Computers play a major role in just about every aspect of our lives. From everyday activities in our homes, in our line of work, healthcare, education, shopping, and more computers undoubtedly take a central part in making our everyday activities more efficient and convenient than ever.
With just about every company and organization leveraging computers and the technological advances that come with them, we cannot deny that computers need to be maintained and kept up-to-date to reflect an organization’s business plans and its intended network.
This is where information network architects come in. These professionals are behind the ingenious plans and layouts designed for communication networks to take root and be successful. For those like me who want to learn more about this job, read on.
- About an Information Network Architect
- Roles and Responsibilities of an Information Network Architect
- Work Environment and Outlook
- Qualifications and Requirements
- Other Relevant Skills, Qualities, and Training
- Finding a Job as an Information Network Architect
About an Information Network Architect
An information network architect, otherwise known as a computer network architect, is a professional in charge of taking care of various communication networks.
Their area of responsibility usually extends to networks such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), intranets, and many others. An information network architect is also one who builds and designs these respective communication networks.
As professionals, they are tasked to perform regular software updates and upgrades to allow for more seamless and smoother networks. These include network drivers such as adapters, hardware, routers, and the like.
Handling Networks of All Sizes
I find the networks being handled by information network architects to be quite astonishing.
These experts can handle the smallest of connections between homes and offices, but they can also tackle larger connections such as cloud infrastructures to serve more users and customers.
Roles and Responsibilities of an Information Network Architect
One of the main roles that information network architects typically do on a day-to-day basis is to take charge of creating plans and layouts for effective communication networks to take place.
This involves analyzing the current structure of a business, and by extension, the type of network that they need to work with.
Besides this, they are also in charge of identifying and presenting plans to the company and explaining why such networks will work for the firm’s best interest.
This works in conjunction with expanding the use of mobile and wireless networks in an organization as these professionals are left with dealing where the firm needs the new networks the most.
Strong Focus on Security
Safety and security remain at the center of this job, which is why information network architects are also involved in taking care of the networks they have designed and are designing.
This means that these experts ensure that they provide security patches for flaws or vulnerabilities to prevent harming those who are connected to the network.
The job also entails being at the forefront of technology, so researching and being in the loop of all the latest events and happenings is essential as well.
Work Environment and Outlook
Many companies that I have worked in have almost always had an information network architect in place. This means these professionals can find work in just about any sector but are more predominant in telecommunications, finance and insurance, computer systems design, healthcare, education, and many other similar firms and services.
The work environment of an information network architect can be quite hectic, given that they usually manage various computer and communication systems. From managing the networks as well as troubleshooting any issues as they come, their plates as professionals can be full.
With the amount of work and responsibilities, working full-time and around 40 hours per week is expected. Most of the time, this can be spent in offices, as well as in computer and server rooms working with the hardware.
There is a steady demand for information network architects in the industry. The career market is slated to grow by around 5% until 2029, higher than the typical job outlook in the industry. This accounts for the increasing expansion of information technology networks around the globe and the need to upgrade and build new networks to go alongside this.
Salary of an Information Network Architect
For 2020, the median pay for a person working as an information network architect is $116,780 annually, roughly $56.14 per hour. Those in the highest 10% can earn more than $175,570, while those in the lower 10% may earn less than $67,190.
While the aforementioned amount is the median pay for the industry, this can still vary depending on the sector.
For example, professionals who opt to work in the insurance sector earn around $121,730, those in computer systems and design earn $120,130, those in telecommunications earn $114,810, while those in education earn around $84,570 per year.
Qualifications and Requirements
There are many people out there who are keen on entering the field and becoming an information network architect, however, this is not for the faint of heart as it requires various hoops to go through.
Earning a bachelor’s degree is relevant for this job. This provides the technical foundation we need to navigate the field. Some of the degrees that can be relevant to this job include being a graduate of computer science, information systems, engineering, and other computer-related degrees.
I find that those who have or are undergoing their master’s of business administration in information systems will most likely have an edge over their peers and competitors in the field, although this may take an additional two years of rigorous training and study.
To develop and further enhance our knowledge, having hands-on experience and a background in network security and database design would be a huge advantage. These familiarize you with the different tools and technologies being used in different communication networks.
This also goes for having relevant work experience. The rule of thumb in the industry is that the more working experience under your belt, the higher the salary and position you can command.
Specialists are required to have a minimum of 5 to 10 years of experience working with information systems and networks.
Other Relevant Skills, Qualities, and Training
The most important aspect of getting an information network architect position is no doubt education and job experience.
However, you can enhance your resume and add to your knowledge by taking part in training and certification programs, particularly when it comes to working with certain products, hardware, software, and the like.
Different organizations have varying needs, which is why looking into certification programs offered by product vendors and software systems is a must. Some of the companies that offer these include Cisco, VMware, and CompTIA.
Important Soft Skills
With a particular focus on working with machines, servers, and other computer systems, being detail-oriented and having organizational skills are a must. This ensures that networks are working properly and connected based on the needs of the company, allowing them to work well together.
Having interpersonal skills is also vital, given that this job entails working with different individuals and teams to help accomplish the needs of the organization.
Finding a Job as an Information Network Architect
As mentioned, the demand for information network architects is quite high, so it could only be a matter of time before you find the sweet spot between the right company and your dream job and pay. The key to achieving this goal is knowing where to look for jobs.
In the Internet age, a lot of the employment process can be done online from applying and interviews to negotiations and job offers.
The first step for finding a job is to check out job-seeking websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glass Door, and FlexJobs, just to name a few.
Making the Most of These Sites
These sites give us access to thousands upon thousands of job advertisements you can apply to.
They also give you tools to optimize your search. The advanced search engine available on most sites helps us customize your search and indicate the job title, salary range, and location of the results, making it easier to find the right job faster.
Another option is to check out the websites of companies you are interested in working in. These sites usually have a careers page where they post openings. Many of them also have built-in forms to fill out or provide ways to start the application.
The Bottom Line
Getting an information architect job requires the right education, hands-on know-how, the ability to work alone and in teams, and a passion for technology.
Knowing what to expect and what it takes to become these professionals, you can start looking into education options, or if you’re already qualified, begin applying today.