Network Architect Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Network Architect Do?

Network architects take care of communication networks, such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. They play a crucial role in creating, maintaining, and modifying an IP network’s hardware, software, and virtualized components. Network architects have in-depth knowledge about a network’s technological requirements.

Network architects are responsible for network security; they design, implement, and manage security countermeasures when network vulnerabilities are discovered. These professionals offer technical guidance on networking solutions, technology roadmaps, and product plans. Network architects develop and deliver professional proposals and design documentation, both for clients and in-house use.

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National Average Salary

Network architect salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.

The average U.S. salary for a Network Architect is:

$158,450

Network Architect Job Descriptions

Example 1

Your role and responsibilities

ABC Company has a global network that is deployed using cutting-edge platforms and is looking for a high quality and driven Network Architect for our team.

This network architect will be responsible for

  • Developing network and related architectures and solutions based on requirements from offering, engineering, and operations, as well as key customers
  • Working across the organization to provide technical leadership for the network infrastructure
  • Assessing new technologies and best practices for adoption
  • Driving standardization and automation into all aspects of the network platform
  • Engaging with internal and external customers for briefings, issue escalation, and complex solution development
  • Enabling the extended team’s vitality through training, mentoring, and skills transfer
  • Documenting network capabilities as appropriate for both internal and external consumption

Required technical and professional expertise

  • At least 5 years of experience designing service provider network infrastructures, at scale, e.g., MPLS/BGP, routing, switching, SDN/NFV, EVPN, VXLAN
  • At least 2 years of technical writing and speaking skills
  • Team and business leadership experience

Preferred technical and professional expertise

  • CCIE/JNCIE or comparable certifications
  • 5 years of experience in developing architectures
  • 2 years in python or similar programming language

Example 2

Description:

  • Develop strategy, technical direction, and engineering solutions for enterprise-wide data networking and data security services supporting key business requirements
  • Lead the development and execution of Architecture, Engineering and Operational roadmaps for data networking and data security services globally and drive efforts to validate that strategic direction is aligned with business architecture/direction
  • Provide technical leadership for the establishment, and implementation of end-to-end network data, and security infrastructure solutions utilizing new technologies, including AWS Cloud
  • Provides technical solutions for the establishment and implementation of high availability network solutions, to support convergence of voice, data, and multimedia services, as well as cloud application security architectures
  • Provides clear and concise recommendations to remediate performance/scaling bottlenecks
  • Participates in lab testing with other teams to ensure that performance expectations are met before/after rolling out new applications and services
  • Provides escalation support for troubleshooting and resolution of all network data and security issues as required by other infrastructure support teams
  • Maintain expertise in data network security technologies to ensure that cost-effective solutions and processes are deployed and aligned with business direction
  • Mentor other members of the Network Services team on architectural and engineering best practices by reviewing engineering designs and providing guidance as required
  • Partner with business unit and development team SMEs to develop best -practices that can be proactively incorporated into architectural and engineering designs
  • Evaluate, select and deploy toolsets to manage, measure, monitor, and report network and systems characteristics
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with key vendors and ensure that all technology and services roadmaps are understood and leveraged where applicable
  • Partner with Enterprise Architecture, PMO, Business IT, Infrastructure Leads, and third party service providers in the conception, evaluation, piloting, engineering, and operational delivery of solutions for the organization
  • Partner with peers to understand project portfolios and determine staffing needs for network architecture and design services and provide input to sourcing solutions for variable resource requirements
  • Define and implement methodology templates for total cost of ownership analysis, requirements gathering, infrastructure design, and peer reviews. Develop a culture and process for re-use of solutions templates across projects thereby simplifying the solutions engineering process and improving the productivity of the resources
  • Effectively communicate the feasibility of requested deliverables and timelines to internal business and project stakeholders
  • Install & Qualify components into production following company policies and procedures
  • Build relationships which foster collaboration and partnerships to drive better strategies, processes, and final product to the customer
  • Understand and comply with defined standards for FDA/regulated IT environments
  • Participate in IT Risk Management initiatives in line with industry and corporate Audit and Compliance strategies
  • Assist with development and management of the Network Services budgets

Job environment:

  • Complex routing, switching, and ISP environments
  • Cisco Routers (ISRs and ASRs)
  • User Remote Access VPN Headends – Cisco ASA, Meraki
  • Firewalls (Palo Alto preferred, Cisco ASA/Meraki is desirable)
  • QoS understanding and configuration (routers and switches)
  • Routing protocols (BGP, OSPF, EIGRP)
  • WAN architectures (“legacy” ex: MPLS and “trending” ex: SD-WAN & VPN methods)
  • Thorough understanding of most enterprise IPv4 protocols and emerging IPv6 deployments
  • Strong familiarity with cloud networking (AWS: VPC, Transit Gateways, Direct Connect, ELB/ALB, Route 53)
  • Familiarly with network configuration, automation tooling, telemetry, authentication technologies.
  • Familiarity with Network Troubleshooting Tool Suites (Extrahop, “Wire Data” visibility tool suites, Syslog Parsers, AKiPS, etc.)

