Comparing Technical Architects to Product Managers
Technical architects spend their time on computers developing new ways to bring a company's separate departments together, which allows for cohesion. Product managers spend time studying the public, learning the needs of potential customers, and suggesting new goods or software products and features to build and promote.
|Job Title||Educational Requirements||Median Salary||Job Growth (2016-2026)**|
|Technical Architects||Bachelor's Degree||$108,188 (2017)*||6% (Computer Network Architects)|
|Product Managers||Bachelor's Degree||$131,180 (Marketing Managers, 2016)**)||10% (Marketing Managers)|
Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Responsibilities of Technical Architects vs. Product Managers
Technical architects develop computer systems that interact and connect with one another. Product managers, however, develop and market all kinds of goods and services. Both move between projects, rarely working on the same network design or product launch for very long, though they are responsible for monitoring the ongoing success of projects long after they have finished them. Technical architects, for example, will onboard new employees into the network and update its security settings. Product managers, on the other hand, will track a product's success and discontinue items that are no longer selling.
To make a company more efficient, technical architects build networks that connect a company's employees and data to increase the workflow. This can include an organizations intranet or private cloud infrastructure that contain documents for things like billing and payroll. The architect will usually meet with company leaders to understand their business plan and system requirements towards fulfilling these goals. They also learn network requirements by analyzing data traffic to see how the information moves through different departments. As software developers and engineers create initial concepts for elements within the network design, technical architects collect information about the specifications and update the hardware, such as routers, to handle the new network. To be successful, they should understand programming languages, like Java.
Job responsibilities of a technical architect include:
- Researching newest hardware and software available, while keeping the network as updated as possible
- Speaking with employees to determine what technologies they need to be more productive
- Completing cost benefit analyses for projects
- Creating a layout of the network for designers to use during development
Even before a new phone or tool hits retail shelves, product managers research the demand for a good by surveying potential customers and gathering data. Product managers can also work in software development where they work with users, engineers, designers, and stakeholders to build new features for a website. To identify the target market, they analyze web analytics and market trends. They look at the successes of the competition to find gaps in the market that a new type of product could fill. They work early on with development teams to outline the specific details and requirements of the items. All of this information is used as product managers attempt to convince executives in the company to finance the production. During development, these managers will often control the budget and supervise any beta testing. In addition, they commonly plan product launches to engage the target market and ensure the product is finished on time.
Job responsibilities of a product manager include:
- Leading a focus group of potential customers to gain their feedback on the product
- Researching the market, data, etc to determine product features and design then creating a roadmap of the product and its features
- Working with engineering and design to figure out how to build the product
- Creating a pricing strategy that fits the company's strategies and reflects the predicted success of the product
- Working with marketing teams to establish an advertising strategy based on the market
Technical architects are similar to IT managers who also connect companies and customers, so those interested in a career as a technical architect may want to explore this alternative. Similarly, product managers and advertising managers aim to sell goods and services, and it could be informational to research both these options as well. However, in the technology space, product managers can be more similar to engineers or business managers.