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Become A Computer Architect

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Working As A Computer Architect

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $87,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Architect Do

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.


Architects typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures
  • Give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time
  • Prepare structure specifications
  • Direct workers who prepare drawings and documents
  • Prepare scaled drawings, either with computer software or by hand
  • Prepare contract documents for building contractors
  • Manage construction contracts
  • Visit worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans
  • Seek new work by marketing and giving presentations

People need places to live, work, play, learn, shop, and eat. Architects are responsible for designing these places. They work on public or private projects and design both indoor and outdoor spaces. Architects can be commissioned to design anything from a single room to an entire complex of buildings.

Architects discuss the objectives, requirements, and budget of a project with clients. In some cases, architects provide various predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses, and design requirements.

Architects develop final construction plans after discussing and agreeing on the initial proposal with clients. These plans show the building’s appearance and details of its construction. Accompanying these plans are drawings of the structural system; air-conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems; electrical systems; communications systems; and plumbing. Sometimes, landscape plans are included as well. In developing designs, architects must follow state and local building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other ordinances, such as those requiring easy access to buildings for people who are disabled.

Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) have replaced traditional drafting paper and pencil as the most common methods for creating designs and construction drawings. However, hand-drawing skills are still required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site.

As construction continues, architects may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the design, adhere to the schedule, use the specified materials, and meet work-quality standards. The job is not complete until all construction is finished, required tests are conducted, and construction costs are paid.

Architects may also help clients get construction bids, select contractors, and negotiate construction contracts.

Architects often collaborate with workers in related occupations, such as civil engineers, urban and regional planners, drafters, interior designers, and landscape architects.

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How To Become A Computer Architect

There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.


In all states, earning a professional degree in architecture is typically the first step to becoming an architect. Most architects earn their professional degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, intended for students with no previous architectural training. Many earn a master’s degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 years in addition to the time spent earning a bachelor’s degree. The amount of time required depends on the extent of the student’s previous education and training in architecture.

A typical bachelor’s degree program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts. Central to most architectural programs is the design studio, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their designs.

Currently, 34 states require that architects hold a professional degree in architecture from one of the 123 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). In the states that do not have that requirement, applicants can become licensed with 8 to 13 years of related work experience in addition to a high school diploma. However, most architects in these states still obtain a professional degree in architecture.


All state architectural registration boards require architecture graduates to complete a lengthy paid internship—generally 3 years of experience—before they may sit for the Architect Registration Examination. Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the Intern Development Program (IDP), a program run by NCARB that guides students through the internship process. Some states allow a portion of the training to occur in the offices of employers in related careers, such as engineers and general contractors. Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

Interns in architectural firms may help design part of a project. They may help prepare architectural documents and drawings, build models, and prepare construction drawings on CADD. Interns may also research building codes and write specifications for building materials, installation criteria, the quality of finishes, and other related details. Licensed architects will take the documents that interns produce, make edits to them, finalize plans, and then sign and seal the documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states and the District of Columbia require architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements typically include completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

Most states also require some form of continuing education to keep a license, and some additional states are expected to adopt mandatory continuing education. Requirements vary by state but usually involve additional education through workshops, university classes, conferences, self-study courses, or other sources.

A growing number of architects voluntarily seek certification from NCARB. This certification makes it easier to become licensed across states, because it is the primary requirement for reciprocity of licensing among state boards that are NCARB members. In 2014, approximately one-third of all licensed architects had the certification.


After many years of work experience, some architects advance to become architectural and engineering managers. These managers typically coordinate the activities of employees and may work on larger construction projects.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Architects must understand the content of designs and the context in which they were created. For example, architects must understand the locations of mechanical systems and how those systems affect building operations.

Communication skills. Architects share their ideas, both in oral presentations and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Many also give presentations to explain their ideas and designs.

Creativity. Architects design the overall look of houses, buildings, and other structures. Therefore, the final product should be attractive and functional.

Organizational skills. Architects often manage contracts. Therefore, they must keep records related to the details of a project, including total cost, materials used, and progress.

Technical skills. Architects need to use CADD technology to create plans as part of building information modeling (BIM).

Visualization skills. Architects must be able to see how the parts of a structure relate to each other. They also must be able to visualize how the overall building will look once completed.

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Computer Architect Typical Career Paths

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Average Yearly Salary
Show Salaries
Min 10%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does a Computer Architect make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Architect in the United States is $87,200 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $46,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $164,000.

