Software Engineering Architect: Career Information

Software engineering architects create and integrate software systems that support the business objectives of an organization. They assess software needs and design systems that will manage and organize data consistently across multiple departments. Read on to learn more about the requirements and benefits of this occupation.

Career Definition for a Software Engineering Architect

Software engineering architects design the framework for software and information systems that enable businesses to accomplish their objectives. They must communicate with management to determine what the systems need to accomplish, and they work with end-users to develop effective applications that can streamline workloads and process large amounts of information. Software engineering architects are often involved in the creation and implementation of enterprise information systems, which provide the technical platforms that integrate business operations across multiple departments. In addition to designing, testing and modifying systems, architects may also coordinate training, manage staff, create product documentation and interact with clients and vendors.

Education Bachelor's degree required, certification available
Job Skills Communication skills, project initiation, goal orientation, motivation
Median Salary (2018)* $110,000 for systems software developers, $103,620 for software application developers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 24% for software developers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Careers in software engineering architecture generally require a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field, but some employers may prefer a master's degree for higher-level positions. Experience with software development, integration technologies, servers, databases, platforms, programming languages and Web-based architectures may enhance job opportunities. Professional organizations, such as the International Association of Software Architects (IASA), offer voluntary certification based on levels of experience, as well as information about seminars, networking opportunities and job listings.

Skills Required

Software engineering architects must be analytical, creative and well-versed in technical design and integration technologies. They should have strong written and verbal communication skills, so that they may lead teams, collaborate on projects and interact with management and coworkers. They must be able to initiate projects and see them through to completion, from design, to implementation, to testing, modifications and training. They must be goal-oriented, results-driven and able to work under pressure.

Economic Outlook and Financial Forecast

For the 2016-2026 period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an extremely strong growth of 24% for computer software developers, which would include software engineering architects. Salaries vary by experience and employer. As of May 2018, the median annual salary for software applications developers was $103,620, while systems software developers brought in $110,000 that year.

Alternate Career Options

Explore these other options in computer development careers:

Computer Network Architect

Average growth of 6% for available positions was expected by the BLS for this profession, during the decade from 2016-2026. Usually having a bachelor's degree in a field related to computers, along with pertinent job experience, these architects design data communication networks, including those that connect just two offices or those that link international systems. The BLS reported a median wage of $104,650 per year for computer network architects in 2017.

Computer Programmer

With at least an associate's degree in computer science and usually having a specialization in several programming languages, computer programmers seek employment writing code for the creation of software programs. Employment decline of 7% was forecast from 2016-2026, and the BLS noted that their 2017 median annual salary was $82,240.


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