Minimum qualifications education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree preferred
  • 8 or more years of relevant job experience including analyzing, configuring, troubleshooting, designing complex enterprise networks
  • Industry certifications – primarily via our Strategic Partners

Technology familiarity:

  • Network management – (e.g., NetMRI, Palo Alto Panorama)
  • Network monitoring tracing – (SNMP; packet analysis software, Wireshark, Extrahop)
  • Network OS – (IOS-XE, PANOS, EOS, Meraki)
  • SEIM – Splunk

Example 3

The Network Architect participates in network and security design, configuration, and testing activities for ABC Company’s customer-facing professional services projects. The individual in this role exhibits a strong passion for building and improving secure networks, with a focus on project delivery. This role requires the individual to think critically through problems and be a self-starter when completing assigned project and support escalation work. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are a must, as significant customer interaction is required.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Design, configure, and test network solutions per scope of customer projects
  • Perform troubleshooting and support activities as part of project delivery
  • Lead or participate in discovery and design workshops
  • Support physical installation of network and security devices, either in person or remotely
  • Lead network assessment projects, and provide oversight for Engineering staff members in the development and presentation of findings and recommendations
  • Communicate progress and status of deliverables to customer and Technium project teams
  • Maintain technical acumen and apply as necessary
  • Other duties as assigned

Skills/qualifications:

  • 10+ years of network/security implementation and/or management experience required
  • Strong understanding of network routing and switching protocols required
  • Demonstrated experience with WAN and backbone network protocols (BGP, OSPF, MPLS, etc.) required
  • Experience with next generation firewall technology (Palo Alto, Check Point, Fortinet, etc.) desirable
  • Experience with cloud (AWS, Azure, GC) network and/or security desirable
  • Certificates within network/security domain (CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, PCNSE, etc.) desirable
  • Excellent analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills with the ability to communicate complex technical issues in an easy-to-understand manner
  • Resourceful, with the ability to work independently
  • Strong time management skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to multi-task activities with shifting priorities
  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Information Systems preferred

How to Hire a Network Architect

When hiring a network architect, first consider the following:

  • Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
  • Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
  • Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
  • Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
  • Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
  • Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?

Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:

1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)

The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.

This is the best route to take when:

  • You need to fill the position quickly
  • You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
  • Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
  • You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff. 
  • You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
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2. Advertise your opening on a top job board

Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice. 

We recommend using a job board when:

  • Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
  • You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort 
  • You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
  • You are prepared to respond to all applicants

There are many career sites out there. Here are the two we recommend for a network architect opening:

CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network for job seekers, professionals, and businesses. With this popular job site, you can enhance your brand and advertise your open position to a wide audience of motivated, qualified candidates. Job postings on LinkedIn are also extremely streamlined and user-friendly, making it even easier for candidates to apply. Additionally, applicants can use their LinkedIn profile instead of a resume to expedite the process. 

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3. Leverage your internal resources

You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates. 

A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.

We recommend these options when:

  • Your brand has great name recognition
  • You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
  • You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
  • You have an effective employee referral program in place

If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Can you describe what a link is?
  • What are the layers of the OSI reference model?
  • What would you consider to be the backbone of a network?
  • What’s a LAN?
  • What’s a WAN?
  • What’s the difference between the two?
  • Can you describe a node?
  • What’s the difference between a router and a modem?
  • What’s a point-to-point link?
  • What’s a subnet mask?
  • What’s an anonymous FTP?
  • What’s the maximum length allowed for a UTP cable?
  • What’s data encapsulation?
  • Can you describe network topology?

Need help hiring a Network Architect?

We match top professionals with great employers across the country. From filling urgent job openings to developing long-term hiring strategies, our team is here to help. Review our staffing solutions, browse our award-winning Staffing Corner blog, or call today. We look forward to connecting with you soon.

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