Server Architect Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
A server architect's mean annual salary is around $100,000. Is it worth the training requirements? See the real job description and get the truth about the career prospects to find out if becoming a server architect is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Server Architect

Server architects are computer network architects that design and implement servers, which act as the brains of a network. Read the pros and cons to see if this is the right career for you.

Pros of Being a Server Architect
Mean annual wage of about $100,000*
Anticipated job growth of 9% from 2014-2024*
High demand field*
Regular office hours*

Cons of Being a Server Architect
Formal education required for entry into this field*
Prior experience necessary*
Some employers may prefer a candidate with a graduate degree*
Must remain up-to-date about the newest technologies*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essential Career Information

Job Duties and Description

As a server architect, you'd be responsible for designing and building a specific type of computer network architecture called servers. The work itself involves creating a plan for data communications network, explaining the plan to management, making decisions about computer hardware and layout, and overseeing the implementation of the plan. You might also be held responsible for trouble shooting, researching solutions or monitoring server activity. You could also be called systems architect, network architect or technology architect. Working in server architecture, you must be familiar with various computer operating systems, programming language, software programs and security protocols.

Common Career Paths

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer network architects most often work for companies involved in computer system design. Work in telecommunications companies and management ranked second and third respectively (May 2014). In addition, the health care industry's expanding need for information technology is expected to create a greater need for computer network architects to create new systems and upgrade existing ones.

Salary Info

The mean annual wage for computer network architects as of May 2014 was about $100,000. Top paying industries for this occupation for the same year included specialized design services and other information services at approximately annual averages of $154,000 and $128,000, respectively.

What are the Requirements?

Education

A career in server architecture would require you to obtain a four year undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering or another closely related course of study. Some schools offer you degree programs that combine both computer science and engineering into a specialized degree. Subject specific courses you may have to complete might include programming, software language, machine structure and interpretation of computer programs. While a bachelor degree is the entry level degree, there are some employers who prefer to hire applicants with graduate level training in addition to work experience. There are computer science degree programs that do offer a bridge program, which would allow you to continue studies for one year more at the graduate level in order to receive a master's degree.

Necessary Skills

As a network architect, you must have good organizational and problem solving skills. Finding and fixing flaws, proposing changes and upgrades to existing networks and coordinating networks require you to be detail oriented, a creative thinker and analytical. If you are responsible for directing teams, you will have to call upon certain leadership skills, such as active listening and problem sensitivity, in order to keep teams functioning and productive. According to both the BLS and job postings, you would spend several years of your career honing your skills in related information technology positions before becoming qualified to do this work.

Jobs from Real Employers

The one thing that employers seek the most is someone with experience. While not all employers are sticklers for graduate level education, they do want to know that a candidate has the requisite hands-on experience in programming and engineering. Below are snapshots of postings from real employers seeking server architects in June 2012.

  • A company in California seeks a server architect familiar with Windows Servers 2003 and 2008. They want someone with proven experience in information technology infrastructure and excellent customer service and communications skills.
  • A Washington development firm seeks a server architect with five or more years of experience in the software development industry. The incumbent will be responsible for providing design, development and implementation of servers. The minimum educational requirements for this position are a bachelo'sr degree in computer science, math, physics or a related field.
  • A staffing agency is seeking a server architect for an Oklahoma based company. Applicants should have at least three to five years of experience and a bachelor's degree in computer science or other information technology related field. The incumbent will develop, plan and deliver global server solutions.

How to Stand Out in the Field

If you wish to set yourself apart from other server architect, you might want to consider obtaining professionally recognized certifications, such as those offered by the Microsoft Corporation. The Microsoft Certified Architect credential not only provides validation of yours skills, but it also gives you a better understanding of how to work with and troubleshoot Microsoft specific servers. Other computer and technology giants also offer certifications that would allow you to provide proof to potential employers of your understanding of a particular type of server.

Another good way of distinguishing yourself from peers is to join a professional organization, such as the Professional Association for SQL server. Professional associations offer the opportunity for networking and conferences, both of which offer you the opportunity to learn about the latest trends, make contact with influential people in the field and present an opportunity for presenting, teaching or speaking to peers and others in the field.

Some Alternatives

If becoming a server architect seems like it would take too many years of training but you still want a career in information technology, then check out these alternative fields. The educational requirements are comparable and the job growth prospects are favorable as well.

Computer Systems Analyst

Entry into this field may require a bachelor's degree in computer science, but it isn't mandatory. Some analysts have two year degrees and programming knowledge. A typical day for these workers may include researching new technologies, finding ways to make existing computer systems meet new needs or testing systems to ensure they work as they are supposed to. According to the BLS, anticipated job growth from 2010-2020 is at 22%. In 2011, computer systems analysts earned a yearly median of about $79,000.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Hardware engineers can enter the field with a bachelor degree. These engineers are responsible for designing computer hardware, updating existing equipment and testing the new module. With an estimated 9% job growth (2010-2020) and a median annual pay of about $99,000, this may be a good alternative considering the years of training necessary as compared to server architects.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
    Bachelor's
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity
    Associate's
      • Associate: Information Technology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    4. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Cyber Security, M.S.
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking
      • Information Systems Mgmt., B.S.
    Associate's
      • Computer Information Technology, A.S.
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate - Network System Administrator
    Certificate
      • Diploma Program - Network Technician
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Computer and Information Security
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • PhD-TIM - Data Science
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Data Science
    Master's
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Information Systems
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Data Science
      • Master of Science in Data Science
      • MBA - Management Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Campus Locations:
    10. Brightwood College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Computer Networking Technology

Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
  • BSIT - Information Management
  • Associate: Information Technology

Which subject are you interested in?

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General

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Colorado Christian University

  • Cyber Security, M.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, A.S.

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Virginia College

  • Associate - Network System Administrator
  • Diploma Program - Network Technician

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Information Systems

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