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Become A Software Architect

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Working As A Software Architect

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $100,118

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Architect Do

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Duties

Software developers typically do the following:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
  • Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
  • Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functionality of software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it.

If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance.

Developers usually work closely with computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to the programmers.

Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

The following are examples of types of software developers:

Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the Internet and within a company’s intranet.

Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers are creating the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including the systems in phones or cars.

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How To Become A Software Architect

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.

Education

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable. Computer science degree programs are the most common, because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building software in order to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. For some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree.

Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Some software developers first work as computer programmers and then are given more responsibility as they gain experience. Eventually, they become developers.

Advancement

Software developers can advance to become information technology (IT) project managers, also called computer and information systems managers, a position in which they oversee the software development process.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Developers must analyze users’ needs and then design software to meet those needs.

Communication skills. Developers must be able to give clear instructions to others working on a project. They must also explain to their customers how the software works and answer any questions that arise.

Computer skills. Developers must understand computer capabilities and programming languages in order to design effective software.

Creativity. Developers are the creative minds behind new computer software.

Detail oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must therefore be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.

Problem-solving skills. Because developers are in charge of software from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.

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Software Architect jobs

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Software Architect Career Paths

Software Architect
Architect Solutions Architect Program Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Architect And Developer Solutions Architect Program Manager
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Architect Information Technology Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Program Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Manager Development Director
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Enterprise Architect Director Of Enterprise Architecture Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Program Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager
Product Manager, Mobile
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Software Development Director Of Information Business Analyst/Project Manager
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Architect Systems Administrator Software Engineer
Senior .NET Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Software Development Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Senior Java Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Chief Information Officer
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Manager Consultant
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Senior Project Manager
Senior Technical Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Architect And Developer Project Manager Senior Manager
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President, Software Development
11 Yearsyrs
Enterprise Architect Senior Architect Senior Project Manager
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Programmer 3.4 years
Systems Architect 3.2 years
Software Leader 3.2 years
Software Engineer 3.2 years
Lead Programmer 3.1 years
Internet Architect 3.1 years
Software Designer 3.0 years
Architect 3.0 years
Software Architect 3.0 years
Senior Architect 2.8 years
Software Developer 2.7 years
Software Analyst 2.6 years
Lead Developer 2.5 years
Lead Architect 2.5 years
Web Architect 2.4 years
Solution Developer 2.4 years
Contract Developer 2.3 years
Developer 2.2 years
Java Architect 2.0 years
Web Programmer 2.0 years
Junior Developer 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 5.3%
Architect 2.7%
Developer 2.4%
Top Employers After
Consultant 8.1%
Architect 4.7%

Software Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

87.9%

Female

7.8%

Unknown

4.3%
Ethnicity

White

66.8%

Asian

21.1%

Hispanic or Latino

7.4%

Unknown

3.7%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

22.7%

Chinese

11.4%

Russian

11.4%

Japanese

9.1%

French

9.1%

Mandarin

9.1%

Carrier

6.8%

German

4.5%

Portuguese

2.3%

Dakota

2.3%

Hebrew

2.3%

Latvian

2.3%

Korean

2.3%

Thai

2.3%

Italian

2.3%
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Software Architect Education

