California Occupational Guides

Summary Guide  (Printer Friendly)
Detailed Guide   (Printer Friendly)
   Detailed Report-Jump to: 
         Top of Page
         What Would I Do?
         Wages and Benefits
         Job Outlook
         How Do I Qualify?
         What Employers Say...
Job Search Tips

I want to: 
   Search by Topic
   Search by Keyword

 

Change Your Area:

Select your county from the list:

Change Occupation:

1. Enter a keyword and click the "GO!" button:

2. Select an occupation from the results listed
below and click the "Get Information" button.


Detailed Guide for

Computer Network Architects in Sonoma County

May also be called: Network Consultants; Network Designers; Network Developers; and Network Engineers

What Would I Do?

Computer Network Architects design, test, and evaluate systems such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranets, extranets, mobile technology, and other data communications networks. The configuration of systems varies from a connection between two offices in the same building to globally distributed networks, voice mail, and e-mail systems of a multinational organization.

Computer Network Architects determine user requirements and design specifications for computer networks. They perform network modeling, analysis, planning, and implementation, often involving both hardware and software. Setting up a network may involve the installation of hardware, such as routers and hubs, wireless adapters, and cables as well as the installation and configuration of software, such as network drivers. They also research and recommend network hardware and software as well as address information security issues.

Tools and Technology

Computer Network Architects use a variety of tools and technology in their work. In addition to computers, they may use servers, digital telephones, network routers and switches, protocol analyzers, server load balancers, and tablets or smart phones. They may also use software related to administration, application server, LAN, network monitoring, network security or virtual private network (VPN) management, operating system, storage networking, and WAN switching.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Adjust network sizes to meet volume or capacity demands.Operations Analysis
Communicate with customers, sales staff, or marketing staff to determine customer needs.Active Listening
Coordinate network operations, maintenance, repairs, or upgrades.Information Ordering
Design, build, or operate equipment configuration prototypes, including network hardware, software, servers, or server operation systems.Computers and Electronics
Determine specific network hardware or software requirements, such as platforms, interfaces, bandwidths, or routine schemas.Telecommunications
Develop and implement solutions for network problems.Complex Problem Solving
Develop conceptual, logical, or physical network designs.Deductive Reasoning
Develop or recommend network security measures, such as firewalls, network security audits, or automated security probes.Problem Sensitivity
Develop procedures to track, project, or report network availability, reliability, capacity, or utilization.Systems Evaluation
Estimate time and materials needed to complete projects.Judgment and Decision Making
Research and test new or modified hardware or software products to determine performance and interoperability.Systems Analysis
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Computer Network Architects usually work in well-lit offices or laboratories in comfortable surroundings. They work about 40 hours a week, but may be required to work some evenings or weekends to meet deadlines or solve specific problems. Large numbers of Computer Network Architects work on a temporary or contract basis. Designing network systems is a one-time project; therefore, Computer Network Architects are frequently needed for a short-term period. Telecommuting is becoming more common allowing Computer Network Architects to do even more work from remote locations, reducing or eliminating the need to travel to the customer’s workplace.

This type of work may be stressful for some. Computer Network Architects may experience eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems from using a computer for long periods of time. Some lifting and moving of hardware may also be required.

Although most Computer Network Architects are not represented by unions, unionization varies by industry. Those working in telecommunications may belong to the Communications Workers of America, while public sector employees may join the Service Employees International Union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Computer Network Architect may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. The Computer Network Architect occupation involves searching for facts and figuring out problems. Individuals who are results-oriented and value feelings of accomplishment should enjoy working in this occupation.

Computer Network Architects frequently work together in teams, but may also work independently. They consult with customers, programmers, managers, and other staff members, so good communications skills are important. In addition to being logical, analytical, and good problem solvers, Computer Network Architects must have ingenuity, take initiative, and be able to handle multiple projects. They also need to be detail-oriented, and have good leadership and organizational skills.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2017 for Computer Network Architects in California is $124,777 annually, or $59.99 hourly. The median wage for Computer Network Architects in Sonoma County is $138,397 annually, or $66.54 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2017Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$95,603$124,777$155,622
Sonoma County$107,674$138,397$157,617
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Most Computer Network Architects receive medical, dental, and life insurance, as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans from their employers. Some employers also offer stock options and bonuses. Self-employed or independent contractors must provide for their own insurance and other benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment growth for Computer Network Architects will be strong as organizations continue to upgrade their network systems and incorporate the newest technologies. The growing reliance on wireless networks and e-commerce as well as the expansion of healthcare information technology will fuel the demand.

