Pros / This is the highest paid computer career we reviewed.

Cons / You need to put in at least five years in another job before being hired.

 Verdict / This is a great IT job, but you have to pay your dues to land it.

As the name suggests, network architects are the individuals that design, build and sometimes maintain computer networks. People who choose this computer career are also often referred to as network engineers, and they specialize in creating custom networks that fit the specific needs of their clients. Given the high level of expertise required and the importance of having an optimized network, this computer career is difficult to get, but if you have what it takes you can earn a very high wage.

The low end of the network architect pay scale is a salary of $52,580 a year. The median wage for this IT job is $91,000, and you could make as much as $141,590 per year. This is the highest paid computer job that we review. Just keep in mind that these numbers represent potential pay and actual salaries will vary depending on your experience, expertise and where in the nation you happen to reside.

Getting in on this computer career may prove more difficult than other IT jobs on our side-by-side comparison chart. There are only about 143,400 total network engineer jobs in the United States. However, by the year 2022 there will be an additional 20,900 network architect positions created. This is a scant 15 percent growth in a field that often exceeds 20 percent and sometimes 30 percent growth during the forecasted period. However, this vocation has almost non-existent unemployment of only 1.7 percent. So if you do become a network architect, it’s a very good bet that you will have steady work.

Like most of the other IT jobs in our review, becoming a network engineer requires that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer related field. There are several postgraduate paths by which you can enhance your credentials as a network architect. They include masters and doctoral programs at universities. You also have the opportunity to acquire certifications to help you gain employment.

Most network architects have at least five years of experience in the computer field before they are hired to that position. If you decide that you want to be a network architect, you may want to plan your career path through another IT job like database administrator or systems analyst.

  • Highest Wage
  • Mid-range Wage
  • Lowest Wage
  1. 90th percentile of salary range of this job.
  2. 4  Network Architect
  3. $138880.0
  4. $122090.0
  5. $135600.0
  6. Category Average


Network architects are arguably the most important people in the computer career category. They build the networks that companies large and small rely on to make sure their enterprise runs smoothly. They are highly trained and well compensated, but you don’t get to be a network architect without paying your dues and being the best at what you do.

Specifications and Benchmarks


High Wage
Median Wage
Low Wage


Projected Job Openings
Percentage of Growth
Unemployment Rate
Number of Nationwide Jobs


Entry-level Education
Bachelor's Degree
Work Experience Needed
<5 Years
Master's Program Available
Doctorate Program Available
Additional Certifications or Education Available

Work Environment

Freelance or Independent Consultant
Work Solo
Work in Teams
Telecommuting Possible