Computer network architects
Sign In
Overview
Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets. These networks range from small connections between two offices to next-generation networking capabilities such as a cloud infrastructure that serves multiple customers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for computer network architects are expected to grow by 7%, and should have about 11,700 job openings a year.
Workforce size
Computer network architects, with 162,700 workers, form a larger workforce than 76% of careers.
Education
About 58% of computer network architects have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by computer network architects
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More computer network architects have bachelor's degrees than 74% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for computer network architects is higher than 95% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most computer network architects.
This job's median $109KAll jobs' median $39K$105K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 9% of computer network architects -- that's a smaller percentage than 79% of other jobs.
Gender of computer network architects
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For computer network architects , the median men's salary was 7% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 27% of computer network architects are minority, and 22% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of computer network architects
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (22%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Computer Network Architects per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 64% of computer network architects , and 78% have company-sponsored health insurance (12% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for computer network architects
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 59% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of computer network architects who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (53%)
  • Consequence of Error (45%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do computer network architects earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for computer network architects, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for computer network architects compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for computer network architects (BLS Salary Data)
$109K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$109K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all computer network architects , and then we show how the median (middle) salary for computer network architects compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for computer network architects (ACS Salary Data)
$95K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$95K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where computer network architects work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Computer network architects (ACS)
Private for-profit (83.5%)
Private not-for-profit (5.4%)
Local government (2.9%)
State government (2.5%)
Federal government (3.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.5%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.2%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of computer network architects by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$95K$97K$77K$92K$94K$76K$58K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Self-employed not incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of computer network architects by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$109K$73K$112K$86K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for computer network architects

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$105K$95K$82K$65K$102K$106K$102K$104K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
05K10K15K20KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Computer network architects and gender

With 9% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 79% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Computer network architects
Men (91%)
Women (9%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for computer network architects , with the median salary for men 7% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$89K$95K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Computer network architects have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 80% of other jobs.

7%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of computer network architects

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority computer network architects than for 80% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of computer network architects
White (71% )
Asian (15% )
Black (9% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
American Indian (0% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
27%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for computer network architects by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$83K$85K$89K$94K$98K$105K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KOtherMultiracialBlackWhitePacific IslanderAsian
Distribution: Salaries for computer network architects by nativity
$92K$105K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by computer network architects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer network architects typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as computer network architects as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for computer network architects .

Education attained by computer network architects
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for computer network architects

Computer network architects usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, or a related field. Degree programs in a computer-related field give prospective network architects hands-on experience in classes such as network security or database design. These programs prepare network architects to be able to work with the wide array of technologies used in networks.

Employers of network architects sometimes prefer applicants to have a master’s of business administration (MBA) in information systems. MBA programs generally require 2 years of study beyond the undergraduate level and include both business and computer-related courses.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for computer network architects

Certification programs are generally offered by product vendors or software firms. Vendor-specific certification verifies a set of skills to ensure network architects are able to work in specific networking environments. Companies may require their network architects to be certified in the products they use.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for computer network architects ? Below we see the distribution of computer network architects salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as computer network architects , and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$93K$84K$92K$79K$99K$105K$136K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KNone (0%)High School (6%)Some College (23%)Associate's Degree (13%)Bachelor's Degree (40%)Master's Degree (17%)Doctorate (1%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by computer network architects

This table shows the college majors held by people working as computer network architects . Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Computer network architects with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
18.7%
$0$200K$87K
11.9%
$0$200K$97K
5.3%
$0$200K$92K
3.1%
$0$200K$63K
2.2%
$0$200K$78K
2.1%
$0$200K$80K
1.9%
$0$200K$73K
1.9%
$0$200K$67K
1.8%
$0$200K$53K
1.8%
$0$200K$89K
1.6%
$0$200K$86K
1.5%
$0$200K$60K
1.1%
$0$200K$73K
1.1%
$0$200K$63K
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as computer network architects , and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by computer network architects given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for computer network architects

What jobs will most computer network architects hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of computer network architects reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Computer network architectsApplications and systems software developersComputer support specialistsComputer occupations (specialized areas)Network and computer systems administratorsElectrical and electronics engineersEngineers (specialized areas)Computer programmersComputer and information systems managersManagers (specialized areas)Telecommunications line installers and repairersGeneral and operations managersEducation administratorsCustomer service representatives
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for computer network architects

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 7 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as computer network architects as well as 1% of respondents after working as computer network architects . Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for computer network architects
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Applications and systems software developers
118,900
$0$200K$96K
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
Computer support specialists
72,300
$0$200K$54K
Computer and information systems managers
32,500
$0$200K$99K
Network and computer systems administrators
27,000
$0$200K$71K
Computer occupations (specialized areas)
22,500
$0$200K$68K
Engineers (specialized areas)
10,900
$0$200K$90K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for computer network architects : full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as computer network architects ? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of computer network architects surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for computer network architects
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
171,800
$0$200K$39K
1.6%
Accountants and auditors
143,000
$0$200K$60K
1.1%
Applications and systems software developers
118,900
$0$200K$96K
10.5%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
2.6%
Computer support specialists
72,300
$0$200K$54K
5.6%
Computer and information systems managers
32,500
$0$200K$99K
3.1%
Network and computer systems administrators
27,000
$0$200K$71K
3.3%
Computer occupations (specialized areas)
22,500
$0$200K$68K
4.0%
Computer network architects
11,700
$0$200K$95K
39.7%
Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers
11,500
$0$200K$43K
1.0%
Engineers (specialized areas)
10,900
$0$200K$90K
2.9%
Information security analysts
10,400
$0$200K$88K
2.0%
Computer hardware engineers
5,100
$0$200K$93K
1.0%
No occupation
4.0%
Read about computer network architects
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Computer network architects typically do the following:

  • Create plans and layouts for data communication networks
  • Present plans to management and explain why they are in the organization’s best interest to pursue them
  • Consider information security when designing networks
  • Upgrade hardware, such as routers or adaptors, and software, such as network drivers, as needed to support computer networks
  • Research new networking technologies to determine what would best support their organization in the future

Computer network architects, or network engineers, design and deploy computer and information networks. After deployment, they also may manage the networks and troubleshoot any issues as they arise. Network architects also predict future network needs by analyzing current data traffic and estimating how growth will affect the network.

Some computer network architects work with other IT workers, such as network and computer system administrators and computer and information systems managers to ensure workers’ and clients’ networking needs are being met. They also must work with equipment and software vendors to manage upgrades and support the networks.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of computer network architects? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Analytical skills
Computer network architects have to examine data networks and decide how to best connect the networks based on the needs and resources of the organization.
Detail oriented
Computer network architects create comprehensive plans of the networks they are creating with precise information describing how the network parts will work together.
Interpersonal skills
These workers must work with different types of employees to successfully design and implement computer and information networks.
Leadership skills
Many computer network architects direct teams of engineers, such as computer hardware engineers, who build the networks they have designed.
Organizational skills
Computer network architects who work for large firms must coordinate many different types of communication networks and make sure they work well together.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for computer network architects
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for computer network architects was higher than 95% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $109KAll jobs' median $39K$100K$38K2012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for computer network architects are anticipated to grow by 7% over the next decade; 51% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for computer network architects is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20102015202020252030050,000100,000150,000200,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most computer network architects? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as computer network architects. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Computer Network Architects per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where computer network architects earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for computer network architects compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for computer network architects .

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Computer Network Architects to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which computer network architects earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.04.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Computer network architects (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
Jobs that are similar by Interests and Salary (All education levels)
Filter for this education level
All education levels
Filter for any of these broad categories
Select...