The number of Computer Network Architects in California is unknown at this time since this is a new occupation and there is no employment projections data available. Computer Network Architects should be in high demand over the next decade as organizations continue to upgrade their network systems and incorporate the newest technologies. The growing reliance on wireless networks and e-commerce as well as the expansion of healthcare information technology will fuel the demand. However, the adoption of cloud computing, which allows users to access storage, software, and other computer services over the Internet is expected to reduce the demand for Computer Network Architects. The cloud service providers will design and build the networks, which will lessen the need for organizations to perform that work in-house.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Computer Network Architects is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Computer Network Architects are expected to increase by 26.1 percent, or 3,700 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

In Sonoma County, the number of Computer Network Architects is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Computer Network Architects are expected to increase by 40.0 percent, or 20 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Computer Network Architects
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2014-2024)
14,20017,9003,70026.11,800
Sonoma County
(2014-2024)
50702040.010
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 360 new job openings per year is expected for Computer Network Architects, plus an additional 180 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 550 job openings.

In Sonoma County, an average of 2 new job openings per year is expected for Computer Network Architects, plus an additional 1 job opening due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 3 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Computer Network Architects
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2014-2024)
360180550
Sonoma County
(2014-2024)
213
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, or a related field is generally required for Computer Network Architect positions. However, some employers prefer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in information systems. Employers often require several years of work experience in network administration or with other information technology systems. Prior experience is very important in this occupation. Candidates who have a background in the industry should have an advantage. Experience in information security or wireless technologies is desirable.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in this kind of work should take classes in mathematics, computer science, information technology, and language arts. Other helpful classes may include business, physical science, and engineering technology. Training programs are also available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) in computer networking, computer science, electronics technology, information technology, internetworking, mobile electronics, network cable technology, network security, networking technology, and telecommunications. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Continuing Education

Rapidly changing technology makes it necessary for Computer Network Architects to keep their skills up to date. Employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and universities, and private training institutions offer continuing education. Professional seminars can also enhance skills and advancement opportunities.

Certification

Professional certification has become the industry standard. It is required for some positions and can demonstrate competence in a particular field. There are many different certification programs available through product vendors, computer associations, and other training institutions. Many product vendors require those who work with their products to be certified. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Information Systems Security, Information Technology, LAN/WAN Management, Network, and Systems Analysis.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Computer Network Architects are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Computer Systems Design and Rel Services 31.2%
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 8.6%
Management & Technical Consulting Svc 6.9%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 4.8%
ISPs, Search Portals, & Data Processing 2.9%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Networking is important in this occupation, since many Computer Network Architects find work through referrals. Jobs can also be found through direct application to employers, newspaper classified advertisements, online job boards, and professional organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Computer Network Architects.

  • City Government
  • Computer System Designers & Consultants
  • County Government
  • Internet Access Providers Wireless
  • Internet Service Providers (ISP)
  • Management Consultants
  • Network Design & Systems
  • Wireless Communication

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Computer Network Architects may advance to managerial or project leadership positions. Those with significant expertise may find opportunities as an independent consultant.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Computer Network Architects with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Computer ProgrammersGuide
Computer Science Teachers, PostsecondaryProfile
Computer Systems AnalystsGuide
Database AdministratorsGuide
Information Security AnalystsGuide
Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsGuide
Web DevelopersGuide

Other Sources

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
         www.acm.org
  • Communications Workers of America
         www.cwa-union.org
  • Computing Technology Industry Association, Inc.
         www.comptia.org
  • Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP)
         www.iccp.org
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society
         www.computer.org
  • National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies
         www.nwcet.org
  • The Computing Research Association
          www.cra.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification15-1143
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Computer Network Architects15-1143.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ICE
   Telecommunications Engineering Specialists15-1143.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)REC