What do I need to do to be a network architect?

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IT careers
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Network architecture
Network design
Hi, I would love to embark on a career in network architecture. I am currently studying for the CCNA and I will be sitting for my exam in two weeks time. Apart from working towards being a network administrator (my short term goal), I have always had a desire to be involved in designing and implementing networks spanning continents -- from the nitty-gritty part to the complex side of network design. So bringing me to my question (finally) what do I need to do to be a network architect?

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One of the most important things you will need is experience. Getting to be an architect at that level takes years of network administration and engineering experience.

Starting as a network administrator is an excellent starting point in getting to your goal of being a network architect.

Dear NetworkATE:

Thanks for submitting another question. The original poster is correct in observing that attaining network architect status has as much to do with time in harness and serious, documented on-the-job experience as it does with certifications, academic certificates, or degrees earned that focus on network architecture as a job role and/or as a kind of technical expertise.

And indeed, network administrator is the logical kick-off point for a career track that aims to hit the network architect target in the future (which will probably take at least 6-10 years, depending on how hard you’re willing to work, and how well you succees along the way).

Use Google to search for network architect certification, however, and you’ll see there are plenty of such credentials around for the earning. Stick to those from companies or industry organizations that have some name recognition value, and you’ll get the best return from your education investment in such things. I’d consider pursuing the Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) cert as part of this path, and recommend looking into programs from Microsoft (the Microsoft Certified Architect program), the Open Group’s IT Architecture credentials, offerings from the Institute for Enterprise Architecture Developments, and offerings from the Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification program.

Finally, you might want to take a look at this news article from earlier this year, wherein a couple of experts are quoted on the subjects of career development and network architecture skills. At least one of those names should look familiar!


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  • Cicij
    experience and also related certifications http://www.test104.com/en/products/products.asp
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  • Kevin Beaver
    Network architecture can be a complex area...getting your hands dirty not only in LAN but also WAN technologies is a must. Certs and books (even TCP/IP For Dummies) would be a great start...beyond the technical basics it's more up to soft skills (documentation skills, presentation abilities, communications with management and customers, time management, and goal setting) that'll get you further than anything else.
    27,520 pointsBadges:

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