If you are someone who is fascinated by the world of computers and are interested in building communication networks then a career as a computer network architect may be a good choice for you.
Computer network architects are responsible for creating plans and preparing layouts for data communication networks. The data communication networks include wide area networks (WANs), local area networks (LANs) and intranets. Computer network architects are expected to have in-depth knowledge of a company’s business plan to design a network to meet the company’s requirements.
Computer network architects are also popularly known as network engineers. They are often in charge of creating models to predict future network trends. Their tasks include estimating how growth will have an effect on the network and for this, they look into and analyse the current data traffic. They also stay updated with the new hardware and software technologies and assess how technology can help improve network performance. Network architects are also entrusted with the security aspect of an organization, they have to implement security patches or other measures as and when the need arises.
Network architects collaborate with the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to evaluate the organisation’s requirements for networks and are then involved in planning new networks.
Computer network architects must have a set of certain skills to excel at their job. The skills are listed below:
Interpersonal skills-Network architects need to work with different employees to design computer and information networks.
Leadership skills-They may have to lead teams of computer hardware engineers or engineers.
Analytical skills-Since network architects are responsible for examining data networks and connecting the networks as per the needs of the organization, they must have good analytical skills.
Detail-oriented-Network architects have to be very attentive to details as their job will involve dealing with precise information regarding network parts.
To become a computer network architect, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, information systems or a related field is required. Some companies may choose to hire people with MBA in information systems. To pursue an MBA requires 2 years of study after Bachelors and MBA in this field will include both computer-related courses and business.
There are various job profiles available for computer network architects. Some of them are mentioned below:
Information Security Analysts-Information security analysts are responsible for implementing security measures to safeguard an organisation’s computer systems and networks.
Computer Systems Analysts-Computer Systems Analysts, also known as Systems Architects look into an organisation’s computer systems and create or design solutions to help the organization run more efficiently.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators-Network architects are involved in the day-to-day operation of the computer systems and network.
Database Administrators-Database administrators are responsible for using specialized software to organize and store important data pertaining to the financial information for example.
Computer and Information Systems Managers-Also known as IT managers or IT project managers are responsible for planning direct computer-related activities in a company. They are involved in determining the IT goals of a company.
Computer Programmers-Computer programmer’s job involves writing and testing code that enables computer applications and software programs to run properly.
Computer Hardware Engineers-These people deal with the design, development and research activities of computer systems and its various components such as memory devices, networks, routers, processors and circuit boards.
Software Developers-Software developers are the brains behind computer programs. They are involved in developing applications which help people perform specific tasks on a computer.
It is such a wide field with many employment opportunities. Computer network architects can choose to work in the following industries:
Some of the top recruiting companies for computer network architect are
The average salary of a computer network architect is approximately Rs. 14, 84,132 per year.
Note: The above figure is an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.
Some popular books to gain knowledge regarding computer networks are as follows
Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach by James F.Kurose and Keith W. Ross
Computer Networks by Andrew S Tanenbaum
Elements of Computer Networking by Damodaram A, Narasimha Karumanchi and Sreenivasa Rao M
Data Communications and Networking by Behrouz A.Forouzan (2nd Edition)
Computer Networks: A System Approach Larry L.Peterson and Bruce S.Davie
Data and Computer Communications by William Stallings
Interconnections by Radia Perlman
TCP/IP Illustrated Vol.1 by W. Richard Stevens
Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Network World by Bruce Schneier
DNS & BIND-Cricket Liu and Paul Albitz
Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigns, co-authored with Maarten van Steen
It is a high paying job and very rewarding financially.
Good option for people who are fond of solving problems mentally and are detail-oriented.
It offers growth and good job prospects for qualified.
There is job satisfaction as computer network architects get to use their creativity and mind to solve complex problems.
The higher the qualifications, the more is the demand for computer network architects.
You will have to get used to the long working hours.
It is fast paced and challenging because it will require learning new information quickly.
It can also cause health problems or lead to stress as it will be mostly require sitting, typing in front of the system and working on new problems. It is a very sedentary career.
If you are not that driven or passionate about technology then after a period of time, you may feel unhappy and dissatisfied.
It is a bit tough to get into this career as it will require a considerable amount of technical know-how, knowledge, and experience.
It may require hardcore reading every year to keep up with the latest technological trends/developments.
B.Tech IT is the most relevant qualification required to pursue a career as Computer Network Architect.
The demand for Computer Network Architects is not only high in India but also abroad. A Master’s degree from foreign universities will add value for job opportunities abroad.
The average starting salary for a Computer Network Architect in India is Rs. 4,00,000 per annum.
The average salary for an experienced Computer Network Architect is Rs. 7 to 10 lakh per annum approximately.
Some of the top companies that hire Computer Network Architects include Microsoft, Deloitte, Amazon, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Oracle, IBM etc.
Some of the sectors that hire Computer Network Architects are Finance and Insurance, Educational Services and Telecommunications.
Some of the job roles that can be taken up a Computer Network Architect include Information Security Analyst, Computer Systems Analyst, Computer Programmers, Database Administrators etc.
The major skills required to become a Computer Network Architect include Analytical Skills, Leadership Skills and Interpersonal Skills.
The major responsibility of a Computer Network Architect is to prepare layouts for data communication networks.
The other name for Computer Network Architect is Network Engineers.