Salute to you for having early interest in your future. Although I'm not a Network Architect today, I do have a BS in Information Technology. (I'm currently a UX Engineer, which is essentially a user-focused software developer).
To get started, you definitely need education. For the networking architect, I'd recommend doing some research on schools that offer computer science or information technology degrees. Pay particular attention to educational programs that might prepare you for Network certifications, because last I checked, many jobs looked for individuals with certifications.
You hear a lot about certifications in the world of IT. Oftentimes, networking professionals are able to prove their knowledge by obtaining certifications such as CompTIA A+, Cloud+, Network+, etc... (there are many others).
Once you've had the right education and training, do some research on the certifications and practice for them.
The last bit of advice I'd give is to do people networking. Look into local or virtual IT events or tech meetups, and find your community. If you're of age, consider joining LinkedIn and look into Groups that foster that specific community. Having a strong people network will help you once it's time to seek work and apply your skills.
Best of luck, Kavon!
We're rooting for you.
Marcelius Levites’s Answer
Marcelius Levites recommends the following next steps:
-Do relevant projects or internships
- Obtain relevant certifications like Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, F5 Networks Certified Technology Specialist, Wireshark Certified Network Analyst, etc
- Relevant work experience would also help
Hope this helps!
Professionally I am not a Networking Architect but I am a Solutions\Software Architect. As part of Networking Architecture, it is critical for you to understand the infrastructure and how networking plays role in enabling that infrastructure of the system. I have seen many architects focusing on a specific area within networking: Telephony Infrastructure, Data Center Networking, Network Security, Network Optimization, etc.
To begin with, I would suggest pursuing Bachelor's degree in Computer Science that would give you a perspective of the entire ecosystem and how networking plays role in there.
While choosing the courses for your Bachelor's do select Networking specific courses, also based on your interest (if you know already) supplemental courses like security, network encryption, and cloud computing will really help.
Computer network architects have to examine data networks and decide how to best connect the networks based on the needs and resources of the organization.