SURF Architect Optical Network

SURF has a vacancy for an Optical Network Architect. As a network architect you are not only a specialist within the optical field and always up to date with the latest developments, but you also have a strong drive to apply these developments in practice.  Are you the designer of the next generation SURF network?

  • Level of education: WO
  • Location: Utrecht
  • Number of hours: 32-40
  • Closing date: August 18th, 2022

About SURF and the team Expert Networks (TEN)

SURF is the collaboration organisation for IT for Dutch education and research. SURF works with educational and research institutions on IT facilities and IT innovation in order to make optimum use of the opportunities afforded by digitisation.

Within SURF-Services, the Expert Networks Team is responsible for the architecture and development of the SURF network and for taking care of the proactive and complex aspects of network management. Important pillars within this context are network architecture & engineering, infrastructure development, network design, complex network changes, problem, capacity, release, and security management, and testing and bringing new services into production.

What does the job entail?

The SURF network is based on a fiber network of approximately 12000 km with an extensive proprietary DWDM network and IP/MPLS network on top of it. This is largely located in the Netherlands, but also has international offshoots to, for example, Hamburg and Geneva. On this network we offer Internet and Ethernet based services to our member institutions. It provides high-quality national and international connectivity for our target group. We have the ambition to be leading in the application of new network technology in our network, so that users can benefit from new possibilities in education and research. Securing a stable service to our institutions is in our genes.

You will be working within a team of 8 colleagues: 2 technical product managers and 6 network engineers. Your role is that of technical product manager for the optical network.

You know how to shape the development of our optical network, so that it is optimally equipped to transport the traffic of the service network (IP/MPLS). You will develop a vision of the network for the long term and work on high-level designs to ensure that the network is implemented optimally. But you will also work hands-on in our production and test environment to test new possibilities or, for example, support the construction of specials. You will also work internationally with other research networks to optimize the use of the mutual (optical) networks, for example by making use of alien wavelengths. New applications such as Time Frequency Transfer and Quantum Internet require special engineering of the optical network. You will work with experts from SURF-Innovation, for example, to identify new possibilities. You will be able to communicate your ideas to others and implement them.

To be able to do this job well, you must have experience with the design and development of optical networks. You have a good knowledge of the current state of the art of optical equipment and the suppliers that play a role here. And of course, a network specialist in this day and age cannot do without a good foundation in the field of software and scripting. You are eager to learn and always looking to improve your own skills and knowledge.

What are you going to do exactly?

Your duties will include:

  • You will draw up the roadmap for the optical network. In doing so, you investigate short and long term opportunities that are relevant for our network.
  • You work together with the technical product managers of the service network (IP/MPLS) and the international network to ensure that the architecture of the service and optical network are optimally aligned.
  • You create high-level designs for major adjustments in the network.
  • You work together with the operations team and the network engineers in the team to discuss and improve the quality of the network. You monitor the quality standards and contacts with suppliers.
  • You initiate and are open to new innovations and service development where the optical network can play a role. Examples are Time Frequency Transfer and Quantum Internet projects. Here you will actively seek out new opportunities for collaboration with SURF-Innovation, among others.
  • You will test new functionalities in our test network and supervise their implementation.
  • You will make a significant contribution to the purchase/tendering of the optical network.
  • You share knowledge and expertise through blogs, presentations and workshops.

We ask

  • WO working and thinking level;
  • In-depth knowledge of optical networks and associated concepts such as ROADM, coherent transponders, flex-grid and alien wavelength;
  • Experience with Ribbon (ECI) equipment and software is a plus;
  • Experience with vendor management;
  • Solid knowledge of IP/MPLS networks;
  • Knowledge of the operational processes surrounding the management of (optical) networks;
  • Knowledge and experience of network automation, systems (VM, Docker), scripting (python and yaml/xml) and APIs is a plus;
  • Service and customer orientation;
  • Good verbal and written communication skills in Dutch and English.

Furthermore, you are opinionated, results-oriented and can work both independently and with the team.

We offer

  • A varied and challenging job for 32-40 hours (0.8 - 1.0 FTE) in an informal and collegial atmosphere with a high level of ambition;
  • SURF offers extensive training opportunities and excellent fringe benefits;
  • This position has a salary range of €4.224 to €6.998 gross on a full-time basis;
  • 8.33% holiday allowance, a fixed year-end bonus of 8.33%;
  • 36 holiday days per year (on the basis of a 40-hour work week);
  • An NS Business Card 1st class;
  • Our Utrecht office is located at walking distance from Utrecht CS;
  • Initially, the contract will be for one year, with the intention of converting to a permanent contract after one year.


Send your motivation and resume to You can apply until August 18th, 2022 at the latest.

Prior to commencement of employment, a VOG must be presented for this position.

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

More information


  • For questions about the vacancy, please contact the Team Head of Team Expert Networks as of August 8, 2022: Niels den Otter
  • Questions about the procedure can be put to the Recruiter: Esmee Ruis