What is a Systems Architect?
Systems architects, also known as computer systems analysts, help organizations improve their overall performance by building or enhancing their computer systems. Responsibilities of this position can include helping management decide the best uses of its computer systems and determining which IT technologies can help a business operate at its highest potential.
Systems architects typically manage or oversee the design, installation, configuration and testing of a computer system. They may also use methods like data modeling to examine and strengthen a system's effectiveness. Additional job duties can include preparing financial analyses for managers, creating flowcharts for programmers and educating employees on new systems.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree in computer science, information science or a related field; an MBA concentration in information systems or master's degree in computer science may be preferred|
|Job Skills||Strong technical, analytical, decision-making, communication and research skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$88,270|
|Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)*||9%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employers commonly require candidates for the systems architect position to possess a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science or a related field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Firms are also known to hire individuals with degrees in liberal arts or business if they are also proficient in computer-related fields.
Greater consideration may be shown to candidates who hold master's degrees in business administration (MBA) with an information systems concentration or master's degrees in computer science. The BLS does not list certification as an education requirement, but notes that being knowledgeable of the latest technologies strengthens a candidate's chances of being hired.
Analytical and decision-making skills can help architects examine complicated scenarios and determine the solutions that will provide the greatest benefits for the computer system and organization. Communication skills are needed for frequent interactions with managers, programmers, engineers and other staff members.
Strong research skills can ensure architects are on top of the newest innovations in IT. Maintaining an advanced understanding of computer systems and technologies is critical for success in this position.
Career Outlook and Salary
Job opportunities for systems architects are expected to grow 9%, or about as fast as average, between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. A primary reason for growth in this position is heightened dependence on IT in the business world. Industries and fields expected to see the greatest growth over this period are hosting, computer systems design, data processing and healthcare.
The BLS reports that systems architects earned a median annual wage of $88,270 in May 2017. Industries offering the highest incomes for this position include computer systems design, finance and insurance, and company and enterprise management.
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