Home page

Computer Network Architects

At a Glance

  • Always work as a team
  • Have a medium level of social interaction
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Have a bachelor's degree plus work experience

Career summary

Computer network architects set up, design, and secure computer networks.

Computer network architects set up security systems for computer networks. They install firewall software and perform network security audits to make sure the network is safe. They maintain networks by adding, deleting, and backing up files from the network. 

Computer network architects do research to keep up to date with current technology. They adjust the size of networks to match storage demands and create records and diagrams of their work. If there are problems in the network, they find solutions and create action plans. They estimate time and materials needed for network projects.

They also work on developing network systems that are: 

Computer network architects also maintain hardware and software requirements such as:

Related careers

This career is part of the Information Technology cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to computer network architects.

Common work activities

Computer network architects perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, computer network architects:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Computer network architects frequently:

It is important for computer network architects to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for computer network architects to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Computer network architects need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a computer network architect, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most computer network architects have a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science, information systems, engineering, or a related field.

Some jobs prefer applicants who have a master’s of business administration (MBA) in information systems.

Work experience

Network architects typically need at least 5 years of experience working with information technology (IT) systems. You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

Because of rapid changes in technology, employers often provide training or pay for college course work. This is so you can update your technical skills or expand your administrative skills.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be computer systems specialists. Training lasts from seven to 13 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Some branches of the military train people to be computer systems officers. Training lasts from five to 18 weeks, depending on your specialty. You need at least a bachelor's degree to enter this military occupation.

Some branches of the military train people to be intelligence specialists. Training lasts from nine to 24 weeks of classroom instruction, including practice in intelligence gathering. Training length varies depending on specialty.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link).

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know


Computer network architects can get voluntary certifications from product vendors and software firms. Certification is occasionally required for employment.


Computer Network Architects (SOC 15-1143)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $37.32 $41.16 $47.79 $65.22 $78.33
Monthly $6,468 $7,133 $8,282 $11,303 $13,575
Yearly $77,620 $85,610 $99,410 $135,650 $162,930
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $22.88 $28.58 $36.96 $47.39 $89.45
Monthly $3,965 $4,953 $6,405 $8,213 $15,502
Yearly $47,604 $59,450 $76,886 $98,566 $186,061
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $33.20 $37.89 $43.86 $51.77 $61.23
Monthly $5,754 $6,566 $7,601 $8,972 $10,611
Yearly $69,060 $78,812 $91,222 $107,664 $127,353
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $34.26 $38.80 $42.94 $48.04 $56.17
Monthly $5,937 $6,724 $7,442 $8,325 $9,734
Yearly $71,258 $80,722 $89,318 $99,924 $116,836
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $39.84 $41.87 $42.93 $46.22 $47.38
Monthly $6,904 $7,256 $7,440 $8,010 $8,211
Yearly $82,875 $87,089 $89,311 $96,150 $98,562
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $38.63 $49.93 $61.35 $74.71 $86.70
Monthly $6,695 $8,653 $10,632 $12,947 $15,025
Yearly $80,360 $103,865 $127,604 $155,393 $180,343
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $37.79 $41.88 $47.38 $58.85 $72.44
Monthly $6,549 $7,258 $8,211 $10,199 $12,554
Yearly $78,598 $87,099 $98,563 $122,403 $150,675
    Vancouver Hourly $38.26 $46.42 $55.89 $65.49 $77.72
Monthly $6,630 $8,045 $9,686 $11,349 $13,469
Yearly $79,598 $96,562 $116,245 $136,217 $161,649
    Wenatchee Hourly $35.29 $40.51 $43.62 $49.31 $58.07
Monthly $6,116 $7,020 $7,559 $8,545 $10,064
Yearly $73,420 $84,277 $90,729 $102,574 $120,796
    Yakima Hourly $22.84 $41.74 $41.88 $46.23 $57.15
Monthly $3,958 $7,234 $7,258 $8,012 $9,904
Yearly $47,506 $86,819 $87,100 $96,153 $118,859
United States Hourly $29.00 $39.40 $52.41 $66.26 $78.98
Monthly $5,026 $6,828 $9,083 $11,483 $13,687
Yearly $60,310 $81,960 $109,020 $137,820 $164,280

Wages vary by employer and area of the country.

Computer network architects who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Some employers also provide a retirement plan

Employment and outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Computer Network Architects (SOC 15-1143)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 6,096 12.0% 16.1% 555
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 41 7.3% 13.4% 3
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 13 15.4% 8.6% 1
    Benton and Franklin Counties 55 5.5% 15.0% 4
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 26 11.5% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 104 17.3% 15.2% 10
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 2,010 4.2% 14.1% 146
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 47 4.3% 14.6% 3
    King County 2,862 21.2% 19.6% 323
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 35 8.6% 13.8% 3
    Pierce County 70 5.7% 15.2% 5
    Snohomish County 285 -1.8% 12.4% 17
    Spokane County 126 19.0% 13.9% 13
United States 159,300 5.3% 5.2% 12,200

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for computer network architects will be about average as firms continue to expand their information technology networks. Designing and building new networks, as well as upgrading existing ones, will create opportunities. The expansion of healthcare information technology will also contribute to employment growth.

However, increasing use of cloud computing will cause a decline in demand for computer network architects at smaller firms. Those with relevant certifications will have better prospects.

Other resources

Association for Computing Machinery (external link)
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor1
New York, NY 10019-7434
Association for Women in Computing - Puget Sound Chapter (external link)
3743 S. 170th Street
Sea-Tac, WA 98188
Center of Excellence for Information & Computing Technology (external link)
Computing Research Association (external link)
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036-4632
Computing Technology Industry Association (external link)
3500 Lacey Road, Suite 100
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Engineer Girl! (external link)
National Academy of Engineering
IEEE Computer Society (external link)
2001 L Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
Information Technology Industry Council (external link)
1101 K Street NW, Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) (external link)
244 S Randall Road #116
Elgin, IL 60123
International Association for Computer Information Systems (external link)
NaSPA: the Network and System Professionals Association (external link)
Telecommunications Industry Association (external link)
1320 North Courthouse Road, Suite 200
Arlington, VA 22201


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Strong Interest Inventory

Holland occupational cluster