Network ArchitectJob Description:
IT systems & Network Architects help plan, design and build IT systems for clients.Job Category:
What you will do:
You’ll work closely with project managers, software developers and designers to build IT systems. These could be for things like designing the structure of a new health patient record system, or integrating several client websites into one.
Your main duties will be to make sure that each part of the overall IT system:
- works together with the other parts as planned
- satisfies the requirements of the client
- meets the needs of users
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- finding out the client’s needs
- breaking down large system requirements into manageable parts
- researching ‘off-the-shelf’ products to see whether they’ll be more suitable than building a new system
- presenting plans to clients and agreeing how to carry them out
- explaining the structure to designers and developers, and helping them build it
- developing and carrying out tests to make sure everything works properly
- making sure systems meet quality and security standards
- keeping accurate records of steps and decisions taken
- keeping project managers informed of progress
- advising senior managers about how to plan their future IT needs
You might specialise in part of a system’s framework, like security. Or you might be responsible for the entire process, supervising the development team until the project’s completed.
- knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
- maths knowledge
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
As well as:
- programming skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- operations analysis skills
- persistence and determination
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
- analytical thinking skills
- problem-solving skills
- planning and negotiation skills
- the ability to explain ideas clearly
- the ability to work effectively under pressure and to deadlines
- leadership skills
- ability to work in a team (teamwork skills)
To become a Network Architect, you’ll typically need a strong educational foundation in computer science and networking. While there are no specific GCSE (or equivalent) subject requirements for this career, excelling in certain subjects and developing relevant skills during your education can be highly beneficial. Here are the subjects and skills to consider:
- Mathematics: Mathematics is fundamental to computer science and networking. Strong math skills will help you understand complex algorithms and calculations involved in network architecture.
- Sciences: While not a strict requirement, Computer Science and Physics can be advantageous. Computer Science will introduce you to fundamental programming concepts, and Physics can help you understand some of the physical principles behind network technologies.
- Information Technology (IT): GCSEs in IT or related subjects can provide you with a basic understanding of computer systems, software, and networking fundamentals.
- English: Good written and verbal communication skills are essential for documenting network designs, explaining technical concepts to colleagues, and collaborating with clients.
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You’ll normally need a degree or postgraduate qualification. Relevant subjects include:
- computer science or computer engineering
- information management systems
- business information systems
- software development
You could get into this job through a degree apprenticeship, training as a digital and technology solutions professional.
You could then move on to a digital and technology solution specialist degree apprenticeship. This is equal to a postgraduate degree.
You could start with a company in a job like programming and work your way up through training and promotion.
You could apply to companies directly if you’ve got relevant skills and knowledge.
You’ll need a broad understanding of available technologies and what they can do for the client. Employers will look for a background in systems development, analysis, programming or testing.
Employers will also want to see strengths in non-technical areas like client management, communication and leadership. This is because they place importance on the ability to communicate the client’s requirements to technical teams and to manage resources and demands on time.
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.
You’ll mainly office-based. You may sometimes travel to meet clients which could include overnight stays away from home.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could progress to senior architect, or specialise in a particular field, like finance or security.
You could also move into broader IT project management roles, strategy planning or consultancy.