Network ArchitectJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
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.
Sample job description #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
Sample job description #2
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
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.
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
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
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a network architect is $158,450 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
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?
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