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Software Architect: Job Info & Career Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a software architect. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about additional qualifications, job duties and employment outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

To become a software architect, one simply needs to earn a bachelor's degree in software engineering, computer science, and other information systems. These professionals work to develop new programs for a variety of technological devices and the projected job growth in this field is about 17%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Essential Information

Software architecture is a constantly evolving field that combines technical and engineering knowledge. Software architects, or software engineers, develop a wide variety of programs. They may create applications and network systems for businesses, computer games, mobile networks, and/or operating systems. Becoming a software architect typically entails completion of an undergraduate degree program and professional certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree (usually in software engineering, computer science, math or information systems)
Other Requirements Proficiency in programming languages
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% for all software developers*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $98,260 (for applications software developers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Software Architect Job Info

Job Description

Software architects apply their knowledge of computer science, engineering, and mathematics to design and develop computer programs and applications. They may create new software or modify existing software with the goal of producing an efficient, reliable, and easy-to-maintain product. This profession is extremely client-focused and software architects often communicate with clients throughout the development process to ensure the end product meets expectations.

Duties

Along with assessing clients' needs, software architects establish customized development processes according to the project. This includes determining cost, time, and practicability of the project. They collaborate with and may supervise other IT professionals, such as system analysts, technicians, and computer programmers. Software architects also test and modify software to fix any malfunctions.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate for software developers was predicted to rise 17% from 2014-2024. This rise may be caused by expansion of computer networking services, such as website, intranet, and mobile applications. Another cause of the employment increase is advancements in online data-processing systems used by various industries, including business and healthcare. An estimated 186,600 jobs will become available due to the need for software architects to create, protect, and modernize computer systems.

The BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual salary earned by applications software developers was $98,260, while systems software developers earned a median of $105,570 per year. Of all the employment industries, computer systems software developers employed in the other information services industry earned the highest average salary, reported as $132,850 annually by the BLS in May 2015.

Software Architect Requirements and Qualifications

Education Requirements

While some advanced positions may require graduate degrees, most software architects hold bachelor's degrees. Aspiring software architects often major in software engineering, computer science, math, or information systems. A Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program typically prepares students for positions in software architecture. Curricula typically focus on technical training, computer science theory, and computer systems development. Courses may include:

  • Data structures
  • Algorithms
  • Software engineering
  • Quality testing
  • Programming languages
  • Computer science
  • Software architecture

Qualifications

According to September 2016 Careerbuilder.com job listings for software architects, employers typically require applicants to have advanced proficiency in specific programs and programming languages, such as JavaScript and C#. Some architects demonstrate expertise in such products by earning program-specific certification. Strong communication, analysis, and problem-solving skills are also required for a career in systems architecture. Those who demonstrate leadership skills and business savvy may have the best chances of advancement.

Due to the technological advancement in the computer networking services industry, job opportunities for software architects are expanding. Positions are available to those who are proficient in a variety of programming systems and advancement opportunities will open up for those who demonstrate exceptional leadership and communication skills.


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