance and updates the network with the needed modifications
Create and design relevant solutions for the client's needs and environment
Leads the design procedures, manages current networks, and supervises traffic
Coordinate the installation and maintenance of hardware and software tools
Provide technical guidance and assistance on network solutions, product plans, and roadmaps
Manage client expectations by adhering to strict network protocols and standards
Implement new technologies to develop high-level designs and supervise performance based on project requirements
Prepare accurate reports, professional project proposals, and design documentation to avoid future connectivity problems.
Install and upgrade hardware, that includes VPNs, routers, adaptors, and software such as network drivers, to ensure the proper functioning of computer networks systems
Perform continuing troubleshooting, detecting and resolving computer system issues as and when they arise.
Research innovative networking technologies to enhance the performance and efficiency of computer networks
Collaborate with the Network Engineer, Network Administrator, Network Architect, and other professionals
Network architects working in a management role overseeing teams of system administrators, network engineers, and application developers
Create models that forecast network trends for the future
Replace outdated hardware and revise vulnerable software to sabotage ever-changing cybersecurity issues in network security
3. Network Architect Skills
A good network architect has the technical expertise to foresee the computer network needs of the future and the soft skills to succeed under the pressure of making difficult decisions daily.
The following skills will help you perform your duties efficiently in this role:
A background in information technology
Good knowledge of computer operations, security systems, wireless systems, and networking components such as modems, routers, switches, adapters, and servers
Good understanding of network requirements and strategic goals of the organization
Critical thinking abilities
Strong communication skills to interact with IT and network professionals and convince stakeholders to commit resources to that vision.
Able to perform well in a team setting and work independently with minimal supervision
Strong attention to detail to avoid network incompatibility and other issues
Sound analytical skills to understand how mechanical systems work.
Good numeracy skills to pre-determine the project cost and how the company benefits from it
Good writing and designing skills to prepare and present papers in an easily understandable way for teammates
Able to work in sensitive work settings where a minor technical error can cost you a fortune in no time
Project management skills
Like staying updated with the recent developments in components of computer networking
4. Network Architect Education Requirements
To work as a Network Engineer, you need a bachelor's degree in computer science, networking, information technology, information systems management, or a related field.
For any degree, you need to gain your Senior Secondary Education Certificate in one or more pre-requisite subjects such as English, maths, science, and physics.
As a network architect is a higher-level management position, any previous work experience in networking, higher-level network architect courses like an MS or PhD, and professional network architect certifications are preferred.
Candidates with such credentials have better chances than graduates applying for the same role.
5. How To Become A Network Architect In Australia?
Do you want to pursue a Network Architect role? Follow these steps to reach Do you want to pursue a Network Architect role?
Follow these steps to reach your career goals:
Step 1: Get The Education
Complete a 4-year Bachelor's Degree in computer science or a related field to gain in-depth knowledge of the network's technological requirements and necessary on-the-job skills experience before entering the workforce.
Bachelor of Technology (Computer Systems and Networking) – Curtin University
Bachelor of Information Technology – Curtin University
Bachelor of Networking - Melbourne Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Networking (Cyber Security)- Melbourne Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Engineering (Computer and Network Engineering) (Honours) – RMIT University
Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology (Professional) – Swinburne University of Technology
Step 2: Gain Experience
Apply to IT internships focusing on internet technologies, programming languages, computer networking, system design, etc.
It is a great way to gain industry exposure and supervised hands-on experience in computer networking and strengthen your resume.
Furthermore, you get an opportunity to connect with business owners and managers who may need IT services.
Step 3: Become A Certified Network Architect
Choose a speciality within your fields, such as Cisco Network Architect, Enterprise Architect, and IT Security Systems Architect, taking active steps toward progressing in your chosen Network Architect speciality.
One of the ways could be obtaining Professional Certifications based on the type of Network Architect role you are pursuing.
For example: If you want to know how to become a Systems Architect, consider completing a technical certification from a trade school that helps you develop capabilities to perform system architect duties.
It also helps develop a professional network with classmates and instructors to learn about open network architect positions and the job market for IT professionals in your area.
Additionally, you can attend professional events like seminars to connect with other IT professionals.
Here are the most relevant professional certifications for those who want to know how to become a Solutions Architect. Some of them have different levels of credentials benefiting IT professionals during their careers.
Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert
Cisco Certified Technician
Cisco Certified Design Expert
Cisco Certified Network Associate
Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise
Cisco Certified Architect
Salesforce Certified Technical Architect
Red Hat Certified Architect
Zachman Certified—Enterprise Architect
Step 4: Create/Update Your Resume
With a degree and certifications, you are ready to apply for jobs. Start by writing a network architect resume. Including the following things will improve your chances of acquiring a role fast.
Include in-demand network skills to help your resume stand out from the competition.
Include only the most relevant skills for the job you are applying for and categorize them by type
Avoid overuse of technical terms in your resume and make it simple and easy to understand
Prioritize accomplishments over duties performed in past projects. It will give a better idea to employers of what you can accomplish in a new role.
Once you have created your resume, you can apply to jobs on online job boards and online forums for IT professionals.
Step 5: Get An Entry-Level Network Architect Job
Start your career as an entry-level Network Architect.
Working as a junior-level Network Architect role, you will learn about creating, modifying, and maintaining IP network software, hardware, and virtual components.
Step 6: Consider Advancing In Your Career
After gaining some experience as an entry-level Network Architect, you can advance to the next senior-level position. As a Senior Network Architect, you design and review network requirements and validate high-level design plans.
As you advance through different network architect career paths, earning an advanced degree in systems architecture, such as a Master of Engineering (Software) or specialized certifications, may be essential.
6. The Most Common Jobs That Involve Network Architects
Based on the SEEK job data, the following job openings are available for qualified Network Architects across Australia:
Principal Network Architect
Solutions Architect - Network & Security
ICT Security Architect
RAN/Mobiles IP Transport Senior Architect
Network Architect (Firewall)
Technical Architect (Network Services)
Network Solution Architect
Domain Architect, Compute, and Network
RAN Solution Architect for Network Design and Optimization
Network Security Consultant
Network Architect (Cisco Network)
7. Where Does A Network Architect Work?
As network architects work with systems that facilitate communication, they work in IT departments in industries that experience massive volumes of communications, such as insurance, finance, and telecommunications.
Besides these, they also work for computer systems design companies and enterprises that develop innovative designs for newly built computer networks.
8. Work Environment Of Network Architects
Computer Network Architects generally work on a full-time basis in an office setting. They may sometimes work in server rooms to access hardware to build the organization’s information and computer network.
Network Architects don’t have to travel or do fieldwork. They may work on both contract and permanent basis in a day shift that starts from early mornings until late evenings. They may occasionally need to work overtime in specific circumstances.
As a highly responsible role, the job usually involves working under time pressure. It is because any unnecessary delay or a technical glitch can lead to a breakdown of computer systems leading to inefficiency and mismanagement in all departments that function on a computer network.
9. How Much Does A Network Architect Earn In Australia?
According to PayScale data, the average network architect salary in Australia is AU$138,078 per year or equivalent to AU$152.94 per hour.
In addition to the base pay, network architects earn cash bonuses and qualify for employee benefits such as health insurance, work-from-home opportunities, and referral programs.
Annual Average network architect salary based on Experience:
Mid-career Network Architects (5-9 years of experience): AU$144,098
Experienced Network Architect (10-19 years of experience): AU$131,230
In their late career (20+ years of experience): AU$160,333
Top 5 paying cities for Network Architects in Australia:
Canberra: $190,473 per year
Brisbane: $164,886 per year
Perth: $157,133 per year
Melbourne: $146,657 per year
Sydney: $107,844 per year
10. Job Prospects Of A Network Architect
The flow of data across an interconnected computer network drives the engine of modern business. Without a reliable and efficient computer network, they will lose their competitive advantage in the market.
It can also impact their profit margins and revenue generation over time. That’s why every small or large-scale modern enterprise needs Network Architects for its smooth business operation.
With the expansion of the IT industry, the demand for Network Architects is also increasing. Companies nowadays are increasingly focussing on improving their information technology departments and networks.
For example, the developments in healthcare information technology need network architects to design, install, and maintain secure, scalable, and efficient networks and equipment.
In Australia, the number of network architects is expected to increase by 5% between 2019 and 2029.
A network architect profession is considered highly valuable in the Information Technology field. Besides its high demand, it also offers competitive pay and creative work opportunities.
If you like the job profile and find yourself fit to work in this role, the above steps will help you attain your career objectives.
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