Schools

University of Texas at Austin

6.5%

University of Phoenix

6.5%

New York University

6.0%

George Mason University

6.0%

San Jose State University

6.0%

Harvard University

6.0%

Stanford University

5.0%

Carnegie Mellon University

5.0%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.0%

Boston University

5.0%

Johns Hopkins University

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.5%

University of Florida

4.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.5%

Brigham Young University

4.0%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.0%

Arizona State University

4.0%

University of Southern California

4.0%

University of Utah

4.0%

Southern Methodist University

4.0%
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Majors

Computer Science

44.6%

Computer Engineering

8.9%

Electrical Engineering

8.6%

Business

6.8%

Computer Information Systems

3.8%

Finance

3.1%

Information Technology

3.0%

Engineering

2.8%

Information Systems

2.7%

Physics

2.5%

Mathematics

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Management

1.5%

Management Information Systems

1.4%

Computer Applications

1.3%

Project Management

1.2%

Marketing

1.1%

Computer Networking

0.9%

Aerospace Engineering

0.8%

Accounting

0.8%
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Degrees

Masters

39.0%

Bachelors

37.7%

Other

12.7%

Doctorate

6.0%

Associate

2.3%

Certificate

1.6%

Diploma

0.7%
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Real Software Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Architect Continuum Analytics, Inc. New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $300,000
Software Architect Continuum Analytics, Inc. New York, NY Aug 15, 2015 $300,000
Software Architect Lendingclub Corporation San Francisco, CA Feb 16, 2016 $250,000
Principal Software Architect, Ambulatory Practice Solutions GE Healthcare IITS USA Corp. Seattle, WA Oct 19, 2015 $235,000 -
$255,000
Software Architect Lendingclub Corporation San Francisco, CA Aug 02, 2016 $225,000
Director, Software Architect Upwork, Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 09, 2016 $220,000
Software Architect Faraday & Future Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 25, 2016 $210,000
Software Architect, Database Internals Salesforce.Com, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 15, 2015 $210,000
Software Architect Faraday & Future Inc. Gardena, CA Jul 18, 2016 $210,000
Software Architect Philips Electronics North America Corporation Foster City, CA Aug 12, 2015 $203,500
Software Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Fort Worth, TX Jul 14, 2016 $200,000
Software Architect Wikia, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 05, 2015 $200,000
Software Architect (Biomedical Software) Medstreaming LLC Redmond, WA Feb 25, 2016 $200,000
Software Architect CNH Industrial America LLC Burr Ridge, IL Jan 07, 2016 $113,922
Web-Community Software Architect/Developer Forum Foundry, Inc. Cedar Park, TX May 23, 2016 $113,880 -
$120,000
Software Architect Veritas Total Solutions LLC Houston, TX Nov 05, 2016 $113,464
Associate Software Architect Virtusa Corporation Westborough, MA Jan 03, 2016 $113,422
Cognos Software Architect Virtusa Corporation Westborough, MA Jun 23, 2015 $113,000
Associate Software Architect-Prpc Virtusa Corporation Troy, NY Dec 21, 2016 $113,000
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Oct 20, 2015 $112,800
Software Architect Enterprise Cloudworks, Corp Philadelphia, PA Nov 05, 2015 $112,757 -
$150,000
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Jul 02, 2016 $92,643
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Apr 29, 2016 $92,643
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Aug 07, 2016 $92,643
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Dec 07, 2016 $92,643
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Jul 13, 2016 $92,643
Consulting Software Architect JDA Software, Inc. Roswell, GA Jun 10, 2015 $92,500 -
$109,891
Consulting Software Architect JDA Software, Inc. Alpharetta, GA Oct 01, 2015 $92,500 -
$109,891
Software Architect Isync Solutions Inc. Newtown, PA Jan 10, 2015 $92,498

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Top Skills for A Software Architect

WebApplicationSystemArchitecturePl/SqlDatabaseC #PlatformWindowsSQLServerXMLAPIWebServicesC/C++UserInterfaceSoftwareDevelopmentJavascriptHtmlLinuxUMLAsp.NetMVCJ2Ee

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Top Software Architect Skills

  1. Web Application
  2. System Architecture
  3. Pl/Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Discovered system requirements for Task Manager web application, reviewed use cases and translated them to technical specification.
  • Created unified system architecture for the different but interdependent systems.
  • Implemented the software for the Compliance Data Mart using ORACLE PL/SQL.
  • Performed various system and database administrative tasks on development and production servers.
  • Key role in implementing a Catalyst integration platform.

Top Software Architect Employers

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