Occupational Guides banner
Detailed Guide for

Computer Network Architects in Santa Clara 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.

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) at online.onetcenter.org

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?


The median wage in 2022 for Computer Network Architects in California is N/A annually. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2022Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2022 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html Wages do not reflect self-employment.


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 at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Computer Network Architects are expected to increase by 8.4 percent, or 1,000 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

In San Benito and Santa Clara Counties, the number of Computer Network Architects is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Computer Network Architects are expected to increase by 8.7 percent, or 330 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Computer Network Architects
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Total Job
San Benito and Santa Clara Counties
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html

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 at www.carocp.org/carocps.html.

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.


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 at www.acinet.org and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" at www.acinet.org/certifications_new/default.aspx and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/resources/training-and-apprenticeships.html

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 Services30.5%
Management of Companies and Enterprises9.7%
Other Information Services5.4%
Computers and Peripheral Equipment5.2%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html

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.

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, use "Find Employers" on the LaborMarketInfo Web site at http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/aspdotnet/databrowsing/empMain.aspx?menuChoice=emp

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.

Other Sources

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.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification at www.bls.gov/soc/15-1143
O*NET - Occupational Information Network at online.onetcenter.org/
   Computer Network Architects15-1143.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC) at online.onetcenter.org/find/descriptor/browse/Interests/#curICE
   Telecommunications Engineering Specialists15-1143.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC) at online.onetcenter.org/find/descriptor/browse/Interests/#curREC

The California Occupational Guides are a product of:
The California Employment Development Department
Labor Market Information Division

Printed on Friday, August 12, 2022