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Technical architect IT systems architect

Technical architects help plan, design and build IT systems for clients.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £40,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • experience in systems development, analysis, computer programming or testing
  • a degree or postgraduate qualification in business information systems, computer science or computer engineering, information management systems, mathematics or software development
You’ll need knowledge and experience of relevant programming languages, frameworks and processes. Experience of project management methods like PRINCE2, Agile and ITIL will also be helpful.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Tech Partnership and the Chartered Institute for IT have more information on becoming a technical architect.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • programming skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and negotiation skills 
  • the ability to explain ideas clearly
  • the ability to work effectively under pressure and to deadlines

3. What you'll do

You’ll work closely with project managers, software developers and designers to build IT systems. These could be for things like designing the structure of a new health patient record system, or integrating several client websites into one.

Your main duties will be to make sure that each part of the overall IT system:

  • works together with the other parts as planned
  • satisfies the requirements of the client
  • meets the needs of users 

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • finding out the client’s needs
  • breaking down large system requirements into manageable parts
  • researching ‘off-the-shelf’ products to see whether they’ll be more suitable than building a new system
  • presenting plans to clients and agreeing how to carry them out
  • explaining the structure to designers and developers, and helping them build it
  • developing and carrying out tests to make sure everything works properly
  • making sure systems meet quality and security standards
  • keeping accurate records of steps and decisions taken
  • keeping project managers informed of progress
  • advising senior managers about how to plan their future IT needs 
You might specialise in part of a system's framework, like security. Or you might be responsible for the entire process, supervising the development team until the project's completed.

4. Salary

Starter: £40,000 to £50,000

Experienced: up to £60,000

Highly Experienced: up to £80,000 (senior technical architect)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.

You’ll mainly office-based. You may sometimes travel to meet clients which could include overnight stays away from home.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior architect, or specialise in a particular field, like finance or security.

You could also move into broader IT project management roles, strategy planning or consultancy.

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Last updated: 16 December 2016