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Become A Systems Architect

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Working As A Systems 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

  • $104,721

    Average Salary

What Does A Systems 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 Systems 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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Systems Architect Jobs

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Systems Architect Career Paths

Systems Architect
Information Technology Consultant Information Systems Manager Application Manager
Application Services Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Corporate Information Technology Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Information Technology Manager
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Program Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Business Analyst Business Systems Senior Analyst
Director Of Business Systems
12 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Solutions Architect Senior Manager
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Senior Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Contractor/Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager Enterprise Project Manager
Enterprise Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Architect Construction Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Technical Project Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Technical Consultant Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Contractor/Consultant Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Management Consultant Change Management Consultant Change Manager
Problem Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Training Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Solutions Architect Solutions Manager
Senior Solutions Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Consultant Network Administrator Systems Manager
Systems Director
11 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Manager Applications Development Application Development Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Systems Architect?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Chief Architect 3.5 years
Systems Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Integrator 3.2 years
Systems Developer 3.1 years
Systems Architect 3.0 years
Architect 2.9 years
Systems Consultant 2.9 years
Senior Architect 2.8 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 9.6%
Developer 5.5%
Architect 3.3%
Programmer 3.1%
Top Employers After
Consultant 10.6%
Architect 6.6%
Developer 3.2%

Do you work as a Systems Architect?

Systems Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

85.7%

Female

10.6%

Unknown

3.7%
Ethnicity

White

54.6%

Asian

17.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.0%

Black or African American

10.2%

Unknown

4.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

24.1%

French

13.9%

German

10.1%

Italian

7.6%

Chinese

6.3%

Mandarin

5.1%

Russian

5.1%

Carrier

5.1%

Portuguese

3.8%

Korean

2.5%

Norwegian

2.5%

Urdu

2.5%

Arabic

2.5%

Swedish

1.3%

Estonian

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Hindi

1.3%

Dutch

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Persian

1.3%
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Systems Architect Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

7.6%

Pennsylvania State University

6.5%

Carnegie Mellon University

6.2%

University of Texas at Austin

5.8%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.8%

Johns Hopkins University

5.8%

George Washington University

5.5%

New York University

4.8%

Villanova University

4.8%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.8%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.8%

Drexel University

4.8%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.5%

George Mason University

4.5%

University of Southern California

4.1%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.1%

Purdue University

4.1%

Arizona State University

3.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.8%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.8%
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Majors

Computer Science

29.9%

Electrical Engineering

12.3%

Business

11.8%

Information Technology

5.9%

Computer Information Systems

5.9%

Computer Engineering

5.5%

Engineering

3.5%

Management Information Systems

2.8%

Physics

2.7%

Project Management

2.3%

Mathematics

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Information Systems

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Finance

1.6%

Economics

1.4%

Systems Engineering

1.3%

Management Science

1.2%

Computer Networking

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.1%

Masters

34.1%

Other

14.0%

Doctorate

4.8%

Associate

4.1%

Certificate

2.9%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Systems Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Systems Architect XPED USA LLC San Francisco, CA Jun 20, 2016 $234,630
Pega Lead System Architect (LSA) Tentek, Inc. Burbank, CA Dec 30, 2015 $200,000
System Architect Fxdirect Dealer LLC New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $200,000
Systems Architect Certify Global Inc. Rockville, MD Mar 27, 2016 $200,000
Systems Architect FX Direct Dealer LLC Jersey City, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $200,000
System Architect Fxdirect Dealer, LLC New York, NY Mar 17, 2015 $200,000
Business Systems Architect Judlau Contracting, Inc. NY Jan 25, 2016 $195,208
Lead System Architect Serendebyte Inc. Burlington, MA Jan 12, 2016 $190,000
SAP Systems Architect Technosoft Corporation Mason, OH Jul 01, 2015 $186,259
Systems Architect Hortonworks, Inc. Tampa, FL Feb 03, 2016 $185,000
System Architect Xilinx, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 04, 2016 $180,000
Pega Lead System Architect Conduit Technical Consulting Corporation Folsom, CA Oct 27, 2016 $170,000
Pega Lead System Architect Conduit Technical Consulting Corporation Myrtle Beach, SC Apr 11, 2016 $170,000
Software System Architect Philips Electronics North America Corporation Andover, MA Mar 14, 2015 $168,511
Software Systems Architect Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR May 20, 2016 $102,086 -
$152,800
Software Systems Architect Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Feb 29, 2016 $102,086 -
$152,800
System Architect-IV HCL America, Inc. King of Prussia, PA Aug 01, 2015 $102,003 -
$122,000
Systems Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 30, 2015 $102,000
EDO Systems Architect BB&T Corporation Winston-Salem, NC May 15, 2016 $102,000
Info Systems Architect Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company New York, NY Aug 18, 2016 $101,899 -
$105,052
System Architect-IV HCL America, Inc. Wayne, NJ Mar 02, 2016 $101,899 -
$122,000
System Architect-IV HCL America, Inc. White Plains, NY Jan 08, 2016 $101,899
Lead System Architect Navel Technologies Inc. PA May 15, 2015 $83,366 -
$100,000
Systems Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Lufkin, TX Jul 24, 2015 $83,293
System Architect Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Lowell, MA Aug 02, 2016 $83,242
Storage Systems Architect CEB Inc. Arlington, VA Nov 23, 2016 $83,221
System Architect Int Technologies LLC Minneapolis, MN Jul 12, 2015 $83,104 -
$109,568
System Architect-III HCL America, Inc. San Antonio, TX Nov 17, 2016 $83,096 -
$103,000
System Architect-III HCL America, Inc. Akron, OH Jan 14, 2016 $82,909 -
$103,000
System Architect-III HCL America, Inc. Akron, OH Jan 08, 2016 $82,909

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Top Skills for A Systems Architect

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  1. Windows XP
  2. Architecture
  3. Web
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed project to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 on approximately 3,000 workstations in the company headquarters and satellite locations.
  • Produced call center / customer service architecture used to execute nationwide transformation impacting over twelve million policyholders.
  • Designed and coded database driven website for news proliferation.
  • Develop oracle PL/SQL procedure to perform billing and location identification logic for real-time network authentication.
  • Developed Enterprise Data warehouse requirements, metadata, and data dictionaries for video content solutions.

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Top 10 Best States for Systems Architects

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Virginia
  4. Maryland
  5. Alabama
  6. Alaska
  7. Texas
  8. New York
  9. California
  10. North Carolina
  • (666 jobs)
  • (1,395 jobs)
  • (2,899 jobs)
  • (1,476 jobs)
  • (440 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (3,009 jobs)
  • (1,889 jobs)
  • (5,296 jobs)
  • (1,291 jobs)

Top Systems Architect Employers

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Jobs From Top Systems Architect Employers

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