Network Designer: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for network designers. Get the facts about education and certification requirements, job responsibilities and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Network Designer?

Network designers or computer network architects assess a company's network requirements and design a network to meet those needs. They design and submit plans for the network to management. Designers make any updates and upgrades to software and hardware needed. They also keep up on any new research to help make their designs as efficient as possible. When network designers are creating networks, they also factor in security aspects.

The table below provides some basic information for this career:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (minimum), master's degree (for certain employers)
Education Field of Study Computer science, networking, information technology or information systems
Key Responsibilities Team leadership, evaluations of local and wide area networks, conceptualize network designs
Certification Voluntary certification available
Job Growth (2014-24) 9%*
Average Salary (2015) $103,100*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Will I Need to Become a Network Designer?

A bachelor's degree in an area such as computer science or information science is generally required to become a network designer. Most bachelor's programs require completion of general education courses in mathematics, English and statistics. Additional courses may include software engineering, electrical engineering, electronic digital circuitry, computer algorithms, operating systems and programming languages.

In some instances, employers might require a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Systems. An MBA program might include classes in marketing, accounting, finance, database management and information services management. You'll also study systems development, wireless networks and knowledge management. MBA programs typically require two years of study to complete.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

You might be responsible for supervising a team of network engineers or installing and connecting computer network components. You could perform evaluations of local and wide area networks or conceptualize network designs. Other duties may include performing security audits or installing firewall systems. Some network designers are responsible for establishing relations with customers to determine their computer network needs.

How Can I Become Certified?

In some cases, acquiring professional certification may lead to increased employment options and salary potential; some employers may require network designers to obtain certification. You can seek certification through computer manufacturers and product vendors.

For example, Cisco offers the Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) certification as well as the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) credential. In order to be awarded certification, you must complete examinations which test your network design skills and knowledge of network design infrastructures.

How Much Could I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that network architects earned a mean salary of $103,100 per year as of 2015. Most of these professionals earned between $56,230 and $155,250 on an annual basis.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several alternative career options that also require a bachelor's degree. Computer hardware engineers design and test computer systems and several computer components similar to how network designers create networks. Another career option is a computer programmer. Computer programmers create and test code to help computer applications and software work together. Computer systems analysts work with an organization to ensure software and equipment are working properly.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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