System Architecture Consultants: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a system architecture consultant. Learn about the job duties, educational requirements, and certification options to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a System Architecture Consultant?

System architecture consultants figure out complex computer solutions for their clients. Good customer service is essential while performing your duties, which can include helping clients repair, upgrade, or install their computer system, or replace it all together. You will need to communicate with your clients to diagnose their problems accurately, offering advice and your expert opinion on how to handle them. Depending on your employer, you may work on your own or with a team of other professionals. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree
Education Field of Study Computer-related field
Key Responsibilities Consulting with clients, finding solutions to their computer problems, replacing outdated computer systems
Certification Multiple optional certifications available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3.3% (for computer occupations, all other)*
Median Salary (2015) $114,606 (for all solutions architects)**

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

What Are the Job Duties of System Architecture Consultants?

System architecture consultants may also be called solutions architects. This a client-focused job where you fix problems and introduce solutions to help your clients repair, install, upgrade, or replace their computer system. You can also expect to build relationships with clients, which will bring them back to your company for their future systems solution needs.

Consulting with clients helps you to get a better understanding of their problems or what they want, so you can develop a solution. In some cases, you may review a current system and make recommendations based on your expert knowledge. You may work on projects independently or as part of a team and provide services to small or large companies. You'll serve as a computer expert who can provide a client with technical knowledge which they may not have within their own company.

What Training Do I Need?

Employers want you to have a mixture of education and experience. Employers typically require a bachelor's or master's degree in a computer-related area. Experience in computer solutions, consulting, software development, and project management is usually required.

Skills are also important to employers and you may need to prove that you have knowledge of complex systems, system architecture, and system management. Employers may also want to see specific experience in applications, processes or interfaces, such as Ethernet, SCSI, and Internet hosting.

Should I Become Certified?

Certification often plays a part in getting a job as a system architecture consultant, because it shows an employer proof of your skills and knowledge. It is common for employers to expect you to have some type of certification. There are a variety of options in applicable certifications from systems manufacturers such as Microsoft, IBM, and the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and Microsoft Certified Information Technology (IT) Professional certifications (www.microsoft.com). These certifications help you to prove your skills with Microsoft technology.

IBM offers the IBM Infrastructure Systems Architect designation (www.ibm.com). This designation allows you to prove your abilities in design, solution development, and troubleshooting.

The IIBA offers the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis and Certified Business Analysis Professional designations, which helps you prove your skills in consulting and figuring out problems for clients (www.theiiba.org).

How Much Can I Earn?

Generally, what you'll earn depends on what industry you work in. PayScale.com reported the 25th-75th percentile earnings for solutions architects in each industry of employment as of October 2016. According to the website, most solutions architects earned salaries within the range of $72,821-$151,490 a year, the median salary being $114,606.

What Are Some Related Alternate Careers?

Computer support specialists offer assistance to computer users on how to solve common performance issues and on the proper way to use certain equipment. These professionals may need undergraduate education, though requirements vary, with the only constant being proficiency with computers. Computer programmers write the code that instructs computers and applications on what to do, editing it as needed so it performs adequately. These professionals generally have a bachelor's degree. Computer systems analysts help organizations run more efficiently by studying their computer systems to identify problems and flaws. You will need a bachelor's degree for this job.

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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