Development Manager Vs. Architect

Jan 19, 2018

Development managers and architects may work together when completing a software project, but readers will see there are significant differences in their focuses and salaries.

Comparing Development Managers to Architects

Development managers assemble teams of software developers to create new programs for computers and smartphones, while architects are part of the team and establish the structure of the software design. Explore the education levels, salaries, career outlooks, and duties of these two professionals and decide if either is right for you!

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Development Managers Bachelor's Degree $119,965 (Software Development Manager) 24% (Software Developers)
Architects Bachelor's Degree $119,949 (Software Architect) 24% (Software Developers)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Development Managers vs. Architects

During a software build, development managers are much like project managers, as they are interested in keeping the project moving forward and dealing with any setbacks that prevent that. Architects, however, create the design for software and are much more interested in the product itself. Similarly, development managers periodically check with the team to learn where they are in the project. Architects are more hands-on and attempt to uphold the morale of the team during the build. Both must be aware of what the purpose or objective of the software will be in order to create a product that meets this goal.

Development Managers

Development managers lead groups of software developers and architects. Part of their job is to track the progress of the build, delegating prioritized tasks. They and their teams work to build the system software that makes a computer work, as well as applications that are used for certain tasks. They also help their team create a user-friendly interface that customers can use intuitively. The first step towards this is identifying consumer needs in regards to product features. They can then communicate these features to the development team.

Job responsibilities of a development manager include:

  • Hiring employees for the development team based on their skills
  • Evaluating the performance of employees based on their progress
  • Building working prototypes of the software
  • Researching new development options to use in the project


Architects working in software create the framework for the software development. While it is pivotal their design or model meets the stakeholders' requirements, architects should also suggest design elements that no one else considered but that add to the value of the product for consumers. To accomplish their goal, architects may divide the project into smaller pieces, ensuring each part of the computer system works together. Additionally, they may have to determine what features or elements to include or leave out based on cost and time. They also plan for future builds, as some of their design scaffolding can be used in other applications and systems.

Job responsibilities of an architect include:

  • Coding in modeling languages
  • Creating software that can be modified later during updates or rescaling
  • Acting as the driving force for the product design during meetings
  • Mentoring new developers and architects on their team

Related Careers

Like development managers, Scrum masters lead a development team, so this may be a nice alternative career for those interested in becoming a development manager. Similarly, architects and Scrum product owners focus on the design of software products, and this is also a possible career path.

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