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Network Designer Vs. Network Architect

Network designers work with network architects to create and install company-wide communication and data sharing networks. Readers can learn more about the duties of these two professionals, as well as their education, annual earnings, and career outlook.

Comparing Network Designers to Network Architects

Network designers and network architects may work together in an office setting to create and implement a company's information technology systems, but designers usually create the outline for the network, while architects work mainly on building and installing it. You can find other points of comparison in the following information.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Network Designers Bachelor's Degree $75,440 (Network Design Engineer) 6% (Computer Network Architect)
Network Architects Bachelor's Degree $114,409 6% (Computer Network Architect)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Network Designers vs. Network Architects

Network designers and network architects are charged with meeting the needs of an organization through designing and building its network infrastructure. Their first step is to talk to end-users and company executives to learn more about the business's processes and technological requirements so they can create a unique architecture. Network designers develop visuals of the network that include necessary software and hardware. Network architects take the design and complete the network build.

Network Designers

Working with information technology administrators, network designers are responsible for designing the network constructions, such as databases or communication systems, for an organization. Throughout the design process, their goal is to create a network that fits with the established architectural standards for the company, ensuring communication between systems and departments. Using a construction package such as AutoCAD, they create visuals called field maps that include the location of network devices, such as routers. Additionally, they establish the IP addresses for the network that will allow computers and other devices to log in.

Job responsibilities of a network designer include:

  • Creating design drawings that outline network details and requirements
  • Studying new technologies to potentially bring into the design
  • Testing prototypes
  • Working with network architects to make changes to the design, if necessary

Network Architects

Network architects build communication networks that include Intranets, databases, and cloud structures. They lead the design process, presenting the plan to company executives and getting their support. They may also manage existing networks and monitor traffic to determine how to build onto the systems, allowing for more users. These users will need training on how to utilize the technology, and architects often create training packages for them. Network architects also work with software and hardware vendors to purchase the necessary equipment for the network.

Job responsibilities of a network architect include:

  • Upgrading the hardware to allow new software to work
  • Employing information security within the network structure through passwords or user permissions
  • Onboarding new users and ensuring user accounts are functioning
  • Troubleshooting and fixing network issues

Related Careers

Because software designers also create engaging user experiences, those interested in a future as a network designer could also look into this career. Similarly, network architects and cloud architects both develop a technological environment for a company, so that could be another viable career option to be explored.


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