MyStemKits’ STEM Job of the Week: Computer Network Architect

 In S.T.E.M Careers

When you think of STEM education or careers, do you think of the people behind the scenes? It’s these behind-the-scenes people who make everything we do possible. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the creators of computer technology. This week we acknowledge the work of computer network architects.

Computer network architects are the brains behind designing and building data communication networks. These networks include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. The range of these networks can measure from small connections between two offices to a next-generation network with capabilities such as a cloud infrastructure that serves multiple customers. Network architects must have vast knowledge of an organization’s business plan to design a network that fits their needs.

To perform their duties, computer network architects typically……

  • 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 also create models to predict future network needs by analyzing the organization’s current flow of data and estimating how growth will affect the network. They also keep up to date on new hardware and software technology and test how it can improve network performance. In today’s global network of connectivity, computer network architects must keep security at the forefront of their mind to prevent data breaches and hacking. When network vulnerabilities do arise, they must quickly and efficiently implement security patches or other countermeasures.
In addition to designing data communication networks, computer network architects, or network engineers are also responsible for maintaining existing networks and making regular technical upgrades and modifications.
Network architects often work closely with the chief technology officer (CTO) or other managers to determine network needs and plan for future growth. Network architects and engineers spend much of their time designing and planning new communication networks. Network architects may supervise engineers who build and implement the network the architect has designed. Most network architects first work for several years gaining experience as a network administrator or information technology professional before becoming a network architect.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is growing at a rate of 9 percent from 2014 to 2024. This will yield an estimated 12,700 new jobs for computer network architects. As companies begin to expand their IT networks and with the popularity of cloud computing, the need for computer network architects will continue to grow.

As you can see, computer network architects are very valuable to the creation of systems used by us. They are behind the creations that influence how we give and receive data and communications. Here at, we encourage students to be able to think on their feet, face modern-day challenges, and understand the mechanics behind the technology so prevalent in their lives. Check out some of our kits that help prepare students for a career in such an in-demand field.

Lionfish Sampling Kit

Although useful for a variety of subjects, we chose to highlight this kit on the merits of a particular lesson plan that accompanies it. This kit correlates to a Model Eliciting Activity, or MEA, which uses real-world scenarios to force the students to develop processes for solving problems in an ever-changing environment. This problem-based approached forces students to arise to unexpected challenges, develop solutions when there is no one right answer, and think out of the box to come to the best solution possible given limited data. Such life-long skills translate well into the ever-evolving world of technology and computer networking.

Flow Chart Stencil Kit

Easily and efficiently build your own flow charts with this handy stencil. Perfect as an introduction to coding.

Computer Network Architects is ranked 12th on the US News Best STEM Jobs list.

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