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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

  • $105,000

    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 Career Paths

Software Architect
Project Manager President Analyst
Analyst Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Software Development Technical Director Architect
Architect & Project Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Solutions Architect Enterprise Architect
Chief Architect
11 Yearsyrs
Principal Consultant President And Founder Project Leader
Consultant/Project Leader
6 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Technical Consultant Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Project Manager Vice President
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Director Creative Director User Experience Designer
Product Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Senior Architect Senior Project Manager
Project Manager & Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Team Lead Project Coordinator Project Specialist
Project Team Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Research And Development Technician Research And Development Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineering Manager Engineer Application Engineer
Senior Applications Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Senior Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Technical Team Lead Project Leader Senior Java Developer
Senior Information Technology Developer
8 Yearsyrs
Principal Consultant Consultant/Team Lead Senior Analyst
Senior Lead Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Management Consultant Build-Release Engineer
Senior Release Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Director Of Software Development Vice President Of Engineering
Senior Vice President, Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Software Engineering Manager Lead Developer Software Engineer Lead
Software Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Product Manager Director Of Product Development
Vice President Product Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Software Architect?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Software Leader 3.4 years
Software Designer 3.1 years
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Software Architect 3.0 years
Software Developer 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Software Architect
Consultant 5.8%
Architect 3.0%
Developer 2.5%
Programmer 2.0%
Top Careers After Software Architect
Consultant 9.3%
Architect 5.9%

Do you work as a Software Architect?

Software Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

88.0%

Female

8.1%

Unknown

3.9%
Ethnicity

White

52.0%

Asian

21.1%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

5.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

20.0%

Russian

11.1%

Mandarin

11.1%

Chinese

8.9%

French

8.9%

Japanese

6.7%

Carrier

6.7%

Gujarati

4.4%

Hindi

4.4%

Portuguese

2.2%

German

2.2%

Dakota

2.2%

Hebrew

2.2%

Latvian

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Thai

2.2%
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Software Architect Education

Schools

University of Texas at Austin

6.9%

University of Phoenix

6.9%

Harvard University

6.4%

New York University

5.9%

Stanford University

5.9%

George Mason University

5.9%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.4%

Northeastern University

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

4.9%

Johns Hopkins University

4.9%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.4%

San Jose State University

4.4%

Boston University

4.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.4%

Brigham Young University

3.9%

University of Utah

3.9%

University of Florida

3.9%

University of Virginia

3.9%

University of Arizona

3.9%

Colorado State University

3.9%
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Majors

Computer Science

44.2%

Electrical Engineering

8.8%

Computer Engineering

8.3%

Business

6.6%

Computer Information Systems

3.8%

Finance

3.0%

Information Technology

3.0%

Information Systems

3.0%

Physics

2.7%

Engineering

2.6%

Mathematics

2.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Management Information Systems

1.7%

Computer Applications

1.7%

Management

1.6%

Project Management

1.2%

Accounting

1.0%

Computer Networking

0.9%

Chemistry

0.8%

Marketing

0.8%
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Degrees

Masters

39.1%

Bachelors

37.1%

Other

12.7%

Doctorate

6.2%

Associate

2.4%

Certificate

1.8%

Diploma

0.8%
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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, 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 Faraday & Future Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 25, 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
Associate Software Architect-Prpc Virtusa Corporation Troy, NY Dec 21, 2016 $113,000
Cognos Software Architect Virtusa Corporation Westborough, MA Jun 23, 2015 $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 Dec 07, 2016 $92,643
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 Jul 13, 2016 $92,643
Software Architect Cerner Corporation North Kansas City, MO Aug 07, 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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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Software Architect

Average Yearly Salary
$105,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$74,000
Min 10%
$105,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Median 50%
$149,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bain & Company
Highest Paying City
Santa Rosa, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Software Architect make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Architect in the United States is $105,766 per year or $51 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $74,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $149,000.

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Top Skills for A Software Architect

  1. Web Application
  2. Architecture
  3. Pl/Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed the next generation architecture for the company s business intelligence web application product suite for telecommunications companies.
  • Designed and integrated the full scale Struts/Hibernate persistence solution with the application architectures.
  • Worked extensively with Oracle databases, designing database structure and developing PL/SQL functions/procedures.
  • Performed various system and database administrative tasks on development and production servers.
  • Developed Software architecture and technology strategy for FPGA enhanced NFV platform with horizontal market focus to address all communication markets.

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Top 10 Best States for Software Architects

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Washington
  3. California
  4. Arizona
  5. Nebraska
  6. Virginia
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Colorado
  9. Georgia
  10. Vermont
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  • (7,025 jobs)
  • (17,204 jobs)
  • (1,502 jobs)
  • (377 jobs)
  • (5,656 jobs)
  • (412 jobs)
  • (2,677 jobs)
  • (2,375 jobs)
  • (126 jobs)

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