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Systems Architect: Salary, Job Description & Responsibilities

A systems architect designs and develops solutions to an organization's applications, system administration, or network concerns. This article explores the salary and job outlook of a systems architect and the education and skills required to be one.

Career Definition of Systems Architect

A systems architect (also known as a computer systems analyst) studies an organization's existing computer systems and designs solutions to improve them, which helps the organization function more efficiently. Besides developing ways to add new functionality to current systems, they also supervise the installation and configuration of new hardware and software. Systems architects regularly test these new systems to ensure that they work as expected. Further, they communicate with engineers or software developers to ensure the compatibility of system components, besides regularly corresponding with staff or clients to better understand system requirements.

Education Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Critical-thinking, problem-solving, communication, analytical, organizational, and multi-tasking skills; familiarity with systems relevant to the job
Average Salary (2019)* $108,249
Job Growth (2016-2026)** 9% (computer systems analysts)

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

Required Education

The job typically requires a bachelor's degree in a related field, though some of those hired may have degrees in other areas and will have learned computer skills through experience. Some employers may prefer applicants to have a master's degree. Systems architects may be called upon to contribute to the business side of things, so courses in management information systems can be useful.

Required Skills

Systems architects have to be familiar with the software and the systems relevant to the job. They are expected to use logic and reasoning to identify issues and develop approaches to resolve them. Here, they require complex problem-solving skills and the ability to find the necessary solutions with available data. They also have to establish measures and indicators of system performance and the actions required to improve the performance. For this, they must understand how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment can influence outcomes. Other significant skills include organizational and multi-tasking ability and the capacity to work with members of the team.

Salary and Career Outlook

The average salary of a systems architect is $108,249 (April 2019), as per PayScale.com. A systems architect with less than five years of experience can expect a salary of about $82,000, according to the same source. Candidates with 5-10 years of experience can earn $100,000 and those between 10-20 years about $113,000. Individuals with over 20 years can earn $130,000.

According to the BLS, job growth for computer systems analysts, or systems architects, is projected at 9 percent in 2016-2016 and 54,400 new jobs are predicted for the same period. Businesses today are increasingly dependent on IT, so there will be ample jobs for individuals who can design and install new computer systems. Further, the growth of IT services in healthcare is expected to add to the demand for systems architects.

Related Careers

Individuals who are interested in a career as a systems architect can check out the related careers listed below. The skills required for the job can be utilized in the following positions.


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