What degree do I need to become a Network Architect?

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Listen we all know why you want to land a job in Information Technology (IT).

You want to make the big bucks.

Well, this IT position is one of the higher paying ones, so listen up and take some notes. Before you had that nice streamlined Macbook, neat and charged up battery sporting the minimalist look, you probably had a dinosaur of a desktop. A ghastly sight of wires and dust bunnies shoved behind an old file cabinet or broken down desk, out of public view, but you knew it was there waiting for a yearly cleaning, a microfiber dusting or air spray can.

Well, think about that mess. If your idea of a good time is breaking down that dinosaur, ripping its guts out, sorting through that tangle of wires, and rebuilding it to play Pong the way God intended, then you need to look into becoming a Network Architect. Because you clearly have what it takes.


This is a heavy-tech side of the IT business. A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Systems or Engineering will be sufficient with course work in:

  • hardware technology
  • software technology
  • network security
  • data management

A master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in addition to undergraduate degree will increase your pay significantly and keep you competitive in seeking employment. Employers prefer to hire Network Architects with at least 5 years of general IT experience.

Job Expectations

The main job of a Network Architect is to link 2 or more computer networks together. Say you have an office for any given company in Chicago and a second and third opening up in Seattle and New York; the Network Architect needs to get all three computer networks synced and communicating together. They will work with local area networks (LANS), wide area networks (WANS), and intranets. They are needed everywhere from small businesses to giant global corporations. Their duties include:

  • understanding all the hardware, software, and driver requirements needed to support network
  • responsible for laying out cables
  • creating and planning a data communication network
  • complete understanding of information security
  • communication skills to present plans to management


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of Computer Network Architects is estimated to grow by 15% from 2012 to 2022. Demand will continue to grow as companies adopt cloud computing, expand their mobile networks, and increase their use of wireless technology. Designing and building networks is not the only job of a Network Architect. Upgrading networks is a full time job in itself. As technology advances, systems will need complete overhauls and a highly skilled Network Architect will be needed to assist in these changes.

Network Architects are paid generously out of all IT positions. Statistics on the BLS site, state that the median annual wage for Computer Network Architects was $91,000 in May of 2012. The highest paid 10% reports wages over $141k! Most Network Architects can expect to work full time standard 40 hour work weeks.