IT systems architect
Technical architects help plan, design and build IT systems for clients.
Salary Range: £40,000 to £80,000
How to become a technical architect
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You’ll normally need a degree or postgraduate qualification. Relevant subjects include:
- computer science or computer engineering
- information management systems
- business information systems
- software development
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could get into this job through a degree apprenticeship, training as a digital and technology solutions professional. You could then move on to a digital and technology solution specialist degree apprenticeship, which is at postgraduate level.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
You could start with a company in a job like programming and work your way up through internal training and promotion.
You could apply to companies directly if you’ve got relevant skills and knowledge.
You’ll need a broad understanding of the available technologies and what they can do for the client. Many employers will look for a background in systems development, analysis, programming or testing.
Employers will also want to see strengths in non-technical areas like client management, communication and leadership. This is because they place importance on the ability to communicate the client’s requirements to technical teams, and to manage demands on time and resources.
You can find more advice on careers in computing from The Chartered Institute for IT.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
- analytical thinking skills
- maths knowledge
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- operations analysis skills
- persistence and determination
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- finding out the client’s needs
- breaking down large system requirements into manageable parts
- researching ‘off-the-shelf’ products to see whether they’ll be more suitable than building a new system
- presenting plans to clients and agreeing how to carry them out
- explaining the structure to designers and developers, and helping them build it
- developing and carrying out tests to make sure everything works properly
- making sure systems meet quality and security standards
- keeping accurate records of steps and decisions taken
- keeping project managers informed of progress
- advising senior managers about how to plan their future IT needs
You could work in an office or at a client’s business.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could progress to senior architect, or specialise in a particular field, like finance or security.
You could also move into broader IT project management roles, strategy planning or consultancy.