Real Computer Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SOA/Cloud Computing Architect Signature Commercial Solutions, LLC San Diego, CA Dec 06, 2010 $187,830
Architect Computer Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jan 15, 2014 $157,470 -
Comp. Sys.Engineer/Architect(Principal Software Engineer) EMC Corporation Santa Clara, CA Feb 20, 2015 $131,269 -
Computer Architect Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Aug 12, 2015 $131,249 -
Architect Computer Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jan 15, 2014 $129,646 -
Lead Computer Vision Architect Aquifi, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 20, 2015 $127,992
Senior Salesforce Computer Architect Cloud Builders LLC Falls Church, VA Jun 04, 2016 $125,757
SR. Salesforce Computer Architect Cloud Builders, LLC Falls Church, VA Aug 15, 2016 $125,757
Architect-Cloud Computing Virtusa Corporation Troy, NY Mar 21, 2016 $120,000
Computer Architect Globalsource Information Technology III, Inc. Charlotte, NC Dec 10, 2012 $120,000
Computer Architect Globalsource It Charlotte, NC Feb 11, 2013 $120,000
Senior Computer Architect Nvidia Corporation Beaverton, OR Jul 24, 2014 $119,496 -
Network Computer Architect Itcaps LLC Mountain View, CA May 10, 2015 $117,081
Computer Architect 3 Unisys Corporation Sacramento, CA Apr 11, 2013 $104,978 -
Computer Architect Unisys Corporation Reston, VA Sep 30, 2010 $101,239
Computer Sytems Architect Staff Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global SERV. Baltimore, MD Feb 15, 2010 $99,839
Info. SEC. Analysts, Web DEV., & Comp. NET. Architects Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jun 29, 2012 $98,155 -
Computer Architect Atlas Development Corporation Calabasas, CA Sep 28, 2010 $98,000
Computer Architect III Unisys Corporation Reston, VA Feb 03, 2010 $96,018
Computational Imaging Architect .02) Pelican Imaging Santa Clara, CA Sep 15, 2015 $95,000
Info. SEC. Anlsts, Web DEV. and Comp. NET. Architect Techdemocracy LLC Edison, NJ May 02, 2012 $95,000
Computer Architect Tata Consultancy Services Limited New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $76,000
Computer Architect Datagama Inc. Coral Springs, FL Sep 12, 2015 $75,000
Computer Architect American Information Technology Corporation Baltimore, MD Sep 30, 2015 $74,381
Computer Architect Aptek Solutions Inc. Princeton Junction, NJ Nov 23, 2009 $74,109
Computer Architect Infospan Technologies, Inc. Piscataway, NJ Jan 15, 2010 $74,109
Computer Architect Infospan Technologies, Inc. Piscataway, NJ Feb 11, 2009 $74,109
Computer Architect Aptek Solutions Inc. Princeton Junction, NJ Nov 12, 2009 $74,109
Computer Architect Foxconn Corporation Houston, TX Oct 28, 2011 $72,000

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Top Skills for A Computer Architect

  1. CNC Architect
  2. Business Logic
  3. Desktop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed the desktop computing environment that includes hardware and software, defining standards, ensuring security and support.
  • Socialize results, identify execution strategies, and lead adoption, transformation and integration efforts through Production.
  • Involved with product life cycle standardization processes, Data Center Modernization projects, Cloud Infrastructure Automation, Digital Data Transformation;
  • Upgraded from MS SQL 2000 SP4 to MS SQL 2005 SP2.
  • Realized a significant cost savings in software licensing by renegotiating existing licensing agreements from single product licensing to bundled enterprise licensing.


Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Architects

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Minnesota
  3. Texas
  4. North Dakota
  5. Arizona
  6. New York
  7. Nebraska
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Alabama
  10. New Hampshire
  • (364 jobs)
  • (217 jobs)
  • (845 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (198 jobs)
  • (516 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (151 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)

Computer Architect Demographics












Hispanic or Latino




Black or African American

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Foreign Languages Spoken



Computer Architect Education


University of Phoenix


Rice University


Western Governors University


Colorado State University


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


University of New Haven


University of Texas at Arlington


Amarillo College


University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point


University of California - Los Angeles


Ohio Dominican University


National University


Seattle University


Georgia Institute of Technology -


University of Maryland - University College


Colorado School of Mines


Ohio State University


University of Texas at Dallas


Drexel University


University of California - Davis

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Computer Engineering


Computer Science


Computer Information Systems


Management Information Systems




Information Technology




Electrical Engineering




Project Management


Drafting And Design


Design And Visual Communication


Electrical Engineering Technology




Interior Architecture


Computer Systems Security


General Education, Specific Areas




Computer Applications

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