The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

Network design NTDS


Designing communication networks to support strategic and operational requirements and producing network strategies, architectures, policies and related documentation.

SFIA 9 is in development

  • SFIA 9 beta due in early July 2024
  • SFIA 9 planned for publication October 2024

This is a prototype for SFIA 9. It is subject to change before publication.

Moving to SFIA 9

  • New level 2 added to support entry-level roles
  • Level descriptors improved
  • Guidance notes updated for contemporary working practices including cloud
  • SFIA 8 skill descriptions will remain available for you to use
  • Previous SFIA assessments are not impacted by this change

Guidance notes


Network design covers all aspects of the communications infrastructure, including, but not limited to, networks that are wired or wireless, digital or analogue, virtual or physical, local area, wide area, mobile/cellular, and any other defined protocols and scales of operation. In the cloud context, network design also includes designing virtual network topologies, hybrid cloud connectivity, and leveraging cloud-native networking services to ensure scalability, security, and performance. 

Activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • analysing business requirements and translating them into network design specifications
  • designing network topologies, security measures, and connectivity solutions for various environments
  • defining network configurations and policies using code
  • planning for network scalability, redundancy, and high availability, including in cloud-based networks
  • defining network infrastructure as code to enable automation and streamline provisioning and management
  • designing disaster recovery and business continuity solutions to ensure network resilience and minimize downtime
  • collaborating with stakeholders to ensure network designs align with business objectives and industry best practices

Understanding the responsibility levels of this skill

Where lower levels are not defined...

  • Specific tasks and responsibilities are not defined because the skill requires a higher level of autonomy, influence, and complexity in decision-making than is typically expected at these levels. You can use the essence statements to understand the generic responsibilities associated with these levels.

Where higher levels are not defined...

  • Responsibilities and accountabilities are not defined because these higher levels involve strategic leadership and broader organisational influence that goes beyond the scope of this specific skill. See the essence statements.

Developing skills and demonstrating responsibilities related to this skill

The defined levels show the incremental progression in skills and reponsibilities.

Where lower levels are not defined...

You can develop your knowledge and support others who do have responsibility in this area by:

  • Learning key concepts and principles related to this skill and its impact on your role
  • Performing related skills (see the related SFIA skills)
  • Supporting others with tasks (generic examples are provided by the essence statements for each level)

Where higher levels are not defined...

  • You can progress by developing related skills which are better suited to higher levels of organisational leadership.


Defined at these levels: 2 3 4 5 6

Show/hide extra descriptions and levels.

Level 1

Level 1 - Follow: Essence of the level: Performs routine tasks under close supervision, follows instructions, and requires guidance to complete their work. Learns and applies basic skills and knowledge.

Network design: Level 2

Level 2 - Assist: Essence of the level: Provides assistance to others, works under routine supervision, and uses their discretion to address routine problems. Actively learns through training and on-the-job experiences.


Assists with defining configurations for networks and network components under routine supervision.

Follows established network architectures and standards.

Assists in documenting network configurations and producing detailed network specifications under guidance.

Network design: Level 3

Level 3 - Apply: Essence of the level: Performs varied tasks, sometimes complex and non-routine, using standard methods and procedures. Works under general direction, exercises discretion, and manages own work within deadlines. Proactively enhances skills and impact in the workplace.


Specifies the technical configurations and components required for a small network or a network segment in a more complex infrastructure.

Follows organisational architectures and standards.

Network design: Level 4

Level 4 - Enable: Essence of the level: Performs diverse complex activities, supports and supervises others, works autonomously under general direction, and contributes expertise to deliver team objectives.


Designs specific network components using agreed architectures, design standards, patterns and methodology.

Translates logical designs into physical designs that meet specified operational parameters for capacity and performance.

Reviews and verifies network designs against non-functional requirements, including validation and error correction procedures, access, security and audit controls.

Contributes to the development of recovery routines and contingency procedures. Contributes to alternative network architectures, networking topologies and design options.

Network design: Level 5

Level 5 - Ensure, advise: Essence of the level: Provides authoritative guidance in their field and works under broad direction. Accountable for achieving workgroup objectives and managing work from analysis to execution and evaluation.


Produces, or approves network providers', network architectures, topologies and configuration databases for own area of responsibility.

Specifies design parameters for network connectivity, capacity, speed, interfacing, security and access, in line with business requirements.

Assesses network-related risks and specifies recovery routines and contingency procedures.

Creates multiple design views to address the different stakeholders' concerns and to handle both functional and non-functional requirements.

Network design: Level 6

Level 6 - Initiate, influence: Essence of the level: Has significant organisational influence, makes high-level decisions, shapes policies, demonstrates leadership, fosters organizational collaboration, and accepts accountability in key areas.


Takes responsibility for major aspects of network specification, standards, technologies and overall network design models within the organisation.

Produces network design policies, principles and criteria covering connectivity, capacity, interfacing, security, resilience, recovery and access.

Level 7

Level 7 - Set strategy, inspire, mobilise: Essence of the level: Operates at the highest organisational level, determines overall organisational vision and strategy, and assumes accountability for overall success.