Computer Network Architects
15-1241.00

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Design Engineer, Network Analyst, Network and Security Engineer, Network Consultant, Network Systems Consultant, Networking Systems and Distributed Systems Engineer, Solutions Architect, Telecommunications Analyst

Also see: Telecommunications Engineering Specialists

Occupation-Specific Information

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Technology Skills

  • Access software — Access management software; Citrix cloud computing software; Remote access software
  • Administration software — Cisco Systems CiscoWorks; Element management software; Netreo OmniCenter; Riverbed Technology; 9 more
  • Analytical or scientific software — Discrete event simulation software; Minitab Hot technology ; Root cause analysis software; The MathWorks MATLAB Hot technology
  • Application server software — Docker Hot technology ; Microsoft Windows Server Hot technology ; Red Hat OpenShift Hot technology ; Spring Boot Hot technology ; 4 more
  • Authentication server software — Microsoft Forefront Identify Manager
  • Backup or archival software — Computer Associates ArcServ Backup; System and data disaster recovery software; Veritas NetBackup
  • Bridge software — Network bridge software
  • Business intelligence and data analysis software — Apache Spark Hot technology ; MicroStrategy Hot technology ; Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Hot technology ; Qlik Tech QlikView Hot technology ; 2 more
  • Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint Hot technology
  • Cloud-based management software — Amazon Web Services AWS CloudFormation Hot technology ; IBM WebSphere Hot technology ; IBM WebSphere MQ; Splunk Enterprise Hot technology
  • Cloud-based protection or security software — SolarWinds
  • Communications server software — Email management software; IBM Domino
  • Computer aided design CAD software Hot technology — Autodesk AutoCAD Hot technology ; Autodesk Revit Hot technology ; Dassault Systemes CATIA; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Hot technology
  • Computer based training software
  • Configuration management software — Chef; Perforce Helix software; Puppet Hot technology ; VMware Hot technology ; 5 more
  • Content workflow software — Atlassian JIRA Hot technology
  • Data base management system software — Amazon DynamoDB Hot technology ; Apache Hive Hot technology ; Elasticsearch Hot technology ; MongoDB Hot technology ; 9 more
  • Data base reporting software — Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services SSRS; Network reporting software
  • Data base user interface and query software — Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud EC2 Hot technology ; Amazon Redshift Hot technology ; Oracle JDBC Hot technology ; Transact-SQL Hot technology ; 5 more
  • Desktop communications software — BroadSoft BroadWorks
  • Development environment software — Apache Ant Hot technology ; Apache Kafka Hot technology ; Common business oriented language COBOL Hot technology ; Go Hot technology ; 16 more
  • Electronic mail software — IBM Notes Hot technology ; Microsoft Exchange Hot technology
  • Enterprise application integration software — Atlassian Bamboo Hot technology ; Extensible markup language XML Hot technology ; IBM InfoSphere DataStage; Oracle Fusion Middleware Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — Microsoft Dynamics Hot technology ; Oracle Fusion Applications; SAP business and customer relations management software
  • Enterprise system management software — IBM Power Systems software
  • Expert system software — Ansible software Hot technology
  • File versioning software — Apache Subversion; Git Hot technology
  • Financial analysis software — Oracle E-Business Suite Financials
  • Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software Hot technology
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks; Trimble SketchUp Pro Hot technology
  • Helpdesk or call center software — Help desk software; Ticket information tracking software
  • Human resources software — Human resource management software HRMS
  • Industrial control software — Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software Hot technology
  • Instant messaging software — Blink
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software
  • Internet directory services software — Domain name system DNS; Microsoft Active Directory
  • Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software — Multiprotocol Label Switching MPLS; Open Shortest Path First OSPF; Session Initiation Protocol SIP; Voice over internet protocol VoIP system software Hot technology
  • LAN software — Local area network LAN software
  • Metadata management software — CA Erwin Data Modeler
  • Network monitoring software — Nagios Hot technology ; Network intrusion prevention systems NIPS; Symantec Intruder Alert; Wireshark Hot technology ; 18 more
  • Network operating system enhancement software — Compuware dynaTrace; Infoblox NetMRI; Silver Peak; Wide area network WAN optimization software; 3 more
  • Network security and virtual private network VPN equipment software — Content filter software; Firewall software; Network intrusion detection software
  • Network security or virtual private network VPN management software — Intrusion prevention system IPS; LogRhythm; Network and system vulnerability assessment software; Virtual private networking VPN software Hot technology ; 7 more
  • Object or component oriented development software — Advanced business application programming ABAP Hot technology ; Apache Groovy Hot technology ; jQuery Hot technology ; Scala Hot technology ; 7 more
  • Object oriented data base management software — Hibernate ORM; PostgreSQL Hot technology
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office Hot technology
  • Operating system software — Bash Hot technology ; Oracle Solaris Hot technology ; Red Hat Enterprise Linux Hot technology ; UNIX Shell Hot technology ; 14 more
  • Optical network management software
  • Pattern design software — Diagramming software
  • Portal server software — Apache HTTP Server Hot technology
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio Hot technology
  • Program testing software — Hewlett Packard LoadRunner; JUnit Hot technology ; Segue SilkPerformer; Selenium Hot technology ; 1 more
  • Project management software — Confluence Hot technology ; Microsoft Project Hot technology
  • Requirements analysis and system architecture software — Capacity planning software; Network architecture design software; Requirements management software; Unified modeling language UML Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Storage networking software — Amazon Simple Storage Service S3 Hot technology ; Network storage software; Storage area network SAN software; Storage management software
  • Switch or router software — Border Gateway Protocol BGP; Cisco Systems Cisco Web Cache Communication Protocol WCCP; Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links TRILL; Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol VRRP; 4 more
  • Time accounting software — Time reporting software
  • Transaction security and virus protection software — CA eTrust; McAfee VirusScan; NortonLifeLock cybersecurity software; Ping Identity; 5 more
  • Transaction server software — Customer information control system CICS
  • Video conferencing software — Cisco Webex; Videoconferencing software
  • Video creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects Hot technology
  • WAN switching software and firmware — Wide area network WAN software
  • Web platform development software — Django Hot technology ; Google AngularJS Hot technology ; Microsoft ASP.NET Core MVC Hot technology ; Spring Framework Hot technology ; 19 more
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology
Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Programming — Writing computer programs for various purposes.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

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Knowledge

  • 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.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 36%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 32%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 14%
     
    responded: Post-baccalaureate certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

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Interests

Interest code: ICE
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Values

  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$57.94 hourly, $120,520 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
165,200 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Average (5% to 10%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
11,000
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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