IT Architect: Job and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become an IT architect. Learn about the education requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Industrial Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an IT Architect?

IT architects manage and organize the technological needs and limits of an organization. While implementing what is needed, they are also responsible for ensuring that the security of the organization's network isn't compromised. It is their responsibility to implement new security systems and ensure that the systems comply with current rules and regulations. They also provide troubleshooting services to discover possible breaches of security or privacy. They may also work with research and development teams to help with the creation of new software products and applications. The table below provides an outline of the general requirements for this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science, management information systems, other computer-related studies
Key Responsibilities Manage projects, perform computer preservation and tune-ups, communicate with vendors, provide input for company policies in relation to IT services
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% increase for all computer and information systems managers*
Median Salary (2016) $114,874**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Education and Training Do IT Architects Need?

Many employers prefer candidates who have a few years of experience working in some aspect of information technology following completion of a bachelor's degree program in computer science, management information systems or another computer-related subject. Entry-level IT positions require a bachelor's degree. Managerial or administrative-level positions require a master's degree.

Programs in computer science examine theories of computation and information processing and provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the breadth of computing - from programming to software and hardware engineering to network architecture. You will learn how to think about and solve computing problems in terms of algorithms and as a set of interacting systems. Some programs might allow you to choose a focus or specialty, such as enterprise computing or gaming.

Management information systems (MIS) programs emphasize the use of computers and information technology to meet the needs of a business, whether for basic functions such as accounting, budgeting or employee scheduling or for more difficult problems such as solving production bottlenecks or improving customer service. You observe how raw information is sorted, analyzed and distributed to the departments or divisions that need it, and learn to plan and design systems of your own. Project management, data warehousing, information security and organizational behavior are among the possible course topics.

Where Could I Work?

Today practically every organization uses information technology and could potentially use your services as an IT architect to manage it. Potential employers include but aren't limited to government agencies, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, schools, software developers, computer services firms, healthcare providers, manufacturers, transportation firms and telecommunications companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports on the related position of computer and information systems managers instead of IT architects, reports that approximately 348,500 people were employed in this capacity in 2014 (www.bls.gov). Employment of computer and information systems managers over the subsequent 10-year period ending in 2024 was projected to increase 15% to approximately 402,200 positions.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Your objective is to make sure the computing technology used by your employer is meeting its organizational and strategic needs. Project management will be your main responsibility, which primarily entails planning, purchasing, installing and modifying IT systems. Maintenance and troubleshooting of individual computers and networks and interacting with systems vendors will comprise another part of your duties. You may also have a voice in discussions of internal policies, guidelines and standards, especially when they have a bearing on IT operations.

What Salary Could I Earn?

IT architects earned a median salary of $114,874 as of October 2016, according to Payscale.com. The BLS figures for May of 2015 showed a median salary of $131,600 for computer and information systems managers. Salaries also varied slightly from industry to industry.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A possible career similar to IT architecture would be computer and information systems management, where you would help plan and organize software and hardware for an organization's network, while maintaining the security of the network. You may also be interested in becoming a computer systems analyst, where you would analyze the network system of a business and troubleshoot and increase the efficiency of the computers. Also, you could become a computer programmer, where you would design applications that can be built by engineers or developers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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