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Becoming an infrastructure architect requires extensive experience in information technology and computer science, as well as a keen understanding of business telecommunications needs. Getting this job usually requires a university degree in computer engineering or network management, as well as a certificate in infrastructure architecture from some reputable computer industry leader. The “architecture” aspect of this job refers to systems architecture, which is the linking of computers and information technology systems. It is often related to structural architecture, but a regular architectural degree is not usually a requirement to become an infrastructure architect.
Infrastructure architect training occurs almost exclusively within the computer sciences realm. Most universities, as well as a host of community colleges and technical schools, offer coursework and degree programs in these disciplines. It is rare to find strict infrastructure architecture courses, though. Most of the time, computer-savvy individuals apply the more general teaching of any information technology program to become an infrastructure architect.
Core infrastructure architect duties cover most aspects of helping companies and organizations optimize their technological abilities. This includes technical specifications, like laying the groundwork for wires, outlets, and ports, as well as actual network set-up and management. Architects work day to day managing network security, optimizing data transfers, and engineering web systems to run at maximum efficiency.
There are several different ways of gaining experience in infrastructure architecture, as a lot of infrastructure architect training happens on the job. Many larger companies or design firms will hire computer scientists directly out of school to join architecture teams, though this is most common in large companies. Experienced architects are often able to bring new recruits under their wings, training them from the inside out.
Getting certification is another good way to get the hands-on training needed to become an infrastructure architect. Many different information technology groups offer infrastructure architect certification courses. These are usually not university courses; rather, they are industry-specific training courses that culminate with a credential that many employers find valuable. Earning certification is a good way to become an infrastructure architect, as it allows you to demonstrate that not only do you have knowledge, but also have demonstrated the core competencies of networking in a corporate context. A host of companies require their architects to maintain certification as a way of staying current with technology and industry practices.
Deciding what sort of work you want to do is also an important part of your journey to become an information architect. Not all infrastructure architecture careers are the same. Some work in-house for a single company, designing and maintaining existing network structures. Others work for contract firms, often handling multiple clients at once. These sorts of architects focus on set-up almost exclusively, though they may be called in to perform maintenance or troubleshoot where required.
It is also possible to become an infrastructure architect who works alongside building architects to plan for efficient network infrastructure hardware in new building construction. Working on a freelance, per-project basis is also possible, particularly for professionals with some experience already on their resumes. Choosing your path usually requires taking candid stock of what you like doing, and how you envision your career unfolding.
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