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Become A Senior Architect

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Working As A Senior 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

  • $108,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Architect Do

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

Duties

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 Senior 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.

Education

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.

Training

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.

Advancement

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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Senior Architect Career Paths

Senior Architect
Chief Technology Officer Technical Consultant Senior Business Analyst
Analytical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Development Manager Architect Project Architect
Building Architect
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager Marketing Director
Chief Marketing Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Data Architect Senior Project Manager Product Management Director
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Data Architect Senior Database Administrator Solutions Architect
Customer Relationship Management Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Architect Project Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Administrator Lead Technician Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Development Director Creative Director User Experience Designer
Product Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Lead Architect Technical Project Manager Operations Project Manager
Senior Operations Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Chief Architect Technical Director Principal Engineer
Senior Principal Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Solutions Architect Senior Manager Engineering Director
Senior Vice President, Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Chief Architect Vice President Of Engineering Consulting Engineer
Staff Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Solutions Architect Senior Project Manager Managing Director
Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Manager Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Development Manager Manager Applications Development Application Development Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Chief Architect Vice President Of Engineering
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Senior Architect?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Architect Manager 3.5 years
Chief Architect 3.5 years
Senior Architect 3.0 years
Architect 2.9 years
Lead Architect 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Senior Architect
Architect 16.0%
Consultant 7.8%
Developer 3.7%
Top Careers After Senior Architect
Architect 15.7%
Consultant 6.3%
Principal 3.1%

Do you work as a Senior Architect?

Senior Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

84.5%

Female

11.8%

Unknown

3.7%
Ethnicity

White

49.8%

Asian

21.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.5%

Black or African American

10.3%

Unknown

6.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.0%

French

11.7%

Arabic

10.0%

Chinese

6.7%

Mandarin

5.0%

Cantonese

5.0%

German

5.0%

Japanese

5.0%

Sami

3.3%

Hindi

3.3%

Carrier

3.3%

Portuguese

3.3%

Swedish

1.7%

Cherokee

1.7%

Marathi

1.7%

Dutch

1.7%

Korean

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Navajo

1.7%

Greek

1.7%
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Senior Architect Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.7%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.5%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

6.5%

Illinois Institute of Technology

5.3%

New York University

4.7%

George Mason University

4.7%

University of Washington

4.7%

DePaul University

4.7%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4.7%

More Tech Institute

4.7%

Iowa State University

4.7%

Johns Hopkins University

4.7%

George Washington University

4.1%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.1%

Georgia State University

4.1%

Texas A&M University

4.1%

University of Florida

4.1%

San Jose State University

4.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.1%

Indiana Institute of Technology

4.1%
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Majors

Computer Science

25.9%

Architecture

14.8%

Business

11.3%

Electrical Engineering

6.0%

Computer Engineering

5.4%

Computer Information Systems

4.9%

Information Technology

3.7%

Computer Applications

3.4%

Engineering

3.4%

Management Information Systems

2.7%

Management

2.6%

Project Management

2.5%

Mechanical Engineering

2.2%

Finance

2.1%

Physics

2.1%

Information Systems

1.9%

Environmental Design

1.4%

Economics

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%

Urban Planning

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.8%

Masters

34.1%

Other

15.3%

Doctorate

3.8%

Associate

2.4%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

1.6%
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Real Senior Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Quantitative Library Architect Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Jan 22, 2015 $335,000
Architect (Senior Principal Engineer) Yahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Feb 11, 2015 $205,000 -
$225,000
Senior MTS, Architect Paypal, Inc. San Jose, CA Jun 01, 2015 $200,000
Senior Architect Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Burlington, VT Jul 11, 2016 $200,000
Senior Architect Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Burlington, MA Jul 11, 2016 $200,000
Senior Architect Futurewei Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Dec 19, 2016 $190,000
Senior Full Stack Architect Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Oct 01, 2015 $190,000
Senior Architect Futurewei Technologies, Inc. Newton, MA Dec 19, 2016 $190,000
Senior Program Architect Salesforce.com, Inc. Herndon, VA Dec 03, 2015 $187,459
SR. Architect Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 01, 2016 $185,000 -
$198,211
Senior Engineering Services Architect Ca, Inc. New York, NY Apr 18, 2016 $185,000
Senior Architect Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. Milpitas, CA Mar 10, 2016 $185,000
Senior Architect, Engineering Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 09, 2016 $183,920
Senior Architect SLK America Inc. Buffalo, NY Dec 30, 2015 $95,243
Senior Automation Test Architect O2 Technologies Inc. Aliso Viejo, CA Aug 29, 2016 $95,000
Senior Architect Prodigo Solutions, Inc. Cranberry, PA Feb 24, 2016 $95,000 -
$115,000
Senior Cloud Architect Column Technologies Inc. Lombard, IL Jan 25, 2016 $95,000
Senior SAP Techno-Functional Architect Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corporation Malvern, PA Jun 23, 2016 $95,000 -
$115,000
Senior Architect Flexagon, LLC Green Bay, WI May 19, 2016 $95,000 -
$125,000
Senior Cloud Architect Column Technologies Inc. Lombard, IL Jun 13, 2016 $95,000
Senior Architect Virtusa Corporation Westborough, MA Mar 10, 2015 $95,000
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Piscataway, NJ Jan 06, 2016 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Iselin, NJ Dec 14, 2015 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Iselin, NJ Jul 09, 2015 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Middletown, NJ Jul 21, 2015 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited East Brunswick, NJ Sep 30, 2015 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Princeton, NJ Sep 11, 2015 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Plainsboro, NJ Oct 12, 2015 $75,733
Architect Senior Wipro Limited Plainsboro, NJ Sep 01, 2016 $75,733

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Senior Architect

Average Yearly Salary
$108,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$74,000
Min 10%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$158,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Akamai Technologies
Highest Paying City
San Bruno, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Senior Architect make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Architect in the United States is $108,649 per year or $52 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $74,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $158,000.

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Top Skills for A Senior Architect

  1. Architects
  2. Pl/Sql
  3. Infrastructure
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Experience working with a team of architects and civil engineers engaged to provide quality architectural projects and construction administration services.
  • Created database objects like Views, Stored Procedures, Functions and Materialized Views using PL/SQL developer.
  • Design and implement separation of client's corporate domains from external access commercial SaaS application infrastructures following strong security methodologies.
  • Created data models and technical design documentation to support the integration of system interfaces into the data warehouse and operational databases.
  • Developed and managed the development of the OpenCable Applications Platform specification and extensions.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Architects

  1. Texas
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Arizona
  6. Maryland
  7. Alaska
  8. Rhode Island
  9. North Carolina
  10. Colorado
  • (2,858 jobs)
  • (1,288 jobs)
  • (4,787 jobs)
  • (565 jobs)
  • (587 jobs)
  • (692 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (190 jobs)
  • (1,207 jobs)
  • (889 jobs)

Top Senior Architect Employers

Jobs From Top Senior Architect Employers

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