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  1. Member thedudeabides's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Best path to Network Architect

    Let's say your long-term goal is to design and/or build networks for large organizations. What would be the best path to take from start to finish, assuming you're starting with zero to little experience in networking?
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    #2
    An architect is someone that takes business requirements and converts them into IT requirements. A designer then creates a design out of those requirements and hands it off to an engineer to build. If you want to be an architect, you need at least a high-level understanding of most of how IT operates. Everything from networking, to quality of service to storage to databases to how the users use applications. Then you need enough of a business background to be able to ask the right questions about the direction the business is growing so you can architect the right things.

    So what I'm trying to say is that at the beginning, it's hard to make a wrong choice if your goal is to be an architect. The key is not to spend 10 years focused on an area, you need to move around. Networking is a good starting point and a good base camp because the network touches everything. In a large organization, it shouldn't be too hard to get put on projects that give you the exposure you'd be looking for while still letting you keep your foot in networking.
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  4. Senior Member LordQarlyn's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by EANx View Post
    An architect is someone that takes business requirements and converts them into IT requirements. A designer then creates a design out of those requirements and hands it off to an engineer to build. If you want to be an architect, you need at least a high-level understanding of most of how IT operates. Everything from networking, to quality of service to storage to databases to how the users use applications. Then you need enough of a business background to be able to ask the right questions about the direction the business is growing so you can architect the right things.

    So what I'm trying to say is that at the beginning, it's hard to make a wrong choice if your goal is to be an architect. The key is not to spend 10 years focused on an area, you need to move around. Networking is a good starting point and a good base camp because the network touches everything. In a large organization, it shouldn't be too hard to get put on projects that give you the exposure you'd be looking for while still letting you keep your foot in networking.
    Those words in bold and red should be, in some variant, on every senior level person's CV whether an engineer or architect or manager. That is the entire purpose of IT, taking technology and turning it into solutions for business requirements. Accomplishments and job descriptions should highlight that concept.
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  5. Member thedudeabides's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by EANx View Post
    So what I'm trying to say is that at the beginning, it's hard to make a wrong choice if your goal is to be an architect. The key is not to spend 10 years focused on an area, you need to move around.
    There are so many different job titles it's hard to know what will give the best hands-on experience. NOC Technician, NOC Operator, NOC Engineer, Network Engineer, Network Admin, etc etc. They just all seem to blur together.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
    There are so many different job titles it's hard to know what will give the best hands-on experience. NOC Technician, NOC Operator, NOC Engineer, Network Engineer, Network Admin, etc etc. They just all seem to blur together.
    What kind of a job do you do now? You may not want to over-analyze it too much. Just get that next job that give you a bit more experience. There's really not going to be a right or wrong if you are early in your career. The reality is that most people are not going to be able to predict how the technology will shift in the next 5 to 10 years so any experience right now is better than none.

    Also - you may not want to get too hung up on the title. A network engineer title at one company may not have the same job responsibilities as at another company. Look at the job description and even if you don't think it's right, you may want to apply anyways because until you land that interview where you can talk with someone, you won't necessarily know what kind of experience you will get from a particular job. Good luck!
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  7. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #6
    As with every title in IT, Network Architect can mean many things. Huge difference from a Network Architect doing corporate IT at an enterprise and one designing a backbone at a service provider.

    As usual the advice is fairly the same though. Find what you like doing and get really really good at it. Get a good engineering job at a larger company. Build some good experience and write a good resume. You'll want to get involved with projects rolling out new designs etc.
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